When Calvin Sharp first climbed on board a scrambler bike he was at an age most people would still be using pedal cars. The youngster gained a taste for motocross when he was just three years old.
Now, 10 years on, his enthusiasm has not waned in the slightest. In fact, the young biker is preparing himself for the biggest sporting event of his life so far – one which could propel him onto the international circuit.
The 13-year-old, from Trondra, will compete against fellow like-minded enthusiasts from across Europe in the Honest International Youth Motocross event in Denmark this summer.
In past years the event has been used as a springboard for racing enthusiasts to launch their careers.
Calvin, a pupil at Scalloway Junior High School, has been picked out as one of the quickest riders in his age-group, thanks to the helpful tuition of former Grand Prix world champion Stuart Flockheart.
The fearless racer said he was looking forward to the event, organised by the Sønderborg Motor Club in Amstvegan, and was in no doubt of what inspired him to take part.
“I just love it to bits, really. It’s exciting,” he told The Shetland Times this week.
Calvin has already gained experience from competing in the Scottish championships, as well as smaller events in Orkney, which typically see racers compete against one another in five 10 minute races.
His successes on those circuits have helped secure him a chance to ride his 85cc Suzuki at the Danish event.
“Last year was pretty good at the Scottish championships. I got a couple of results inside the top 10.”
The Honest event will be a “more professional set-up”, with an entire day dedicated to qualifying and practice. “I’ve never really raced on this scale before,” he said.
“You get more of a chance to learn the track because normally when I go away I’ve never been on the track before, and you get maybe three laps to learn the track before you go out and race.”
Different sizes of scramblers are built for youngsters of all ages. On this venture Calvin will be riding a bike with big wheels – a 19 inch rim at the front, and 17 inch at the back. That is just one level short of being a full-sized bike, but he hopes it should be no barrier to him expertly carrying out the arduous series of leaps and jumps that will lie ahead of him.
Not to be out-done on parts, Calvin will be taking an entire spare bike with him when he undertakes the journey to Denmark.
In the meantime he is dedicating much of his spare time to practicing for the event, and can often be seen riding alongside his younger brother Bradley at the Staney Hill quarry.
Ten-year-old Bradley, incidentally, is already making his own mark on motocross, and competes within his own age-level at various events.
Their enthusiasm has come from their father, garage owner and bike enthusiast Alex, who runs Scalloway Motors and used to do a spot of scrambling himself 30 years ago.
“We’re looking forward to it. He [Calvin] is just going for the experience. There will be young bikers there from France and Belgium and all across Europe,” he said.
He added his thanks to MK Leslie for the use of the quarry, and to Davie Garrick of Gott for completing the trackworks used for practice sessions.
He also thanked Brian and Maurice Anderson and Jim Budge at Quendale for the use of their land.
Staff at the Scalloway school, he said, had also been “incredibly supportive”.