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Smith focused on Olympic success

Johna Smith is determined not to let his rookie status get in the way of his ultimate goal at next week’s Mini Olympics in Gainesville, Florida.

The 14-year-old motocross rider has targeted a podium finish on his debut at an event that attracts top competitors from across North America. And he is optimistic he will be equal to the task at hand.

“My expectation is to ride to the best of my ability and get on the podium,” he declared.

Smith’s motocross career began at the tender age of four and since then he has made steady strides in his chosen sport to earn the privilege of representing Rock Island Racing at the upcoming Mini O’s, which officially get underway at Gatorback Cycle Park on Monday.

The promising motocross rider competes for Team Revolution domestically but was invited to race for Rock Island Racing in Florida.

“I want to thank Rock Island team for letting me ride with them,” he said. “I also want to thank Team Revolution for believing in me.”

Although the Berkeley Institute student has no previous experience competing at the Mini O’s he is no stranger to riding beyond Bermuda’s shores having done so for nearly the past decade at various events in the US.

To enhance his chances of achieving his goal in Florida, Smith has left no stone unturned in his preparations for what could prove to be one of the biggest challenges of his fledgling career.

“I have been riding and getting ready with the other Rock Island Racing team members,” he said. “I have also been riding and doing physical training on my own.”

The teenaged athlete is one of seven riders that will compete in Florida under the Rock Island Racing Banner.

Also competing in various classes are Cedarbridge Academy student Brandon Renaud, Chekari Gibbons, AJ Durham, Shaki Easton, Zamair Darrell and the evergreen Otis Ingham. Jahde Trott withdrew at the eleventh hour for personal reasons.

Smith departs for Florida today to join the rest of his team mates who have been acclimatising to the local conditions over the past week.

“The track is being prepped for racing and we don’t actually start practising or anything like that until Monday so there’s no actual racing,” commented assistant team manager Everest Darrell. “But we have been taking the team around to the tracks in the area to allow them to get adjusted to the different soil terrains and different things like that to help them acclimatise.”

Darrell said he has high expectations for Bermuda’s representatives in Florida.

“I think we have a good chance to get some guys on the podium in these classes,” he said. “This is an invaluable experience for all our riders and we have nothing but high hopes for them. Everyone is very optimistic and ready to go.”

Smith added: “We have some good riders and I think they all will do good.”

Johna Smith

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Published November 19, 2011 at 8:14 am (Updated November 19, 2011 at 8:14 am)

Smith focused on Olympic success

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