On the Radar | #18 Leith Ness | Scott Sports Canada

By Jeff McConkey

‘On the Radar’ is presented by Scott Sports Canada.

Name:  Leith Ness
Age: 12
Hometown: Blackwater, Ontario
School and Grade or Occupation: Grade 7
Number: 18
Bike: KTM 85
Race Club or Series: AMO, AMA, MRC, MMRS
Classes: 80 12-16 and Supermini

This week, #18 Leith Ness is ‘On the Radar.’ | Bigwave photo

How did you get started in racing and riding?

My dad’s been racing since he was really young and still does, so even when I was a baby, I was at the track. I used to run around wearing my dad’s helmet pretending to ride and then I got a PW for Christmas when I was 3.  I started racing that spring and won my first race just before I turned 4.  That was at OCMC, they have a really good mini track for beginners.

What is your favourite track and why?  

I think my favourite tracks are Madoc, because it has a fun flow with all the jumps and speed, and Motopark, because I like how open it is and it also has good jumps. I also like Muttco and I love Gopher Dunes, too, they’re both sand but different and really tough to ride. South of the border, I like Club MX, it’s a tough practice track but a lot of fun and MP South has a great track too.

Who is your favourite rider and why?

My favourite rider is probably Ken Roczen but it’s hard to pick just one.  He’s not always number one but he stays consistent and his riding style has a lot of flow with some aggression too, he rides his own race. He’s focussed and trains hard even with his injuries, he doesn’t let anything keep him down. Chad Reed too, he’s done really well on his own, can’t be easy and he keeps on pushing hard.

What Canadian Pro do you look up to and why? 

I’ve always followed Cole Thompson, he’s smooth and fast but I really like Mike Alessi because he’s awesome to see at our local races.  He’s fast and shows his  confidence on any type of track.  He always has time for kids and gives props to us on the start gate. He even signed my copy of MX Kids DVD when we saw him at the KTM Challenge.

Leith’s favourite tracks are Madoc, Motopark, Muttco and Gopher Dunes. | Em Lahtinen photo

Who is your hero? 

People ask this one a lot and I always say my hero is my dad.  He does everything for us, he does everything he can to make sure we can race. He’s my dad but he’s the best coach, mechanic, driver that I could ever have. He can do anything. He never gives up on the job he’s on, he perseveres no matter what conditions he’s working under.

What are your goals for this season, and what is it going to take to reach them?

My first goal was to beat my times from last year at the tracks we ride and I’ve been able to do that. Now I want to podium at the MPC finals, Walton TransCan and Madoc National. Last year I was 4th, just missed a spot so this year I’d really have to push myself and try to get on that box.  I’m  going to ride the new Triple Crown Amateur Nationals, I’d love to podium at these as well. They should be really fun.

My dad’s been racing since he was really young and still does, so even when I was a baby, I was at the track.

What are your biggest accomplishments? 

Last year I won the Amateur National at RJ Motorsport in Barrie, it was a fun event and seeing all those big pro rigs at one of our local tracks was great.  Winning my 65 age class at the 2015 Madoc National was fun and my grandparents from Scotland were there to see me win.  It was scary but really exciting to ride the KTM Junior SX Challenge on home soil, I got a big holeshot and getting to the Ricky Carmichael Amateur SX twice was great too.

What is your favourite part about going to the races?

I love the racing but I like to hang out with my friends too.  Nobody at my school races motocross so I don’t talk about it much so I like being around other riders and just having fun, on and off the track.

Watch for Leith this summer as he races the Amateur Open events, the Walton TransCan, and the Madoc National. | Mao Ouyang photo

What do you like to do when you aren’t racing? 

Hanging out with my friends, playing Fortnite, riding my bike, swimming and I’m learning how to ride a unicycle right now too which is fun. I also play the sax and I like listening to music.

Who would you like to thank? 

First would be my dad, for everything he does and my family for their support always, even when things don’t go as planned.  The clubs that put races on for us, AMO, MRC and MMRS and their tracks. Also sponsors who continue to support me each season, Dawn McClintock and FXR, GP Bikes, Mika Metals, Dunlop Tire, Atlas Brace, Factory Effex, Matrix Concepts, DT1 Filters, Risk Racing, Scott Goggles, Turfcare, RaceTech, MD Distributions, Jay at MX Schools and can’t forget Dave Bell for his commentary and for getting my name right.  Thanks to the photographers that have taken some great photos of me and my family. Also thanks to you, Jeff, for giving me this opportunity.