MOUNT VERNON — He already has years of experience as a motocross driver, but he only just got his driver’s license.
Mount Vernon High School sophomore Tony Calland, 16, is an old hand on the American Motocross Association District 11 racing series, as well as the county fair circuit. He was recently awarded trophies for being the top rider in two classes in each of those two series in 2010.
Calland won both the 250 B and the Open B classes in the 2010 season. The double championship is the fourth and fifth of Calland’s career in the Fair Series and the first and second in AMA D11, which covers the southern half of Ohio.
“It went pretty good,” said Calland. “I stayed consistant the whole year. I did my thing, didn’t have any injuries and it went well.”
For Calland, who drives a 250cc bike, winning the 250cc class meant enduring a long, grueling season. He faced weekend after weekend of rugged courses, only to do it again the following week.
“Everytime I was out there, I just had to keep focused,” said Calland. “I didn’t think about anything else. I just thought about what I had to do. I had to get the job done and keep my head up. This is what I like to do and I keep doing it week after week. It’s fun. It doesn’t make me tired or anything.”
Perhaps more impressive than winning the 250cc class, were his open class championships. While many of his challengers rode 450cc bikes, Calland stuck with his 250cc bike and drove it to the title in both series.
“With 450s, you have to ride them slower to keep them smooth because they have so much power,” said Calland. “With the 250s, you can pretty much do whatever you want. Sometimes you have an advantage on lower bikes, where you can turn faster and stay lower on the jumps and stuff.”
Calland will remain an amateur next year and he is looking to do well before moving up to pro. He hopes that he can acquire a 450cc bike by next season.
“I’m going to try to get a 450,” said Calland, whose experiences after nearly a decade of amateur riding have made him ready for whatever 2011 has to throw at him. “I’ve grown up on (those courses) and I’ve grown used to them. They’re not really difficult to me anymore.”
He has shown the state of Ohio how good he is. Perhaps, next year, he will do more.
“This coming season, when the winter weather breaks, maybe we’ll try for the AMA Nationals (at the Loretta Lynn Ranch in Hurricane Mills) down in Tennessee,” said Calland. “We’ll see how that happens.”
Calland is very clear about who are his biggest supporters as he rises higher and higher in the amateur ranks.
“Definitely my mom and my dad,” said Calland. “They sacrificed their time to help me out. I have a couple of sponsors. My mechanic, Mike, helps out a lot with my bike and stuff. A lady in Newark gave me a bunch of gear, tires and accessories. There are other people out there, helping me out a lot.”