Let’s pretend for a minute that you’re 12 years old. It’s Saturday night and you’ve shimmied up to the couch at your house somewhere in Middle America to sit next to dear old dad to watch Supercross. The lights are bright, the stars are even brighter. The crowd is electric, the racing addictive. 

And you want in. You want to be the next Ryan Villopoto, James Stewart or Ryan Dungey.

And you can be. There’s a YZ85, a KTM SX85 or the equivalent in the garage. There’s a track within an hour’s drive. Heck, you might even be lucky enough to have one in the backyard.

You ride a lot, you work hard, you do all the right things. You qualify for big Amateur races like Loretta Lynn’s, you go there and you win. People notice you. Team managers from teams like Pro Circuit Kawasaki and GEICO Honda sign you up. You keep working hard, you keep getting better, you keep winning and pretty soon you turn 16 and your friends are watching you on Saturday nights in the 250 Supercross Series. Two years later and you are the next Justin Barcia.

Okay we’re not naïve to think it’s that easy. But it is possible. The dream happens for some and it can happen for you. You’ve seen it happen. You’ve watched the likes of Wil Hahn, Eli Tomac and the like do it. In fact, the list is long. Virtually everyone in the 450 class followed this same well-worn path to stardom.

Now let’s pretend for a minute you’re 12 years old and it’s Sunday morning. Since no one in their right mind gets up at 5 a.m., you and dad turn on the DVR after pounding down a few pancakes and you start watching the Spanish MotoGP. Again, the crowd is electric, the racing addictive and the stars, even though you have a hard time pronouncing all their names, are bright.

And you want in. You want to be the next Marc Marquez, Nicky Hayden or Jorge Lorenzo.

Wake up, son… that dream might just be over.

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Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America’s Daily Motorcycle News Source.

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