Livingston 11-year-old finishes 2nd in Junior Motocross World Championship

LIVINGSTON — Local sixth-grader, Easton Graves, represented the USA at the highest level with his second-place finish in the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme Junior Motocross World Championship in Romania earlier this month.

Graves was one of the eight kids selected to represent the United States in Romania. He finished second behind Latvia’s Patriks Circulis.

“Almost a crying moment”

“I thought I did well here in the states, but I did way better than I expected,” Graves said. “I’m pretty proud of myself, honestly. It was so different going over there. When I got there, I had expectations of maybe making it to the top 10 if I got lucky. Top 10 would have been really exciting, but coming out second was almost a crying moment.”

Graves, 11, who has been riding dirt bikes for seven years, worked his way to this opportunity. He said the experience allowed him to make friends from across the world.

“I made friends with kids from South Africa, Australia, Poland, and Spain,” he said. “I made all kinds of friends.”

Graves is now preparing for the AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee at the end of July.

Easton’s mother, Ashlee Graves, said watching her son gave her the full range of emotions.

‘Shocked and speechless’

“I was nervous; it was intense, exciting, every emotion a mom could have,” she said. “When you see it, and he’s in that position, you just pray that all the stars align, he doesn’t have an accident, and he doesn’t fall down. You pray that everything makes for a perfect ride.”

Ashlee said Easton’s performance shocked them, considering that the bikes used in the United States differ from those used in Europe.

“His dad was completely shocked and speechless. He and I both were shocked,” Ashlee recalled. “We thought maybe the top five, maybe the top 10. We went over there at a complete disadvantage because we race completely different bikes. They have MOD bikes, and in Europe, they have different rules and regulations. We were on their home turf and at a disadvantage at the very beginning.

Homecoming celebration

“He was racing kids with modifications to their bikes,” she continued. “His bike came out of a crate, which is how the bikes were shipped. The motor and everything was something like you would buy at a dealership. We were surprised that he was capable of bringing it to the front like he did with the disadvantage that he had.”

When the Livingston Parish resident returned to Baton Rouge, he received the star treatment.

“We had a huge celebration when we got home,” Ashlee said. “They had a limo set to pick him up in Baton Rouge. Then they had dinner, cookie cake, and all of our family was there to greet him.”

The 2023 Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship begins July 31.

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