REVVED UP: Belding’s Dayton Reeves prepares to compete in the USA BMX Nationals Feb. 7-8
VIDEO: Belding’s Dayton “Speedy” Reeves lighting up Michigan BMX circuit
BELDING — There are two sides to Dayton Reeves. The 7-year-old boy is usually a quiet, calm and collected kid who loves cruising his bicycle through the Double R campground on summer days.
But get him and his Red Line BMX bike on a dirt track, and you’ll see a competitive athlete who hates to lose and blows by competitors as quick as he guzzles down his pre-race Mountain Dew drink.
The son of Holly and Steve Reeves of Belding, Dayton has only been racing in the BMX USA circuit a little over a year, but he has already claimed the state championship title in the 6 Intermediate Class and is headed to a national competition in Louisville, Ky. Feb. 8. He is now competing in the 7 Expert class.
It takes 10 wins to graduate from novice to intermediate level. Another 10 wins earns a rider a ticket to the expert class. For many riders, it takes two to three years to advance to the expert class. Reeves, nicknamed “Speedy” by his fellow competitors, accomplished the feat in just over a year, having won most of his races rather easily. He started racing in November 2012.
“He’s done very well,” said Tracy Salisbury, track director for Thrifty Acres indoor race track in Greenville, where Dayton can be found most Fridays and Saturdays throughout the year. “He’s super fast. He’s, well, just like his nickname, he’s speedy.”
His state title earns Dayton the right to don the number “1” on his bike plate when he’s racing, which, according to his mother, is a huge honor.
“We noticed that he was pretty good on a bike when were watching him cruise around on his John Deere bike in the campground,” Holly said.
“He’d have one foot on the handle bar and one on the seat and just be cruising around.”
When Dayton turned 6, his father was curious to see how well he would do with bike racing, so Dayton received a Red Line racing bike for his birthday and got the chance to race at the Thrifty Acres track. He has been consistently winning ever since.
“Oh, he loved it from the start,” Holly said. “Now, when we go to the track, he dresses up in his gear himself, drinks his Mountain Dew and he hits the track before we are even set up to watch him. He’s there the entire time. He never wants to leave early.”
Both Dayton’s parents have experience in individual competition. Steve used to race dirt bikes while Holly competed in gymnastics. Dayton’s sister, Haylie, 16, also rides BMX bikes, but not competitively.
Holly said Dayton gets his competitive edge from both of his parents.
Dayton’s biggest competition is from Matthew “Trey” Pochmara of Lake Orion. The two boys have seen and competed with one another so much that they are now best friends. Dayton even attended Trey’s birthday party. Both have consistently took turns finishing first and second when they compete head-to-head.
“Dayton takes it pretty hard when he loses, especially when Trey shows up,” Holly said, “but he’s getting better at it, though. Now it’s O.K. to lose to Trey, even though they go back and forth. He’s crashed many times and has lost of scars and scrapes to prove it. But he hasn’t slowed down.”
Dayton is looking forward to competing in the national event, though, he is a bit nervous, according to his mother. He will be competing in several races among as many as 60 racers.
“These are the kinds of races racers really need to be ready for, but I think Dayton is ready,” she said. “I’m hoping he does well, but I hope he learns to just have fun with it and to be proud of himself. We are very proud of him.”