JOGGINS - The 2012 motocross season has only just begun, but the name Damon Burbine continues to carve itself deeper into the consciousness of Canadian motocross community.
The eight-year-old from Joggins raced two weeks ago at the Canadian Motorsport Racing Club's Josh Damery Memorial Arenacross in Springhill, coming in first place in the 50cc Division on both Friday and Saturday night.
Then last weekend he took his skills to the Quebec Motocross Series for the first time and came in first place there as well.
"We thought it would be nice to see how he would perform in a new atmosphere," said his mom Stacey Gilroy. "He was excited and a little nervous at the same time because it's a whole new scene."
Gilroy and Burbine followed two older racers from New Brunswick to Montmagney, Quebec where he competed in an arenacross event.
"We don't speak a drop of French, so they helped us communicate," said Gilroy.
Burbine has matured as a rider since last year's Atlantic Region winning season, and he's become more technical.
"He's starting to be a lot more aggressive in his riding, looking for good lines," said Gilroy. "If he's coming up on someone ahead of him, he's constantly looking to pick his lines for a pass, whereas before he tended to follow a little more until he had a really good chance to pass. Now he's setting himself up for the pass all over the track.
"He tends to stay focused and think a lot more about what he does on the track," she added. "He'll come off and ask if I've seen this pass or that pass, and talk about exactly what he had to do to pass."
He's also not taking unnecessary chances.
There was a jump at the Quebec arenacross that he took once and decided he didn't like, so he told his mom he wasn't going to take it again and he didn't.
Gilroy said there was another racer in Quebec who was pretty fast but Burbine prevailed.
"When he got off the track at the end, I knew he had much more in him and he said, ‘I was just taking it easy mommy.'"
The promoter from the Quebec Series told one of the riders from New Brunswick that he was blown away by how well Burbine could ride.
Burbine will continue to compete in both the Atlantic Region and the Quebec Region this season, with the ultimate goal of competing at the Motocross Nationals Aug. 15-19, in Walton, Ont.
"His biggest goal this year is to make it to Walton and podium up there," said Gilroy. "When he gets on the bike he says, 'I want to win Walton, I want to win Walton.'"
The Nationals will be the highlight of Burbine's season but he had a big highlight before the season even began.
In March he traveled to Toronto to see his first Supercross Series race.
"He was excited to see the pros at his first supercross, and he actually got taken around by Erin Bates from Speed TV to meet a few of the riders, and she interview him a couple of times with a few of the riders," said Gilroy.
The next stop for Burbine is the Mill Hill race in Kentville, and the following week he will enter the Quebec Region for the second time when he races in Riviere du-Loop.