Cape Town - A playground is too small for Neil van der Vyver, 8, of Durbanville, who was crowned South African Motocross Champion in the 50 Pro class earlier in October.
The love of dirt bikes came from his father, Werner van der Vyver, a dirt bike rider and weekend warrior. Although he was never a racer, he had always been of a fan of two-wheelers.
Neil started racing at three.
“It started when I bought him a little motorbike. He used to ride it in front of the house and neighbours would complain about the noise. We then ended up at Zone 7,” his father explained.
Zone 7 is is a recreational park for off-road bike and quad bike enthusiasts off the N7, outside the city.
At five, Neil entered his first junior race and buzzed off with the Junior Rider of the Day trophy.
Not having much competition, it was decided to enter him into the seniors’ level in the 2015 season - not only at club level, but also at national.
“We invested in training, to develop not only his basics but his overall riding skills as well,” said Van der Vyver.
Champion of Africa
In Nairobi, Kenya, while representing South Africa for the Africa Motocross of African Nations, Neil won all three heats and was crowned the African champion.
He also competed in the final motocross event in the South African National series and came out on top and also won six out of seven competitions in the South African Motocross series.
There are seven nationals held in the country and the series can be an expensive exercise, with bikes having to be replaced every 30 hours, tyres and chains changed every 10 hours, and bikes prepped for maximum performance before every race.
Neil’s coach, Anthony Raynard said: “With time, experience, age and maturity he will definitely further his South African championship career.”
On why he loves the sport, Neil says: “I love to jump the big jumps on the motocross track and take corners with my bike on the track. I also love the competition on the track and the speed.”