A YOUNG Bradford boy, who competes in motorcycle drag racing, has become a champion for the first time in his career.

After achieving a land speed world record at the age of nine in May, Alfie Barraclough, from Thornton, was able to extend to his list of 2023 accomplishments last Sunday.

Now ten-years-old, after going through eight rounds of enthralling and tense competition on his 70cc bike, Barraclough crossed the line in 1st place at Santa Pod Raceway at the weekend to be crowned the Straightliners Junior Drag Racing champion – becoming one of the youngest ever people to do so.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Graham Sykes, who is the fastest recorded man on a steam rocket bike, congratulates Alfie at Santa Pod on SundayGraham Sykes, who is the fastest recorded man on a steam rocket bike, congratulates Alfie at Santa Pod on Sunday (Image: Submitted)

Dad Karl, who provides safety cover at drag racing events, spoke of his delight having seen his son become champion.

 “I’m so proud of him,” said Alfie’s father.

“We knew coming into Sunday’s final race that he’d be either guaranteed the championship, or he’d be sharing a joint championship with Jack Taylor who eventually finished 2nd.

“Although it was only around 19 seconds in time, it was like a lifetime watching him come down the straight to the finish line because we didn’t know if he’d won or not. Thankfully, he finished 1st and everyone in the stands started cheering. It went from being the hardest thing to watch to being the best thing I’ve ever watched.

“I don’t usually get emotional, but I certainly felt it that day. To see him crowned as a champion was truly amazing. He’s so young and small compared to some of the other competitors, but he has the heart and determination of someone who has been involved in this sport for years.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Alfie Barraclough on his 70cc bikeAlfie Barraclough on his 70cc bike (Image: Phil Evans)

At such a young age, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Alfie hadn’t foreseen his success, but his father revealed that his ten-year-old son puts in extra work to set him apart from his opponents.

Karl said: “The extra effort Alfie goes to is remarkable, especially for someone who is at the young age of ten. He looks up to and takes advice from a number of senior world champions including ‘Bubba’ Myers (Cecil Myers) who will be sponsoring Alfie next season, and Jack Frost.

“He watches a lot of videos on these guys and looks for particular techniques that they use; the technique of getting off the line before the light goes green. It might seem a minor thing, but getting off the line that little bit quicker can be a huge benefit to you in this sport. Alfie’s dedication and drive to achieve is what makes him such a strong competitor, even against people who are older than him (8–16-year-olds in his championship).”

Karl added: “When he’s at a race Alfie is just so focussed and he knows what he needs to do to be successful. He doesn’t acknowledge people; it’s head down, helmet on and then ride. At that point, he’s in the zone. It’s phenomenal to see how professional he is at the line despite being so young; that’s what probably sets him apart from his opponents.”

Discussing what’s next for Alfie, Karl said: “For next year, we’ve already planned on getting a new motorbike for Alfie, which is not necessarily going to be faster, but it will be more consistent and better tuned.

“We feel that the bike will be durable enough to see him through until he’s 16, which is when the junior period will end for Alfie. It’s an investment in him and it’s an investment in his love for the sport. He’s clearly talented, so it’s about giving him as much support and opportunity as possible.”