News: AWG NCO's son takes first place in motocross event
Story by Lt. Col. Sonise Lumbaca
BALTIMORE, Md. —Vigorous riding, a good physical training regimen, healthy eating, and a great support network is what 8-year-old Alexander “Xander” Brion attributes to his win at a motocross event held Jan. 11 here.
Xander, number 455, beat out 15 other competitors in the Arenacross event. He is the son of Sgt. Maj. Anthony Brion, an Operational Advisor for the U.S. Army Asymmetric Warfare Group stationed at Fort Meade, Md.
“My dad helps me to exercise, train and ride. My mom makes me eat well; she gets my breakfast ready in the morning and she gives me healthy snacks. My sister helps me by getting all of my stuff ready for the races,” Xander said in explaining what it took for him to win.
“I couldn’t be more proud of him. He rode his heart out and he won,” Brion said. “His hard work paid off and now he’s standing on top of the podium as a winner. It’s a good feeling.”
Motocross is a physically demanding form of motorcycle racing held indoors or outdoors on paved or dirt tracks. The sport originated in the United Kingdom in the early 1900 and has since evolved.
Xander began his racing career three years ago at the tender age of five. He admits that there isn’t any part of racing that scares him and the most exciting part about it is winning.
“We went to a race in southern Maryland in 2011 and he loved it so much that after the race he said, ‘hey daddy, I want to get a motorcycle.’ So I told him okay and bought him a motorcycle. After that, it just took off. He just loved it and has ridden ever since,” Brion said.
Brion said that there is a lot that goes into racing besides being agile, adaptive, and mentally and physically fit.
“Racing is tough on these little guys, so what I’ve done for Xander is take a lot of the things that I learned in my 20 years in the Army—not just with special ops—but with my current unit, the AWG, and all of the different functional fitness and principles, and adapted them to a motocross training regimen that an 8-yearold can handle,” Brion said. “Obviously he can’t do some of the things that [Soldiers] do— but it worked out perfectly.”
While participating in the motocross events can be a fun filled family event that involves lots of teamwork, for a military family, it can be also a challenge.
“It can be pretty tough,” said Debra Brion, Xander’s mother. “There has been times when I had to travel with Xander to these competitions without my husband because he was deployed. Between transporting his bike, maintaining his training, and everything else, there is a lot of energy involved. But, we are a resilient family and want to support Xander.”
In some cases when his father is deployed, Xander is unable to participate when it comes to competing in the bigger competitions because of the travel and additional moving parts involved.
“Actually, last year I was deployed, and there was a national race that we wanted him to go to that he could’ve easily qualified for, but without the support network there, I was gone and he wasn’t able to go. So it can be difficult,” said Anthony Brion.
He includes his command in the support network.
“My command has been fantastic; allowing me to take leave whenever I needed to for some of the larger races and it just works out really well,” Anthony Brion said.
What’s next for Xander after winning this race?
“More training, another indoor race in Pennsylvania, and then a few qualifiers for the National Championship in the July and August timeframe,” Anthony Brion said.
While Xander is undecided about whether he wants to be a Soldier like his father or race professionally when he grows up. His short term goal is to do well on an international team he recently was invited to join.
“Xander is now a member of MX ANTIX USA. Hopefully this year he will get to compete at the U.S. National Championship and then later this year in the October timeframe, plan to go to New Zealand to compete in their national championship,” Anthony Brion said.
“I am excited about my next races and will practice so that I can win more,” Xander said.