For Danville’s Kayden Young, life is certainly lived in the fast lane, as he has competed in bike racing since he was a 4-year-old.
He has had several successes in his early career — including finishing second in the 2012 AMA Racing Mid-America Cross Country National Championship (MAXC) series 85cc class — giving Young had a nice momentum builder to begin this season.
“The past year has gone pretty good,” Young said. “I started off the season with a win and just progressed from there.”
Young’s progression included becoming the 2013 AMA MAXC National Champion at the beginning of November. He passed fellow Indiana rider Tyler Darmon, an AMA MAXC points leader, on the last lap to secure the championship. Of nine races on the circuit, Young won four and finished second five times.
MAXC, where Young competes, is based mostly in Indiana with a race or two in Kentucky or Illinois. Riders participate in each race, being awarded points for how they finish.
Young admitted that he often gets nervous, due to the pressure to earn as many points as possible. Though there is nervous energy during the race, he said there are also some relaxing feelings where he can have fun.
When the moments do get tense, he looks to his father, Gordon, who Young lists as his role model in riding. Young also said that it’s a nice advantage to have his father, a former rider himself, around for pointers throughout the season.
However, there were a few roadblocks during the year, but nothing Young was unable to overcome.
“I did pretty good most of the season,” he said. “I had a couple of problems, but still ended up doing pretty good. I had a couple of flat tires. I just put another one on, hope for the best, and move on from there.”
With the competition mounting, Young responds by working harder. Every weekend that he doesn’t race, he goes riding with friends or his father.
However, being a student and racing nearly every weekend puts Young in a bit of a time crunch.
“I just try to get as much of my work done as I can through the week,” he said. “Then that leaves all weekend to race.”
Though the season is complete, Young is looking forward to next year.
“I got two new bikes,” he said. “I’m going to do a little bit of practice on them and race them next year.”
As for the future, Young says his goals are fairly simple, as he plans to “ride my hardest and hope for some pretty big sponsors.”