Fort Rucker Family member, quad racer enjoys 'thrill'
September 16, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Racing is about the rush of the ride rather than coming in first for one young quad racer here.
Austin Henderson, 13, son of CW4 Roston Henderson, 110th Aviation Brigade, has ridden all-terrain four-wheelers, called quads, since he was 7 years old. For him, it was a natural fit.
"My dad used to race when he was younger and he got me my first quad on my 7th birthday," Austin said. "I loved it. I would ride it every day and it just grew into being a regular thing for us to do together."
Over the next few years, Austin continued to ride and work on his racing abilities and ultimately decided he wanted to compete against other racers. His father said it was a bit of a surprise to see his son become competitive.
"I didn't race competitively when I was his age," Roston said. "It was somewhat unusual, but he's really driven to do it and he's gotten pretty good at it."
Each week the Hendersons try to get at least two practices in at Riverside Motorcross in Daleville. The track presents several challenges for Austin and he said it is making him a better rider.
"Practicing on a track with so many jumps and heavier sand really makes me pay attention more to what's going on around me," he said. "It's really great when we have races here because I have the home field advantage. I know this track really well and I try to practice as much as I can to keep myself sharp."
Austin and Roston competed in a Southeast Quad Racing Series event at Riverside Motorcross Sept. 11. While Roston had equipment issues that ended his day early, Austin went on to win the Youth Production class race and finished third in the C-Class race, which featured riders ages 13 to 16.
"He did really well," Roston said. "His quad is smaller and slower than the ones the older riders were using, but they still had a lot of trouble catching him in the turns and jumps."
Austin started in last at the beginning of the C-Class race, but took advantage of his quad's smaller size to take turns quicker and move toward the front of the pack.
While he didn't take the top prize, he said he felt good about the finish and is looking forward to his next opportunity to take on older, more experienced competitors.
According to Roston, the next competition for the father-son duo is Oct. 2 in Pell City, Ala., where Austin plans to compete in two classes again. While the home field advantage helped Austin in Saturday's race, Oct. 2 will be a different story.
"We're both looking forward to it, but we probably won't have the same track advantage we had this time," Roston said. "It should be a lot of fun and I think Austin will do really well. He's got a lot more confidence in his racing ability now."