SAN DIEGO – Jaxon Henry has enjoyed riding since he was old enough to swing his leg over his dirt bike.
But in the middle of the pandemic, the 13-year-old from Crest decided to hit the throttle a little harder. Soon he found himself going from riding to racing.
“It was, ‘I gotta do something that involves my dad and me,’” Henry said. “And I like being competitive against other people.”
His competitive nature helped him win the Southern California Dirt Series points championship in the beginner-85 class in his first year of competitive racing.
“The things that he does, I would never leave the earth like he does,” said Jaxon’s dad Shane. “When he does, I kinda cringe because every jump when you launch, you gotta hit the lip right, you gotta have your balance right , throttle control, brake control, all of those things, be in the right gear. He’s got that connection with his bike.”
That connection has sparked an emotional tie to his bike as well.
“When you’re going fast, I don’t know how to explain it,” Henry said. “It’s just a lot of happiness and focusing and you think a lot quicker.”
Riders often use the term ‘throttle therapy’ to describe the joy and exhilaration they feel when on the bike, and Henry says he’s noticed that therapy has extended off the track as well.
“I definitely have seen a difference ever since I started riding dirt bikes,” he said. “My grades have definitely improved and citizenship-wise and effort-wise.”
“Just because he wanted to race, it has brought our family together to cheer him on,” Shane said. “So it’s really been a huge benefit to us and it all started with him.”
Henry also has started to catch the eye of sponsors, receiving discounts from several brands that make riding gear. But he sees the real value coming from the quality time spent with his family.
“Yeah, I definitely think riding dirt bikes brought us closer together,” he said.