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SANTA ANA : Boy Pedals to Two More World Titles

When Larry Cambra enters Foothill High School next month, he will have an interesting tale to tell about how he spent his summer vacation.

Larry, 13, just won his second and third world championships in dirt bike racing at an international competition held in Michigan. On July 31, he beat several dozen of the best competitors from as far away as South Africa, Belgium and Australia in two separate racing classes.

“I really hoped I was going to win. I was thinking positive,” he said Monday. The tournament, sponsored by the Phoenix-based American Bicycle Assn., included more than 70 of the best riders from all over the world. Larry won championships for expert riders 13 years old, racing two different kinds of bikes in separate divisions.

Larry has been racing BMX bikes, which are specially designed for off-road racing, since he was 4. He won his first world title in Brazil two years ago, at 11.

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Three times a week, Larry straps on a helmet and pads to practice at the Orange YMCA BMX track. The track is where he first learned to race competitively, and he stayed with the sport “for the fun of it.”

Larry said he might never have won the titles if not for encouragement from his father.

“When I was little I had (discouraging) slumps, but my dad made me stay with it. I learned not to be a quitter and I apply that to every sport I play,” he said.

While he enjoys bike racing, Larry said he wants to eventually become a professional athlete, possibly as a basketball player.

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For now, he is looking forward to the possibility of defending his title next year in Colombia and basking in his recent accomplishments.

“Ever since I won in Brazil, it’s been my goal to win in America, and I did it,” he said. “I was just really happy that I won.”


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