12:39 EST, 4 July 2012
12:59 EST, 4 July 2012
He may barely be bigger than the tool of his trade but two-year-old Ashton Heron is already gearing up for big things in the world of biking.
The youngster from Bilsthorpe in Nottingham is off to Florida after scooping first place for his age group on Saturday at the UK’s first World Cup in the new cycling sport called Strider racing.
Instead of pedals young competitors use their feet to push themselves around a course and Ashton was the first to cross the finish line on the 125-metre stretch of track which is usually used to train Olympic athletes at Manchester’s National Cycling Centre .
Easy rider: Ashton Heron, in the black helmet, leads the way in the UK’s first Strider World Cup on Saturday – competitors use their feet to propel themselves along
The sport of Strider bike riding is already a huge hit in the U.S. where those taking part regularly finish the bumpy course in under a minute.
And despite his tender years bike-mad Ashton has already seen off the competition from riders older than him to win a brand new bike.
Having raced around his garden in his family home since the age of 12 months, Ashton was a natural talent in his first race.
Mum Tina Heron, 29, said the win for her son came as no surprise given his obsession with bikes over the past year.
She said: ‘He knows what winning is, he’s quite competitive. People can’t believe he’s only two but he is, he doesn’t turn three until September.
‘He is on his bike 24/7, as soon as he was old enough to sit on a bike about the age of one, that was it.’
Winner: The youngster is off to Florida after scooping first place for his age group at the UK’s first World Cup for a new cycling sport on Saturday in Manchester
Rugrat racers: Youngsters propel themselves around the track by pushing themselves forward with their feet
She said Ashton has been hooked on bikes since he started watching his brothers and uncles on a Motocross course.
According to Tina, when he saw their medals and a box of trophies at an event he was determined to get one for himself.
added: ‘He wanted to compete at something months ago and this was the
first thing he could do, he can’t race on the Motocross bikes until he’s
‘He finished a
good couple metres ahead of the other kids. None of them we’re going to
give him a run for his money. He’s more happy with his medal than his
The competition saw 120 children take part in four age groups.
Ashton stole the show capping off his win by being picked from a random
draw of the winners of all the age groups to represent Great Britain in
the Strider World Championships in Florida in October.
Bike-mad: The toddler got hooked on bikes from a young age and had been eager to take part in a race for months. In the future he hopes to progress to motocross racing
Tina said: ‘He stole the the steps to my caravan to make a ramp in the back garden and has already learned a new stunt on one leg on the bike he won.
‘Every time I’m on the computer he says he wants to watch motorbikes on the internet.
‘He got his first balance bike aged 18 months and everyone always says they never see him without it.’
Ashton’s dad Adrian, 26, said he was really proud of his son, who has refused to take his medal off since Saturday.
He said: ‘I registered Ashton for the competition and took him along. He loved it. He won all of the four heat races he was in which qualified him for the final, which he also won.
‘That made him the UK balance bike champion for his age group.
‘My son was the lucky one to be drawn out, so we are off the Florida in October to race for the world cup.
Young talent: Ashton’s dad Adrian, 26, said he was really proud of his son, who has refused to take his medal off since he pushed himself to victory on Saturday
‘We are so proud of him. I’m not sure it has quite sunk in yet both for me or Ashton.
‘There really is nothing else like this type of event around for toddlers and young children in the UK.
‘It’s these type of events that are part of the legacy of this year’s Olympics.’
Ashton was highly excited over his win and said he wants to win more medals.
He said: ‘I can’t believe I’ve beaten all of the other kids. I’m going on a big plane to America. I’m excited.’
The event was backed by Team GB’s Olympic BMX medal hope Shanaze Reade, who said it was great that children got to race on a track where Olympians train.
She said: ‘I’ve loved cycling since I was really young and am never happier than when I am in the saddle.
‘It’s events like the Strider UK World Cup in Manchester that not only give our youngest riders the chance to get on a bike and have a go, but even race against their friends on the same track that I train on.
‘It’s an amazing opportunity.’