Young pro rider ready for AX Tour spotlight

Summerland's Brock Leitner is excited to compete near his new hometown during the Canadian National Arenacross Tour in Penticton.

BROCK LEITNER will be among the pro riders fans can enjoy during the Canadian AX Tour that will be held at the South Okanagan Events Centre on Oct. 29. The Grand Prairie native moved to Summerland nearly two years ago and is excited about competing near his new hometown. Penticton is hosting the fifth round of the Canadian National Arenacross Tour.

Brock Leitner said one of the best feelings in the Canadian AX Tour is the opening ceremonies.

“When you get to come out before any other rider and all the lights are off and the spotlight is on you and you have your own intro, that’s probably one of the coolest parts of the night,” said Leitner, a Grand Prairie native who moved to Summerland nearly two years ago and is competing in round five of the Canadian National Arenacross Tour at the South Okanagan Events Centre Saturday. “Being able to introduce yourself to the crowd by riding around on the track, kind of giving a wave, it’s definitely a cool feeling.”

In the opening two rounds in Sarnia and Barrie, Ont., Leitner got to feel the affection from fans.

“It’s sweet when you ride out and hear the whole crowd cheering for each rider that comes out,” he said. “Everyone is pumped to be there.”

He’s equally excited to ride near his new hometown.

“It’s definitely sweet. When I seen the circuit was coming to Penticton last year I was pumped,” said Leitner, 18. “It’s always nice when you get to sleep in your own bed, wake up the next morning and know that you’re racing 15 minutes from your house.”

Leitner said this year will mean more to him competing here than last year since he didn’t know many people. Now he has made friends, his girlfriend is from Summerland and he has his grandparents and family friends around to add to the experience.

Leitner is eager to have a good start out of the gate. He said competing against the top guys is tough.

“You just gotta put your head down and charge hard,” he said. “Try to get out there in front of them and hope that you can throw down a good moto. If you don’t get a good start your usually battling from the back of the pack. You are kind of battling with everyone. If you get a good start, then you get lucky, get to kind of enjoy being with the fast guys. It kind of boosts your confidence as well.”

Leitner’s best result this season is fourth in the AX Pro Class in Barrie. When talking about his season, Leitner, who turned pro at 15, said it’s been good, but added it hasn’t been great.

“I had a couple of up-and-down weekends. Still plugging away trying to make the best of it,” said Leitner, who rides for Kawasaki Canada.

Leitner describes his riding style as aggressive, but he can also be smooth with the ability to finesse his way through the track.

“When the situations come I can definitely be aggressive,” he said. “Make things happen for sure.”

He grew up idolizing Richard Carmichael and now he looks up to the newer generation of riders.

“It’s a pretty good feeling when you’re lining up to the people that are the best in the world,” he said.

Pro arenacross riders compete for a total cash payout of over $60,000, with over 20 Amateur classes’ racing for their share of $25,000 worth of trophies, prizes and series awards.

“We are extremely excited to be coming back to Penticton and the SOEC for the second straight year,” says Justin Thompson, CEO Jetwerx International. “Last season we had some of the most intense action of the whole tour inside the SOEC. With more teams and talent competing in 2016 it will be an edge of you seat entertainment for the whole family. “

To see Leitner and the rest of the top riders from the Canadian AX Tour, tickets can be purchased online at www.ValleyFirstTix.com, by telephone at 1-877-SOEC-TIX (763-2849) or in person at the Valley First Box Office (at the SOEC).

The doors/pit party opens at 6 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m.