AT the start of the year, Bulgaria would have been one of the last places the Dukes family would have thought they would be visiting.
This, though, will be their destination following selection in the Australian motocross team.
Twelve year old Riley Dukes was named to represent his country in the junior 65cc 10-12 years class at the coming FIM Junior Motocross World Championships in Sevlievo, Bulgaria.
“I did not even know where Bulgaria was until Mum (Rebecca) and Dad (Wayne) gave me a map,” Riley said.
“But I do know Sevlievo has one of the best motocross tracks in the world.
“It is really exciting and to share it with the other teammates and my parents is awesome.”
Leading up to world championships, Riley will train with the five other Australian team members with the team ranging from Riley who is the youngest at 12 years old up to 18 years.
The team will be stationed at the Belgium training facilities over a five day period, to acclimatise for the Bulgarian summer, which is around 30 degrees plus, and set their bikes up for the conditions.
From there they will head down into Bulgaria for the event which will be contested over three days.
Day one will consist of timed practice sessions, day two will be timed 20 minute qualifying sessions and then the last day is race day (two 15 minute plus two lap moto events) accumulating points over both races for the world title.
Riley’s selection came from a very strong 2011 where he won an Australian title (150cc), was placed third in the Australian championship (65cc) and a fifth place in an Australian championship (85cc) all contested in South Australia last October.
Riley is continuing his winning ways this year taking out both the NSW motocross championships on his 65cc and 85cc and on the same bikes also taking out both titles of the Queensland Shell Advance Sunstate championships.
“It is great the Australia Motocross Association is backing these young riders,” his father Wayne said.
“After being notified of his selection Riley has stepped up his training regime, putting in a massive effort to physically prepare himself to take on the best riders from all over the world.
“His dedication for such a young kid has been truly impressive.
“It is something Riley and his brothers love and racing has provided a real family experience for us.
“The trip to Bulgaria is a just reward for all his efforts and talent and it will be something he will remember for the rest of his life.”
Riley acknowledges that without the support of SS Racing, LKI, Motorcycling Australia, Shop Sixty65Five, his parents and grandparents and the local and motocross community this would not have been possible.