Rafael Rossiter may not be a name that rings bells but the Queanbeyan six-year-old is heading to the U.S. to compete in one of the world’s biggest amateur motocross events.
The Jerrabomberra Primary School Year 1 student qualified for the Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn Ranch while on a family holiday in the States. “I got the idea to qualify for Loretta Lynn’s when he was injured and couldn’t ride for six weeks,” Rafael’s dad and coach, Peter, said.
“We decided to combine it with a holiday so it would be no big deal if he didn’t qualify. It probably would have been more expensive to not race and go visit lots of theme parks.”
On the trip, Rafael squeezed in as much racing as possible. He competed in three local events and a regional qualifier for Loretta Lynn’s. He raced 16 motos for nine wins, four seconds and two thirds! Not bad for a kid with no motocross racing experience!
Rafael has been on two wheels since he was just one, when his dad put him on a KTM balance bike. “Rafael started out on a KTM balance bike because his older brother, Zachary, had learnt on a bike with training wheels and that gave him bad habits, for example not riding with his feet on the pegs,” said Peter.
From there Rafael jumped onto a Yamaha PW50 before moving up to the KTM 50SX. An important part of Rafael’s training is his love of BMX racing and trials riding.
“We did BMX to improve jumping but the biggest and most surprising benefit was corner speed. BMX riders have the best movement on a bike, to do what they do without suspension is amazing. The other reason we did those sports was to slow Rafael down because he wanted to blast around but was not safe yet.”
When he’s not riding his KTM 50SX or racing BMX, Rafael rides an OSET electric trials bike. It’s no secret trials riders develop skills that give them an advantage in motocross and enduro. “To make sure he would maintain the standing position I got him a 16-inch OSET. This is far easier than what most MX parents do and remove the seat,” Peter said.
Pete has Rafael on a training program that involves swimming, trials, BMX and motocross. “We’ve done about a dozen training schools and my knowledge went from what would fit on a postage stamp to a A4 page,” explained Peter. “Learning to ride is like learning a new language, before you can become fluent you need to break it down, learn all the individual components and then reassemble it.”
Rafael heads to the U.S. in late July for the Amateur Nationals in Tennessee, with competition running from 31 July to 5 August. Rafael has his sights set on a top-15 finish but, as his father explains, that depends on good starts and how he handles the heat after training in Canberra during winter!
“Whatever he gets, Rafael can build on if we return because he will be in the same age group next year.”
Name: Rafael Santiago Rossiter
Hometown: Queanbeyan, NSW
Sponsors: Taunton’s Automotive, Motocross Vestoz.com, Atlantic Performance Oils
Home Clubs: Cooma Off Road Club (CORC), Trials Club Of Canberra, Canberra BMX Club
Favourite MX Tracks: “Larbert MX” Braidwood & Washougal, Washington, U.S.
Favourite Rider: Ryan Dungey
Favourite Foods: Strawberries, water melon, ice cream
Hobbies: Swimming, stunt BMX, chess