Six-year-old takes seventh in Motocross amateur nationals
HUNTINGTON - Gavin Abboud has racing in his blood.
Following in the footsteps of his father Brandon Abboud, a racer for nearly 20 years, Gavin, 6, has taken up motocross and become one of the sport’s young stars.
The resident of Apple Grove, West Virginia, earned a spot in the 2018 Rocky Mountain ATV/MC AMA Amateur Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee.
Abboud qualified for the for the event in the 51 cc (age 4-6) special limited category. To qualify racers must compete first in area qualifiers then advance to regional championships. The top six racers in the regional championships advance to the amateur nationals.
Gavin competed in his first race at the nationals Wednesday, taking seventh place out of 34 racers.
He improved on that performance with a fifth-place finish Thursday. An eighth-place finish in Friday’s final race gave him an overall seventh-place finish in the 51 cc special limited category.
It’s the second time Gavin Abboud raced at the event.
“Gavin is proud to be representing West Virginia,” Brandon Abboud said. “He’s racing against kids from all over the United States and places like Australia and Japan.”
According to Morgantown-based MX Sports which owns and produces the amateur championships, the national qualifying program consists of 57 area qualifiers and 13 regional championships. The company states on its website, mxsports.com, that as many as 22,000 riders attempt to qualify in 35 classes to be among the 1,482 starters at the amateur championships.
Brandon’s experience makes him used to watching his young son race around the track on his motorcycle. It’s not so easy on the boys’ mother, Nicole Abboud, who Brandon said still gets nervous about Gavin getting injured.
“He’s never had anything serious but it is a risky sport,” George Abboud, Gavin’s grandfather and owner of Abboud Racing said. “Every weekend there’s travel. It’s a family sport you have to be dedicated to do it.”
George Abboud tried to steer his son and grandson toward the sport he loved - soccer. He even coached Gavin’s youth soccer team, but after one game Gavin wanted to quit.
“He said he wanted to race so he quit. I finished the season coaching and he started racing,” George said.
Gavin Abboud practices on a track built by his father in the family’s backyard and has sponsors to help handle the approximate $4,000 cost of the motorcycle, replacement parts, and cost of travel to each of the cities hosting races.