Cameron Eason was shooting for the top at the 29th annual AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships, held July 29-Aug. 5 at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn.
The 7-year-old racer was confident he could win and was ahead of the entire pack when disaster struck.
“In his first moto, he took off and led the whole race, and his motor blew up 20 feet before the finish line,” his dad, Chris Eason, said. “The motor gave up on him.”
But the First Presbyterian Christian Academy second-grader still was determined to keep going and finished the competition ranked eighth in the nation.
The AMA championship was a three-moto format in which the racers’ final results were averaged and totaled after the three runs.
Eason said he was disappointed that his motor blew, and Chris Eason thinks his son could have finished as the top dog.
“He could have been first or second contender,” Chris Eason said. “I had a backup (motor), but it didn’t have quite the same power.”
Chris Eason said he tried to see if the motor could be rebuilt by the KTM bike technicians who were at the event, but they couldn’t guarantee it would hold. Trying to avoid another blowout, Chris Eason said he placed the backup motor on the bike and just hoped for the best.
“If the bike would have held together, he could have walked out of there with the No. 1 place,” Chris eason said. “Still, it was pretty awesome.”
Pretty awesome, indeed, for a young boy who started racing only two years ago. After watching his older brother Keaton, 11, race, Cameron decided to give it a go.
Cameron Eason said he felt good about his finish, but he was disappointed when his engine blew. The youngster, who said his favorite pre-race meal is and egg-and-cheese sandwich, said he plans to race until he is established as a professional.
“It’s fun,” Cameron Eason said. “It’s fun to catch air.”
Chris Eason said finishing in the top 10 at the AMA Nationals is difficult, and to lead an entire race is nearly impossible. Folks quickly took notice of his son’s accomplishment.
“People came up to me afterwards and said, ‘You know, we’ve been here 10 years in a row and my son has never led a lap here,’” Chris Eason said. “So for him to lead that whole race there was pretty cool.”
Chris Eason said it opened the door to a potential sponsor.
“A guy came up to us and approached us, and he is with Answer Racing,” he said. “They talked to us, and they told us to call them when we got back and settled in because he would like to possibly sponsor. We don’t have it yet, but I’m supposed to call the guy and we were approached and we sat down for about an hour and a half and talked it over.”
And that would be good news for the Eason family, which travels throughout the country for different races. Often, expenses come out of pocket to cover events, gas and equipment.
“His helmet is $500, he has a neck protector that cost about $300 … The green vest he wears is about $200 and then his boots … He is probably wearing about $1,000 worth of gear,” Chris Eason said, adding they were necessary evils to ensure his son’s safety.
Chris Eason said they spend more time living in their RV than they spend at their Hinesville home, but the family wouldn’t trade the experience.
“It isn’t every kid in the world that gets to travel all over the country as a family and do something fun like this,” dad said. “Your average kid sits at home on a Saturday or Sunday and plays Nintendo. We are cooped up in that thing (RV) and it keeps our family pretty tight, but we are together and that’s the main thing. He will definitely see a whole lot more than a lot of kids do.”
Traveling from race to race, the family does take the time to tour the different locations they visit in between races.
But it is a competitive sport and dad said it’s time for his younger son to make a move up the ranks and face tougher challengers.
Eason currently races in the 4-6 age class. His dad said it’s time to place him in the 7-9 division.
“He can finish this year out in this class but we are going to move him up,” dad said. “We just feel like keeping him in this class might hold him back. He might not do as well there but we want to move forward because it will help him in the future.”
Cameron Eason will start racing in the new class at the upcoming 41st annual Thor Winter National Olympics during Thanksgiving Week in Florida. Around the bike circuit, the race is known by the nickname Minnie O’s. Chris Eason said next to the AMA National at Loretta Lynn’s the Minnie O’s is the second-largest national event in motocross.