Pittsburgh teen competes nationally as a top motocross rider

A 16-year-old from the Pittsburgh region is the second-best motocross rider in the country in his age division.

Gavin Towers is sponsored by Kawasaki and travels around the country to train. He defies gravity — shooting through the air, twisting around bends and bolting like a bullet on his bike.

It can be scary to watch, but not scary for him, even though he broke his femur when he was 9 years old.

“It almost becomes like your second nature,” Gavin says, “like driving your car or walking or just anything like that. It’s not scary, in that sense, really. It just kind of feels normal.”

It’s second nature for Gavin because he started riding when he was 3 years old. But he didn’t start taking motocross seriously until three years ago when he spent so much time practicing and competing that he had to switch to cyber school.

“The last year of school, I think I missed 40 days, which was crazy. I still had good grades, but it was just way too hard at that point,” he said.

Gavin, No. 15 in most races, now trains in Ohio and Florida and comes home on weekends. His parents also travel to visit him.

He starts his day on the track, does his own bike mechanic work, exercises in the gym, and then does his schoolwork in the evenings. He hopes to turn pro in the next two years.

“I don’t mind working out like that, it doesn’t really bother me. But working, working is not my thing,” Gavin said.

But riding motorcycles doesn’t feel like work?

“No, not at all,” Gavin said.

Race bibs and winning plates line the walls of his bedroom in Peters. In August at the Loretta Lynn’s in Tennessee, which is the Super Bowl of motocross, Gavin placed second and fourth in his races.

Gavin is headed to California for a month to test the five bikes that Kawasaki gave him to ride.

“If you go out and play a sport, that’s kind of what it feels like,” Gavin said. “And to do that as your career and to get paid for just doing something you love, it’s pretty cool.”