Success has come to each of these racers at different stages of their young riding careers.
These BMX racers find themselves on the same track but at different places. Some have started over while others are just beginning. Here is a deeper look into each of Flagler racers
Adam Burk, 14, ninth grade; Burk used to watch his father and older brother ride, and he got his shot at 5 years old. After he excelled to consistently finish in the Top 3, Burk’s passion for racing grew dull, so he took a two-year hiatus.
“I had been doing it for so long, so I it got bored,” he said. “I got tired of riding the same tracks and racing gains the same people.”
But after a while, knowing the tracks had updated and there was new competition, Burk returned with bike.
Getting back out there didn’t produce his desired results. An 18th-place finish in his return left him disappointed, but, as he continued to train, Burk took second place SSA State competition Last year, which encouraged him that he was on the right path.
Casey Leeman, 13, eighth grade; Leeman, just barely a teenager, has learned a few lessons about humility. At last year’s BMX Disney Cup, he won on the opening day but placed last in the following on the next two days.
“I got a little too cocky,” Leeman said. “I thought it would be easy, but I had to learn the hard way.”
A few competitions later, Leeman inhabited the same problem. In the first heat of a state run, he beat the top kid that no one was able to beat in previous competitions, and his cockiness returned, but Humility 102 also took session. The following races, he failed to place in any of the top positions.
Having taken two humility courses, Leeman has corrected his focus after wins, and he’s become the No. 1-ranked rider in Florida, according to the USA BMX leaderboard. He’s won nearly every state race this season, and he’s only been racing for two years.
“What I learned from those two events is you can’t get overconfident,” he said.
While he has not allowed himself to get cocky on the track, Leeman had to go through Humility 103 a few months ago, when he caught one of his biggest fish, which led to pride. But, as the weeks went by, he failed to catch another fish, big or small. Leeman says he’s gotten a lot better now.
Leeman goes out to the track with his dad, Lorne, who was once a BMX state-point leader for two straight years back in the day.
When Casey Leeman first wanted to give a racing a try, Lorne brushed the dust off his bike, and he decided to run on the the tracks with him, so they could continue to spend time together.
“We do everything together, bike riding, fishing and hunting,” he said. “He’s been really, really good.”
The biggest moment as Casey’s dad came at the Okeeheelee state race, where Leeman was up against six other good riders, and he still managed to win every race that entire weekend.
“At one point, he was getting really good, but he only got seconds and thirds,” Lorne Leeman said. “But then he just started winning and winning, and it’s been awesome to see him do it in such a short time.”
Blake Beard, 11, sixth grade: With only nine months experience, Beard’s the new guy. He was introduced into BMX by the others mentioned. They invited him out to watch, and he fell in love with it at first sight. He begged his dad to buy him a bike at Christmas, and, once he got it, it’s been hard to keep him off.
“It’s been the best present I’ve gotten,” he said. “I wanted to try racing really bad. I spent the rest of Christmas day riding up and down the street, and, once I could get to the track, I was there.”
Beard previously played football and was pretty good in baseball, but he doesn’t see any future in sports unless it’s in BMX racing.
“I love the adrenaline,” Beard said. “When you’re going really fast, and you’re flying over the bumps, your heart is pumping, so it’s a lot of fun.”
These same friends have also led his journey off of land and into the water as a surfer a month ago.
Randy Ross, 11, sixth grade: For Ross, BMX racing is only a fulfillment and testimony to his normal life. When he gets out of school, his friends don’t expect him to play any video games or watch cartoons, no. Ross gets out of school and hops on his bike all around the neighborhood until it’s time for him to go home.
A little over a year ago, Ross’ dad asked if he had any interest in BMX racing, and he jumped at the first notion that he could actually do what he had been doing all along.
“When I was little, I used to always race bikes, so this has always been my life,” Ross said.
Now, out on the tracks, he looks as if he’s been racing his whole life. Ross has won multiple trophies and top finishes at state competitions. He’s getting rewarded for all of the time he invested as a younger kid.