A state champ and a great sport

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 2, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Back in March 2002, Jimmy Burkey Jr. was sitting in the stands at the Supertrack Bicycle Motocross racing track in Hampton. Nearby, his brother Dustin warmed up to take on one of his biggest rivals.

Displaying the humorous side of sibling rivalry, Jimmy made his brother the friendliest of wagers. &uot;I bet him that he couldn’t beat (the other biker) recalls the 21-year-old. &uot;I told him that if he beat the guy, I’d start racing.&uot; Their father, Jim Sr., chimed in his own end of the deal; he’d purchase his older son a bike if Dustin came out on top.

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Dustin did his part, tearing up, down, and around the track to win. Jim. Sr. did his, bringing home a new Redline bike for his older son. Now it was Jimmy’s turn.

Nearly two years later, he’s brought up his end of the deal – in more ways than one.

On the track, Jimmy’s been one of the more successful &uot;rookies&uot; of recent memory. He tore up bicycle motocross (BMX) tracks up and down the East Coast, winning races in Pittsburgh and New Hampshire, and finishing near the top in Pittsville, Md. and Woodbridge, here in Virginia. Over Labor Day weekend, he headed to Louisville, Ky. to compete in the Grand National races, competing with 3,700 other racers, and finished seventh overall. Just last weekend, he wrapped up the 17-and-over Virginia state BMX championship at the Supertrack.

But before that race, racers, coaches, and families of Virginia’s BMX community found out just how large an impact Jimmy had made on the sport off the track.

&uot;It makes a lot of difference to me when I go home and think about young men like Jimmy are doing,&uot; Virginia BMX state commissioner Dave Cecil told the crowd. &uot;He’s always been a gentlemen, and everyone always has good things to say about him. Even though he’s only been here for one year, he’s instrumental in helping our program along.&uot; He awarded a surprised Jimmy with the Virginia BMX sportsmanship award.

&uot;Jimmy has a very king demeanor,&uot; Cecil continued. &uot;He’s not just a leader; he’s a leader who doesn’t like to talk about himself. This award is based on a combination of competition and demeanor. When-ever I see him winning races, he always turns around to shake other riders’ hands and congratulate them. It’s important to have young men like him in this sport.&uot;

It’s a sport of which Jimmy’s glad he became a part. &uot;There’s a great group of guys out here racing,&uot; he said. &uot;I always tried to be nice to people. I didn’t expect the award, but I hope I can win it again.&uot;

He wasn’t the only young Suffolkian to bike all the way to a state title at the event. Dustin, who intends to rise past the rank of Novice to Expert soon, took the 14-Novice championship, and Zach Vann won the 10-Novice. The Delphia family took home a multitude of victories. Randall Jr. won the 9-Novie, and Maxwell grabbed the 7-Novice. Miranda won the 14-15 Girls title, and her older sister Jessica grabbed the 16-and-over award. Jessica and Miranda also finished first and second in the 14-17 Girls Cruiser championships (Cruiser bikes are slightly larger than BMX cycles).