Up-and-coming Mandurah motocross star Rhys “Roo” Burnett has staked his claim as one of the nation’s best young riders with a top-10 finish at the Australian Junior Motocross Championships in Tasmania last week.
The 16-year-old raced superbly in the 125cc two-stroke class (a premier class used as a doorway to professional racing) at the Coastal Motocross Club in Penguin, overcoming a set of hurdles on his way to finishing sixth overall after five grueling finals.
He rose to the occasion with a consistent start to the week before taking to the finals with a “nothing to lose” attitude, ultimately landing him in the top five of the competition before he was pushed back to sixth after being notified of a minor in-race penalty.
But the young gun wasn’t deterred by the infraction, saying he was “stoked” to finish in Australia’s top six junior rides.
“It’s pretty sick – it was an awesome experience,” he said.
“I had to adjust to the type of dirt they have on their track in Tasmania and there were a bunch of other things that made it a bit different to anything I’ve raced before, but it all came together after a few rides.
“I didn’t really go in with a goal at all, I just kind of wanted to race and if I could crack the top 10 that would have been cool, so to finish sixth was pretty awesome.”
Burnett also raced the 250cc class, where he finished in 13th spot, capping off a fruitful national tournament for the rising star that comes on the back of winning a state championship earlier this year.
It’s a stunning return to the track for a rider that took the entirety of 2017 off.
“I was bit rusty getting back into the swing of things this year,” he said.
“I took me a big to get going so to get those results, I was pretty stoked with it.”
Burnett trains locally under 14 MX Development coach Luke Davis, who was adamant the future held big things for the Mandurah-based racer.
“I’m excited to see how this kid can tackle the senior ranks and how much drive he has to overcome the standard teenage life and continue to shoot for his dreams,” Davis said.
“[This is] a massive accomplishment for a young teen with no where near as much time and experience on the bike as other competitors.
“I have no doubt he can do some big things in the future.”