WHEN Dominic Pappas first came off his training wheels he was far from happy, but these days when he straps on his helmet and rides his BMX wears a big smile.
Now he is a member of the Bathurst BMX Club and while he’s only six, Pappas has displayed some impressive skills.
So much so that he's already earned the nickname ‘Dom-inator’.
Pappas’ mother Sara has also been won over by the sport, which she initially viewed as something her son might enjoy doing on weekend.
“He came to the try-out day at October last year and I think we’ve been at every possible day since,” she said.
“He got off his trainer wheels two weeks before going on this track and was in tears about it, but then he came out here and was so well supported. It was such a lovely bunch of kids that he just took to it and didn’t stop.
“We looked at is as something do to on a Saturday and he just loves it.”
The Bathurst BMX track – which has hosted national and Oceania titles since opening in January 2016 – is one of the best in Australia.
It does feature imposing start ramps for both juniors and elite riders, but Pappas is not daunted.
“He has no fear. I had fear, but I think my fear is unfounded from what I’ve seen, what I’ve heard and what I feel when I see him. I actually feel very confident with him on this track,” Sara Pappas said.
“I looked at it the first time and walked up and down that hill and thought ‘Geeze, it’s steep’ but he feels confident and comfortable here because he is so well supported.
He came to the try-out day at October last year and I think we’ve been at every possible day since.Sara Pappas
“The coaches make him relaxed and when he’s relaxed and enjoying it, he's less likely to get into trouble.
“The kids when they come down that first stretch here, if they are afraid they are walked through it with a coach. They have their brakes on until they feel ready to go and it just progresses.”
Pappas has already taken part in a number of club days and attended his first away competition, riding a meet at Penrith in late January.
It only furthered his passion and his mother’s respect for the sport.
“He won his first two races, he crashed in his third, and then came third in his fourth race,” Sara Pappas said.
“He was fairly tired by the end because – and this is the other thing I love about this sport – he had spent two hours with Anthony Dean, the Olympic rider.
“I find it amazing about this sport, a lot of sports, if you want to work with these elite people, you have to go on a waiting list and pay a lot of dollars.
“This was a very affordable and accessible weekend and they had a lot of fun.
“I’m amazed at how accessible and friendly BMX is as a sport. The genuinely want to involve the kids, give the kids as much exposure as they can.”
Pappas has now been entered into a national competition – his mother saying he will be happy no matter how he goes such is his love for the sport.