DESPITE reaching big heights on his motorbike, 15-year-old Lewis Monaghan is both a grounded individual and arena cross rider.

Lewis rode his first enduro at just five on a PeeWee 50 with the North West Motorcycle Club, has since participated in cross country and on track in speedway at Olympic Park and his attention now has turned to arena cross.

He will be in action this weekend at King of the Murray Arena Cross, to be held at Mildura Motorcycle Club tomorrow.

It will be his third time competing in the Easter event and Lewis is looking forward to getting back on track. He’ll compete in the class of 250 Juniors.

Lewis first jumped on a motorbike at just three or four years old, but it took a couple of years to compete in an official race.

But 12 years later, his passion for riding, combined with enjoyment of competing against friends and supporting all facets of local motorbike racing is still just as strong.

His introduction to the Mildura Motorcycle Club and speedway came from royalty within the sport – Leigh Adams.

The Adams family are family friends of the Lewis’ parents – Gary and Tammie.

“Leigh Adams introduced me to speedway, so that is when I joined the Mildura Motorcycle Club,” Lewis explained.

“And after riding there for a bit, I decided to try the Arena Cross track.”

It didn’t take long and he was hooked on the adrenalin and he hasn’t looked back.

Which is a good idea considering not only do arena cross riders have to tackle the race track, but they also have to negotiate berms and jumps, some of which will send the bike and rider six meters into the air.

As Lewis explained, there are a couple of ways arena cross can be run, but both have that common goal – to get to the chequered flag first.

“All the riders start behind one gate and the gate drops,” he said.

“Who wins depends on who gets to the chequered first depending on either a number of laps, or the amount of laps a rider has completed in the amount of time the race is determined to go for.”

This weekend, Lewis is aiming to finish on the podium, but he admits that isn’t the be all and end all of competing.

The teenager just loves getting out there on his bike, doing what he loves with his friends.

And his passion extends off the track too, with Tammie admitting he will often spend hours rebuilding and tinkering away with his bike in the shed.

Acknowledging it is a big weekend for Mildura Motorcycle Club, Gary recognised the efforts of the club and its volunteers, and said his family try and assist when they can, both through their business, Monaghan Logistics and as a family to get people to the event, because they recognise the importance of supporting the local club and their meetings, like the one this weekend.

It’s a sport they support, but it’s a sport that also supports them, allowing father and son the opportunity to ride together.

Gary, Tammie and Lewis himself agree that the beauty about arena cross, and motorbike riding in general, is that it caters for a wide range of ages.

“Even for us, riding motorbikes, you’re racing against your mates, and it’s more for bragging rights and making sure you’ve got them covered,” Gary chimed in.

“The thing is, even if you are Lewis’ age, or Gary’s age, they can still ride together, and they can also ride with friends in their 20s and little kids that are 12 years old,” Tammie said.

“If someone has an interest in motorbikes, it brings in all ages really.”