Power and The Passion
Racing motocross and supercross is the ultimate acid test: a stern examination of mental fortitude, strength, fitness, resilience, courage and determination. And that’s just one race: those who compete over multiple rounds and seasons with unbridled passion and enthusiasm deserve massive kudos.
And then there’s another, more exalted layer, reserved for those riders who are the very best exponents of the craft. Cheyne Boyd belongs in that select group.
The dyed-in-the-wool Victorian has now been retired for about a decade, after a career that started with a breakout third place in the 2001 national 125cc motocross title (back in the halcyon days of two-strokes) behind Troy Carroll and Troy Dorron, and then went onto achieve runner-up finishes in four Australian premier class championships – two apiece in motocross and supercross.
He was also Australia’s best-performed rider in two Motocross of Nations events in the noughties, which was testament to his world-class ability.
That’s quite the off-road harvest, but you’d nary meet a more humble servant of his craft – one where he continues to give all his heart and soul, even though it nearly took his life at the end of 2020.
“I’ve been involved in motocross from such a young age; it’s all that I really know and it’s what makes me tick,” said Boyd, 40. “The passion has simply never wavered, and when people ask me about the big ‘R’ – retirement – I always say that I never retired from the competition side of it, instead it retired me. Mind you, I still had the racing bug even when I gave racing away full-time, but at that time my partner Caitlin and I were starting a family and then the opportunity to purchase a motocross park in (the Melbourne suburb of) Broadmeadows presented itself – so all of a sudden the priorities had changed."
The passion has simply never wavered, and when people ask me about the big ‘R’ – retirement – I always say that I never retired from the competition side of it, instead it retired me
“I am stubborn, though: over those transition years I tried to race motocross and supercross, but the business started to come first and I simply couldn’t ride at the level I wanted. But I was still involved and there was no pressure. Don’t get me wrong, though: I still miss that absolute buzz of pro competition and trying to outfox and outmuscle the competition. There’s nothing like it.”
A redoubtable racer without question, and he’s proving to be just as adept at the business caper with the 15-acre Park4MX venue, which he rebranded from the old Broadmeadows Motocross Park moniker. The ‘4’ is a nod to his long-time Aussie race number. “With support from loyal sponsors like Yamaha Motor Australia, as a bLU cRU Ambassador. it has been great for me to stay involved in the industry, and I also run coaching programs during the school holidays. Yamaha’s support has been massive, and it’s really just a continuation of the great relationship I had with the company when I rode for CDR (Craig Dack Racing) in Australia. Anyone can turn up and ride at Park4MX, and we’re currently open on weekends. We can have up to 300 people turn up for a ride across our four circuits – from juniors to a full pro track.”
As well as the requisite administration that is the lot of a small business owner, Boyd still loves strutting his stuff on a YZ450F – briskly, too, with a chiselled physique that doesn’t look like it’s added an ounce of extra carriage since his racing days.
My advice to juniors is simple: enjoy what you’re doing and the rewards will come. Don’t push it and be patient. It’s a wonderful lifestyle and I don’t know where I’d be without it
Boyd acknowledges he’s still lucky to be alive after a massive crash at the tail end of 2020 left him a in a dire situation. Twenty-two broken bones from his head to hip, including 17 ribs, three vertebrae and pelvis, and life-saving surgery to repair an artery which had ruptured next to his heart. In other words, he was internally bleeding to death, and needed 21 bags of blood to get through. Fifty-two staples were then required to sew his chest back together…. “My lower back is now fused, and I feel pretty good now,” said Boyd. “Obviously, I was critical at the time, but I can’t complain because they are the cards I have been dealt."
Boyd’s passion is coaching and seeing juniors coming through and, although he doesn’t forensically examine every rider and race meeting, he can see good times ahead. “The level of juniors coming through is impressive, and a couple I am keeping a keen eye on have a bright future,” said Boyd, who has three children: Brooklyn (aged 8), Billie (6) and Boston (3). "However, my biggest concern is a lack of supercross events, and supercross tracks are also getting harder to come by. Something certainly has to change in that regard.”
When it’s all said and done, though, the first step is enjoying your craft. “At the end of my professional career, I was racing for money instead of enjoyment. I now realise that mindset wasn’t going to get me too far, and it was a situation that had a limited life span. My advice to juniors is simple: enjoy what you’re doing and the rewards will come. Don’t push it and be patient. It’s a wonderful lifestyle and I don’t know where I’d be without it.”