Kelowna motocross rider ready for nationals

Casey Keast is racing in the 2017 Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals in Kamloops this weekend

A Black Mountain resident is aiming to place in the top five at the Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals.

Casey Keast, 18, got into dirt biking when he was 11.

This will be his second time competing in the MX2 category (250 cc) during the national competition, which starts this weekend in Kamloops at the Whispering Pines Raceway.

According to the motocross website, “the MX2 class is the breeding ground for up-and-coming talent and throughout its history has been mostly dominated by young Canadian racers.”

Keast feels confident about the races, after placing ninth overall last year.

“I don’t know what the expectations are this year. You always figure out your realistic expectations after the first race,” he said.

Keast will be racing against 40 other motocross riders, starting on what he calls “his home turf” race track, which he has grown up racing on.

The Rutland Senior Secondary graduate hopes to make it to the podium in this competition, racing full-time after graduation last year.

His love of dirt biking and the realization that he was good at the sport came to him at 11. By 15, Keast was starting to think about becoming a professional racer.

So far, one of his favourite things about competing is the places he’s had a chance to visit.

“What I like about it the most is the traveling and the places I get to see… all the cool places that people normally don’t get out to go see,” he said, adding he’s enjoyed visiting places tourists wouldn’t normally visit.

Keast travels to California in the winter to train because there aren’t as many opportunities in the Okanagan for a professional racer. “It’s almost a second home to me,” he said, adding Kelowna and California have a similar feeling due to climate.

Sitting on the bike, revving his engine and waiting for the start, Keast doesn’t think about the race as it’s happening.

“Most sports you don’t really have time to think about what you’re doing, you just go as hard as you can,” he said, loving the adrenaline rush.

“After the first two laps in a race you don’t even remember anything, it’s just like pure adrenaline. You just go. My favourite thing about it is just riding as hard as you can and your body is completely dead after.”

In his spare time, he plays basketball and snowboards at Big White in the winter. “That’s one of the harder things about the sport. I don’t get to hang out with friends (as much),” he said.

His mom got him into the sport professionally.

“My mom was the one that wanted me to start racing. She inspired me to get out there. She must have just known that I’d like it a lot.”

Keast’s father loved dirt biking as a kid but couldn’t do it professionally due to financial circumstances.

It makes Keast grateful for the opportunity.

“Anytime I’m in California riding and I have a bad day, I think about my parents and what they do for me and how fortunate I am to be able to ride just this day, let alone staying down there for a month.”

The nationals, celebrating its 25th anniversary, starts June 2 and 3 and will stretch across Canada, from Kamloops to Ontario.

@carliberry_
carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

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