Quinn Wentzel's parents bought him his first motorcycle, complete with training wheels, when he was 3.
By IAN HILL
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
ELLSWORTH -- Quinn Wentzel is only 7, but he's already talking like a seasoned professional athlete.
"When I'm in first, I think nobody's going to pass me and I'm going to win," Quinn said. "And it happens. I do always win."
That confidence helped propel Quinn into the 20th Annual American Motorcyclist Association Motocross Championship amateur finals, where he will compete in the 50cc class for 4-6 year-olds.
Quinn is allowed to compete in the 4-6 year old class because his 7th birthday was after Jan. 1.
The finals will be this week in Tennessee.
Proud: "Just to get there is an accomplishment in itself. We're really proud of him," said Quinn's mother, Diane Wentzel. "We're hoping he does well."
Mrs. Wentzel added that Quinn and the young motocross racers he competes against are "just like little pros" when they're on the track.
"The competition is so intense," she said.
Quinn races an average of three times each week, Mrs. Wentzel said, adding that he is in first place in his class on the Competition Riders of America circuit, which includes races throughout Ohio.
First place: Quinn currently has 502 points in the circuit's Junior Pee Wee class, which includes 4-6 year old racers. The second-place rider has 307 points.
Mrs. Wentzel said that when Quinn is not racing, he acts like most other children his age. After Quinn qualified for the amateur finals by finishing second at a race in late June in Kentucky, he wanted to ride his bicycle over a 10-foot-high dirt jump on the race course.
Quinn will be a second grader at Ellsworth Elementary this fall. He said he enjoys playing baseball and riding horses as well as motocross racing. His favorite classes in school are gym and art.
"We certainly want him to expand and do other things [along with motocross]," said Quinn's father, Bob, an amateur motocross racer who was nationally ranked in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Quinn and his father form the "Small Hero Racing Team."
"They say [motocross] is in the blood, so it's in Quinn's blood," Wentzel said.
Early start: Quinn first became involved in motocross at age 3, when his parents bought him his first motorcycle, complete with training wheels. The training wheels soon came off, and Quinn competed in his first race when he was 4.
"Once he got on his own little bike, he never wanted to stop," Mrs. Wentzel said.
Quinn wears protective equipment when he rides, said Mrs. Wentzel, who feels many other youth sports are just as dangerous as motocross. However, she said she still gets nervous when Quinn races.
"I hold my breath every time, hoping he doesn't get hurt," she said. "I don't think I'll ever get over it."
Quinn said he also gets nervous when he falls off his motorcycle during a race, but he added, "I've never gone to the hospital."