Just three years ago, Ethan Williamson got onto his first PW50… Now he’s a regional, national and continental Motocross champion, including winning the coveted FIM Africa Motocross of African Nations - Africa’s highest award for motocross.
Just three years ago, Ethan Williamson got onto his first PW50… Now he’s a regional, national and international Motocross champion, including winning the coveted FIM Africa Motocross of African Nations - Africa’s highest award for motocross.
Ethan Williamson, riding out of Cape Town, South Africa, is only eight-years-old, but his resume reads:
- 2019 MSA TRP South African National Motocross Champion,
- 2019 FIM Africa Motocross of African Nations
- 2019 MSA Western Cape Regional Champion.
Winning the TRP South Africa Motocross Nationals
Ethan started 2019 with a bang, going 1-1 to claim the top step of the podium at Rover MX track in Port Elizabeth for the first round of the TRP South African National Motocross Championship. He followed this by winning the South African MX Nationals rounds in Cape Town and Bloemfontein. After Round 3, Ethan held a healthy 17-point lead, but Round 4 saw him experience a bike failure at Dirt Bronco in Gauteng. But the young rider showed true MX grit and limped his bike over the line in Moto 1 for 6th place - and redeemed himself with a 2nd place in Moto 2 that gave him overall 3rd for the day.
With only three rounds left, Ethan prepared for race day with a clear understanding of what was needed to win. Round 5 in Pietermaritzburg saw him finish 2nd. In Round 6 in Welkom, Ethan led Moto 1 until a crash… but he bounced back to win Moto 2 against stiff competition. Going into the final round, Ethan had a clear National Championship lead, but disaster struck. With only one lap to go, his electronics malfunctioned and the bike came to a standstill in the dust. The talented young rider kept a cool head and managed to get the bike going and crawl over the line.
Ethan led the TRP SA MX Nationals from Round 1 in Port Elisabeth to the season finale at Terra Topia - but it was not all smooth sailing. He had to dig deep and ride with a maturity well beyond his years.
“Ethan has had to deal with enormous pressure - from his competitors, from bike failures and crashes, from financial constraints. He has had to rise above and ensure he performs when it counts, and all this while staying humble and grounded,” says his mother, Calista Williamson. “As a mother, you want it to come easy for your son. Only now can I see the benefits this sport brings to Ethan. He has learned so much as a young boy. I am the proudest mom when parents of young competitors tell me how kind and encouraging Ethan is to their kids. That is the kind of champion I am proud to call my son.”
Harare: Motocross of African Nations Champion
Ethan was selected to compete in the 2019 FIM Africa Motocross of African Nations, which saw the best riders in Africa racing in Zimbabwe in August. Ethan was ecstatic to represent his country and head to the Donnybrook motocross track in Harare between stints racing at Krugersdorp and in Welkom. It was a prestigious honor and a welcome break from the pressure of managing the points lead in the South African championship.
Ethan rode the deep sand of Donnybrook like a seasoned professional and although he had some stiff competition from Malcom Tabula (Uganda) and Christian Berrington-Smith (South Africa), it was young Williamson that went 1-1-2 to claim the title of Africa’s Fastest Junior Rider.
Motorsport South Africa Regional Champ
Back home, in the MSA Western Cape regional championship it was a close battle between Ethan Williamson and Jake van Schoor, with van Schoor going on to become runner-up in the national championship. For the Western Cape title, van Schoor was one point ahead of Williamson coming into the last round.
It was a winner takes all race day and the two young boys put on a great show battling from start to finish. But there can only be one winner, and Ethan managed to edge out Jake to go 1-1, and take the Western Cape regional honors.
What it takes to be a champion
When asked what it takes for a boy who is half the age of a legal driving license to compete and win at a regional, national and international level, Ethan’s father Warren Williamson says: “It takes huge commitment. If Ethan didn’t have the work ethic and drive he does, we would not be competing at this level. He is so driven and he works extremely hard both on and off the track; practicing on the bike, but also keeping on top of his school work.”
The commitment to the sport of motocross does not only come from Ethan. “We are a family of five,” adds Ethan’s father Warren. “Ethan’s biggest supporters are his brother Oliver and his baby sister, Raegan, as well as his mom Calista, who is our rock, fitness trainer, chef, social media expert, life-coach, shoulder to cry on and drill sergeant. Then there is the financial commitment, and we are very grateful to Ethan’s sponsors Little Big Productions, Leatt and private donors. It is a continuous struggle to find the financial support, and we work constantly to win sponsors, and then promote those sponsors on the platforms we have available to us. But the real key to succeed at this level is for Ethan to have fun in motocross, and let him decide where it takes him.”
The future looks bright for this young motocross champion as he moves into a new chapter of his racing career. We wish him well as he continues on his journey to motorsport greatness.
Find out more
* Follow Ethan’s journey or contact him at http://www.instagra.com/ethan171williamson
* See Ethan on SABC “Expresso” show here: http://j.mp/EthanExp
* Full Motocross of African Nations rankings here: http://j.mp/FIMmx19
Picture Caption: Ethan Williamson after winning the TRP South African National Motocross championship
Photography by: Lara Williamson
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