Six-year-old Malleus Simard could have a bright future in competitive BMX racing.
Since August, Malleus has competed in over 10 BMX races tallying eight wins.
Malleus’ father, Martin, is a single parent who noticed his son was becoming a lot more active last summer.
“He started riding his bike and his scooter a lot more. So I was looking at the facilities around North Bay to find and found that there wasn’t much of anything. Not even a concrete skate park,” Simard said.
Martin and Malleus took a three-hour road trip to Uxbridge, Ontario, where they had just built a pump track, which is a paved pathway with hills and banks that can be navigated using the body’s balance and momentum.
Martin says his son was “instantly hooked” when they visited the pump track in 2019. While there, they noticed BMX racers training on the pump track. After Malleus showed interest in racing, Martin signed him up for a league in Stouffville this summer, three hours south of North Bay.
The races consist of three heats where riders gain points depending on where they place in each heat. The track takes about 50 seconds to ride around.
In his final three races during the weekends of October, Malleus earned a second-place finish along with two firsts.
Seeing his son fall in love with BMX racing after a visit to a pump track, Martin Simard has since been vocal in his goal of getting one installed in North Bay. He gave a presentation to council in September outlining the benefits for the area’s children, and the potential for it to be a tourist attraction.
As a father, Martin has seen the difference sports has made in his son’s life.
“I see his confidence skyrocketing lately. Anything that he puts his mind to, he believes he can do it,” he said. “That’s good lessons for the future whether it’s sports, or work or anything that he does.”
And Simard believes North Bay could benefit from a pump track, allowing children to safely become comfortable on their bikes, skateboards or scooters.
“We need something like this. A lot of kids aren’t going to other towns for bike races. They’re kind of stuck. If they had a pump track built in North Bay by Canada Day, people would be busy next summer,” he said.
Simard told council the track he has in mind would cost around $500,000 and the city’s Municipal Accommodation Tax should be used to fund it. Council said that it will consider the suggestion during this fall’s budget process.
Martin says throughout the winter, he will be taking Malleus to other BMX tracks around the province to help the child prepare for the next racing season, where they hope that he can compete for a provincial championship.