Cameron McInerney has been riding motocross since he was 3 years old and racing since he was 5.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Cameron McInerney's third-grade class at Allendale Elementary didn't believe him when he said he won two motocross championships and finished third in the nationals.
Until he brought in trophies that were taller than he is.
The 8-year-old is quickly rising in the ranks of the motocross world and has set his sights on going faster and higher.
Cameron just won two championships for his age bracket in the Metropolitan Sports Committee, based in New York, and in 2010 finished third in his age bracket at the national Red Bull AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships at Loretta Lynn’s ranch.
"I was really nervous at nationals when I saw how fast everybody was," Cameron said of his trip to Lynn's ranch in Tennessee in the summer of 2010. "I didn't think there would be as many riders in my class."
To get invited, Cameron had to first win the New England championship and the Northeastern championship. He then joined 41 of the fastest riders in the country for the race and finished third.
"It was really cool there. There were so many things to do," he said of his trip to Tennessee.
Last year, he again qualified for Loretta Lynn's but the family was unable to make the trip.
While those accomplishments were enough to get national and local sponsorships, it isn't enough for the ambitious third-garder. Cameron wants to win the nationals this year while also preparing for the next level bike class.
He is in his last year of eligibility on a 50 cc dirt bike and is now upping the speed by learning to race a 65 cc.
"I'm not so good with the clutch and shifting yet," Cameron said of the 65 ccs. But they do go faster and hit bigger jumps, which are his favorite parts of riding.
To keep accelerating in the sport, Cameron knows it takes practice and he goes to a private track in Cheshire two to three times a week during the summer with his father and coach, Michael McInerney.
McInerney raced dirt bikes as a child and when his son turned 3, he bought Cameron's first bike. Two years later, Cameron was racing.
"When I first started racing, I wasn't doing so well but then I started practicing and I really like it," Cameron said.
Cameron won two classes in the MSC Motocross circuit to bring home trophies taller than he is.
While Cameron is doing the same thing his father did at that age, McInerney says he does get a little nervous seeing the youngster flying through the air. But, he supports his son by taking him to a race every weekend.
He purchased an RV with an attached garage and the two travel hours every weekend to wherever a race is being held.
Supporting motocross racing isn't cheap though.
"It's $110 per week and that's not counting gas or food or if anything breaks," McInerney said, adding that it is worth it because he gets to spend every weekend talking with his son during the long drives and camping out with him. "There are really no local, local races."
Cameron is the only racer in his Allendale School class but he has made friends from other parts of Berkshire County who race and the families team up to split some of the costs.
McInerney said the sport is "pretty big" in Berkshire County and at some races the multitude of RVs create a "little Berkshires."
"There are three kids in Berkshire County ranked in the top 10," McInerney said. "It is bigger than what it gets credit for."
McInerney said sponsors help defray costs. Three local companies — Northern Foundations, Woodland Excavating and Mickle Electric — bought his son a brand-new and much needed bike last year.
"He rode a 4- to 6-year-old bike. He was the biggest kid on the smallest bike and he was still winning," McInerney said.
And with a brand-new bike, Cameron tore off to win the championships and bring home trophies.
"He always wanted trophies taller than him," McInerney said.
And when Cameron is not racing motocross, he finds some other non-traditional sports to do like BMX riding, snowmobiling and skiing.