TALENTED young BMX rider Josh Bertacco is set compete against Australia’s best at another national event in a few short weeks.
The 11 year-old Inverloch resident has qualified for the 2016 BMX Australian Championship, to be held at the newly-constructed $1.5m track at Bathurst.
Around 3000 riders across all ages will be donning helmets for the week-long event starting March 1, with Josh set to battle against 80 others in the Under 12s section.
Josh has been a serious bike rider for more than half his life, and this isn’t even his first stint at the national championships.
Last year he ventured up to Brisbane with his Dad, Jamie, where he managed to qualify for the finals before an unfortunate chain mishap dashed his chances.
This year, his pit crew, aka ‘Dad’, will be bringing some extra equipment along to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible.
After a year of intensive training, Josh is reenergised and determined to make it even further in the competition.
“I want to make the quarter finals,” he declared.
“It’ll be tough – the Bathurst track is going to be a test – but I’m ready to do my best.”
Over the summer holidays, the Inverloch Primary School student wasn’t lounging around the beach – he was fitting in as much extra practice as possible.
“Now school’s back, I make sure there’s time for extra sprints after I finish my homework,” he added.
An all-round sports nut, Josh also plays for the Inverloch-Kongwak Football Club, but he has decided to pour most of his energy into riding.
“I just love the adrenaline rush, especially competing at this level,” he said.
“I’ve also made lots of great friends over the years after being a member of the Frankston BMX Club.”
His dad, Jamie, said that although BMX riding is regarded as an extreme sport, it’s fast gaining a reputation for being a great pastime for youngsters.
“It has such a fantastic, family-friendly culture and it has taught Josh many life skills, including discipline and mateship,” Jamie said.
While his mind is firmly focused on next month’s races, Josh doesn’t hold back when asked what his BMX goals are for the future.
“I want to qualify for the world titles one day,” he smiled.
“I always ask Mum and Dad whether they’d take me overseas if that happened.”
Josh thanks his family, including two brothers Zavier (also a keen rider) and Brayden, staff at local bike shops, his teachers and mates for their ongoing support.