Six-year-old rises in world of BMX racing


With about eight wins under his belt, Brian Horner is ranked as an intermediate bike rider in BMX, and he is only 6.

"He will probably be expert by the end of the year," said his father, also named Brian Horner.

According to Horner, an expert rider is someone younger than 16 who has 25 wins. Once the rider turns 16, he is considered a pro.

But that's a long way off for Brian, who has been racing and riding since he was 5.

Entering the BMX world started from his parents' desire to get Brian involved in some sort of activity.

"I wanted to keep him active," Horner said, "something to get him off the couch and away from video games."

Brian, who attends Green Valley Christian Elementary School, said he also likes to play basketball and participate in wrestling.

But racing is in the family's blood. Horner was a racer, as were his dad and grandfather.

In each competition, there are about eight racers vying for the top spot. The winners advance to the main event.

Horner said that at one competition, Brian made it to the main event when another child crashed into him.

"He made it about 10 feet out of the gate and the kid fell on top of him," Horner said.

The family remains proud of Brian and his success.

"You always hope they do well," Horner said.

At each competition, his parents anxiously watch. Brian's first race was the worst to watch, they said.

"Pretty much the whole thing was us watching and hoping he could get around the track and not crash as he was making corners," Horner said.

Horner said it can be amusing watching 6- and 7-year olds trying not to crash into each other.

"I am more nervous than he is," said Michelle McDermott, Brian's mom. "I'm sick to my stomach waiting."

But Horner said Brian soared above other racers, scoring several wins in his first year.

Brian has never been injured racing.

"He wears full gear," Horner said. "It is a safe sport compared to other sports. They are going fast but not too fast."

Horner said even though racers are in the same age brackets, this is a sport where size doesn't play a big role.

"It's all about speed and agility, not size," Horner said.

Unlike other sports, Horner said, he rarely sees crazed parents who scream at their children to make them do better.

"It is not like football parents who flip out on their kids," Horner said.

Horner said Brian is a part of a national team, PPC Racing, which travels around the country to compete.

Horner said the team has been ranked No. 3 in the country.

McDermott said even though the team members are competing with each other, they are always supportive toward one another.

Brian has competed at local tracks but has traveled to Oklahoma, Arizona and Florida for competitions.

Brian said his favorite racetrack is in San Diego. Horner said Brian is expected to travel back to that track this month.

In the meantime, Brian keeps practicing with his team every Tuesday at Ed Fountain Park BMX Raceway, 1400 N. Decatur Blvd.

Horner said Brian can continue riding and racing as long as he wants.

"It is his choice," Horner said.

Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at mlyle@viewnews.com or 387-5201.