Last Saturday, in sweltering heat and under immense pressure, young Nathan Berrie became the toast of the country as he won the MX50 class Southern Africa Motocross Championship at the Dumela Track in Francistown.
Seven-year-old Berrie, a standard two pupil at Clifton Primary School, beat off stiff competition from some of the best young riders from across Southern Africa to capture the prestigious regional title.
Although he came second in all the three races on the day, Nathan was able to accumulate enough points over the course of the season, which included events in Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa earlier in the year, to be crowned champion.
His overall score of 176 saw him beat his nearest rival, Zimbabwean rider Jordan Dewdley by 16 points.
Speaking to Voice Sport, the gutsy little rider said he was happy to have won the title and was inspired to ride harder in the future in order to achieve great things on the track like his hero, the celebrated Ross Branch.
“I am very happy and proud of myself,” said the sporty all-rounder, who also plays cricket, softball and football at school.
Quizzed on how he felt before the start of the day he knew would make or break his championship dream, the youngster pondered for a second, before responding maturely, “I was nervous and a bit scared because there were so many new riders but as the day went on I got a bit more relaxed and this helped me perform on the day.”
Meanwhile, proud mother Lola Berrie told Voice Sport that her boy deserves the glory as he put a lot of effort into his riding.
“I think he deserves it. He worked very hard. During the school holidays he would train at least three times a week and during the school term he would spend almost every weekend on the track,” revealed a beaming Lola.
She went on to say her son has all the support and inspiration he needs to succeed on the track as he comes from a riding family, with Lola and her husband Tristan also keen motor-cross enthusiasts.
For the seven-year-old MX50 motocross champion of Southern Africa the future looks to be incredibly bright – just like his winning smile!