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East County Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009 10 years ago

Athlete of the Week: Calvin Drake

by: Jen Blanco Sports Editor

Seven-year-old Calvin Drake isn’t one to back down from a challenge — even under the most grueling of circumstances.

Such was the case earlier this year when he popped a wheelie and fell off his motorcycle while racing through the woods. As he tumbled to the ground, part of his jersey got caught on the foot pedal of another rider — who ended up running over Calvin’s foot and dragging him briefly through the woods.

But rather than letting his fear and some bruises and pulled muscles get the best of him, Calvin rushed to get checked out by the paramedics. After getting the all clear, he hopped back on his bike and completed the race, finishing in 11th place.

Calvin’s determination and competitive nature helped propel him to his first Pee Wee C 50 championship. On Aug. 1, Calvin was awarded a trophy, a championship jacket and $75 in prize money during the Florida Trail Riders Hare Scramble Championship banquet in Walt Disney World.

“It was pretty cool because you can say, ‘I took first out of that whole group,’” Calvin said.

Calvin was awarded the championship after finishing first in the final race of the season this past May. After several top-five finishes throughout the 14-race season, he needed to win the final race in Okeechobee to have a shot at the championship. 

“I didn’t know if I was going to win or not because I was going to have to take first place and the (eventual) second-place finisher couldn’t place in the top five,” Calvin said. “I just wanted to go out there and have fun.”

Calvin began riding with training wheels when he was just 3-and-one-half years old. With both his father and uncle working in motorcycle shops, it was no surprise that he would quickly develop a passion for riding.

“It’s really fun,” Calvin said. “I don’t know. I just like it.”

He began racing two-and-one-half years later; and in his first year racing, Calvin won a motocross championship and earlier this year he finished fourth at the Florida BMX Championship.

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