Age might be just a number, but speed is not, and motocross is a sport that just gets faster and faster as it ages, regardless of the racer’s age.
George Masdea, 38, is a lifetime and competitive rider and has seen the equipment improve over the decades, which has increased the quickness and speeds of riders. Most riders use four strokes, aka four cylinders, instead of two now, which means the bikes are faster and have larger engines.
“This has been a big change. The equipment has been constantly evolving. A lot more people can go faster,” he said. “It’s the biggest change I’ve seen over the last couple years. It’s just much easier to accelerate quicker, for all riders.”
Masdea, who owns Jacksonville Powersports, got into motocross more professionally when stand-up jetski racing and that lifestyle started to die down in the late 1990s. Since then, he’s worked to turn his passion into a full-time job and has seen generations of racers come and go.
Someone he notices as a local up-and-comer with a bright future is Brennon Harrison, who is just 8 years old, but has already competed and won major events.
“Here locally for his age group, he’s definitely the fastest one around,” Masdea said. “He seems like a great kid. I’ve known his dad in this sport for a long time. The Loretta Lynn race is the biggest amateur-national event that we have to go to and he’s trying to go this year and has already been, so that kid is achieving it on the highest level there is.”
The Loretta Lynn’s are held each year in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. The race started in 1992 and is thought to be sort of a last stop before racers become professional. Brennon went last year and plans to compete again this year.
Brennon finished sixth last year there and finished second in the country in the Ricky Carmichael event in Daytona and second at another national event in Michigan. His dad, John Harrison, rides motocross and has been off and on since the ‘80s.
With his father’s intensive background in the sport, Brennon decided to give it a go a couple of years ago and follow in his footsteps. Initially, he didn’t really show a lot of interest until his dad got him a bike, and he learned how to ride it before he could even pedal a regular ol’ bicycle.
“It was all in from there. He went from the back of the pack his first year, to competing with these kids who are training at [professional] facilities. It’s hard to imagine a 7- or 8-year-old that is at a training facility every day riding, but there are those kids,” John Harrison said, who’s seen the sport continue to get more advanced over the years.
Since getting into it, Brennon has had a lot of success and will be competing in eight major/national events this year. Currently, he is sponsored by WW Motocross Park, Elusive Gloves, Cobra Motorcycles, Dunlap Tires, Dozer Grip Tape and Pro Taper Bars. But it’s important he keeps it all in a certain perspective at a young age.
“It doesn’t matter how bad he does or if he comes in second or third when he comes off I’m smiling, because that’s what he sees,” he said. “I see too many dads freaking out because they think their kid is the next star. I tell him, ‘Just go have fun, ride your dirt bike.’ That’s the best advice I can give any kid.”
Like Masdea, he has seen the sport continue to evolve and grow over the years, with the level of seriousness and competition rising with it. Masdea’s advice for Brennon is to just stay at it.
“Just stick with it and definitely keep on practicing. Practice definitely pays off. People that train are well rewarded for sure,” Masdea said. “It’s still all about fun though. That’s what matters.”
Brennon seems to be in for a bright future with his dad by his side, not putting any pressure on the 8-year-old and letting him enjoy the sport.
So what’s Brennon’s take on all this? “Do good in school and ride really good and win a lot,” Brennon said. “The best part is having fun.”