Eden steps up at MX Nationals
RYAN Eden isn't local, but the Mackay-based motocross rider competes so regularly at the Rockhampton and District Motocross Club he could be.
Eden took his riding to a new level on the weekend, competing at his first national competition, riding in the Motocross Development (MXD) Under-19s Division at Round 5 of the MX Nationals at Coolum on the Sunshine Coast.
"It was my first time at nationals,' Eden said.
"It was a big step up in competition. The speed and skill of the riders was on a whole new level. Also the money around the event was full-on. There were semi-trailers all over the place, sponsored factory riders everywhere. It was the real deal, it was big time."
The 16-year-old Eden has an old, wise head on his young shoulders and not only is he a realist and not a dreamer; he is also very hard on himself.
He wasn't particularly happy with his result at Coolum, finishing seventh overall.
Tony Clark, media representative for the Rocky MX Club, who was also at Coolum photographing the nationals and watching Eden's progress closely, isn't buying it.
"Ryan finished seventh, which is a very good result considering it's his first nationals," Clark said.
"He is a privateer racer up against a lot of factory-backed riders at that level and he held his own very well. I know he's disappointed because he feels he could have done so much better with a bit of luck going his way. But when he could get a clear run going, his lap times were consistently second fastest on track."
Eden agrees lady luck wasn't smiling on him at the nationals.
"I finished seventh and I'm not really happy with that," Eden admitted.
"I had a few crashes which held me back a bit. I don't want to make excuses because at the end of the day motocross is all about speed and skill, but luck does play a part. And at the nationals luck didn't go my way.
"But I learned a lot. I learned where I am at, at this stage of my racing. I can compete at this level but just need to put it all together on the day."
Eden, who first straddled a motorbike when he was six, simply followed in his father Lindsay's footsteps.
"My dad was Queensland Motocross Champion and he got me into it," Eden said.
"I loved it. I love the thrill of it, the excitement and adrenalin and concentration of racing. But it's also all about the life lessons it teaches you; discipline, hard work. If you want something you have to go and get it."
And what does he want to get?
"I've thought about racing professionally for sure," Eden said.
"I would like that, of course, but you need to think about it a bit more realistically. Not fantasy. The professional riders, I mean, they make good money but there are only a very small few who do. It is very hard to achieve."