At 12 years old, Cleburne’s Brock Walker is essentially already a nine-year veteran with multiple state and national championships in the sport of motocross.
Brock has been riding motocross dirt bikes since he was 2 years old. Backed by a strong family love and passion in the sport, Brock has high hopes in the motocross racing world — including another shot at the biggest amateur event in the nation at the Amateur National Motocross Championships at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn., on July 31 through Aug. 5.
In 2015, Brock won the Grand Nationals in Ponca City, Okla., in his first action on the 85cc bikes as well as a first-place finish in the 65cc in the 7-9 age division. Last year, Brock placed fourth in the 85cc race in the 9-11 age division.
Brock also has state titles on his résumé at the Texas State Championships.
“He’s won it every year we move up,” said Brian Walker, Brock’s father. “He won the Texas State Championships in the 85cc class in 2015 and 2016.”
Over the past year, Brock has started homeschooling to allow him the flexibility to better compete and train for what he hopes will lead to a professional career.
“It’s been a lot easier because my home-school takes about four or five hours a day so I get to ride a lot more,” Brock said. “I’m able to focus a little more on working out and training. I really want to become a pro and be one of the fastest people out there.”
“The thinking behind homeschooling was we’re at a level to where we’re trying to get to that next elite level,” Brian Walker said. “We did it to see if we could improve ourselves even better. We’re trying to make a future for Brock out of this. When he turns 16, he can have a career in it. That’s the goal. Not only that, but he loves it and we love it. The main thing was to try to get to the next level as far as competition-wise to see if he can run with all of the top kids in the world.
“School is definitely a big part of it. We definitely want him to do well in school. It’s just a little bit easier for us as far as travel, if we’ve got to head out on a Wednesday to a race we don’t have to worry about pulling him out of school. It helps out with travel and scheduling.”
Over the past several years, Brock and his family try to hit four or five big-time national championship tournaments and races a year across the country — all the way from Florida to California.
Another recent big change in Brock’s career is the addition of a coach/trainer — professional motocross rider Taylor Painter, who has essentially started a motocross academy in Cleburne.
“It’s been the best having Taylor work with Brock,” Brian Walker said. “Without a good trainer, you’re kicking rocks. He’s an ex-pro rider. He knows what he’s doing. Just by watching him, he can help Brock. He can say, ‘Try this,’ and they try it and it’s better and faster. We couldn’t do it without him.
“Brock’s also at an age where he likes listening to other people instead of having ol’ dad in his ear all the time. Plus, Brock looks up to Taylor because Taylor’s a pro and he still rides. Taylor also qualified in the 25-plus and 30-plus class for Loretta’s, too, so he’s still a good rider.”
Brock said he’s learned so many fine details and techniques under Painter.
“It’s been awesome having him coach me,” Brock said. “He’s taught me a lot. I’ve got way better technique now.”
With Painter’s guidance and instruction, Brock and his fellow motocross riders are on a dirt bike for about four hours per day, on average.
“We get up here at 9 a.m. and eat breakfast,” Brock said. “Then we get on the track by 10, ride from 10 to 2 then do about an hour workout. We usually run a couple miles or do a bunch of lunges and stuff. So it’s a lot of work.”
While Brock has several national and state championships in multiple age and bike divisions to his credit, he’s still searching for a top-10 finish at Loretta Lynn’s. His best finish in recent years was 14th.
“The goal this year is really to be consistent to make the top 10,” Brian Walker said. “That’s the thing with Loretta’s is you’ve got to be consistent. They do three moto’s each class. So the trick is just be consistent. We’d be really happy with a top-10 finish. We could get lucky and win it, but we’re just shooting for top 10.”
The format at Loretta Lynn’s involves three races per division with 42 racers going at once. Each race is 20 minutes with two additional laps after the 20-minute time period. After all three races are complete, the racers are ranked with all three finishes averaged out.
“They do that three times,” Brian Walker said. “Hypothetically, we could place 10th, then ninth then eighth, and depending on how everyone else does, that could put us in the top 5. It all just depends on how everybody finishes in the three different races. That’s why you’ve got to be really consistent.”
While his father is setting a goal for a top-10 finish, Brock is aiming a little higher.
“I’ve got to charge hard, get off to good starts and don’t ever give up,” Brock said. “I’m hoping to get on the podium. Or at least finish in the top 5.”