On the rise

Like all school kids, Ciaran Naran is enjoying his summer vacation and doing all the things he loves to do: hanging out with his friends, playing soccer and riding his mini dirt bike.

Although he might be on a near-three month vacation from the classroom, he still has an action-packed schedule to follow.

Still, it's all fun and games for the 10-year-old Huntington Beach resident.

"I'm having a blast," Naran said. "I'm really busy, but I love what I'm doing. It's a lot of fun."

Naran has been juggling several responsibilities daily, whether it be practice sessions or workouts with the Huntington Beach Junior Lifeguards program. On Friday, he'll take a break from it all and leave Surf City with his family to embark on a 1,963-mile trip across country for a pair of motocross competitions.

Naran, one of the top riders in his age group, first will compete at the National Motocross Assn. Ponca City Grand National Championships that begin Monday in Oklahoma and run through July 31. After that, he's off to Tennessee for Loretta Lynn's 2010 Amateur National Motocross Championships, which runs Aug. 2 through 7 on the grounds of Lynn's ranch.

The two events are part of a competition schedule that will take the Moffett Elementary School student to Texas, Arizona, Sacramento, Las Vegas and Mammoth over the course of the next nine months.

"I'm really excited to be going," said Naran, whose goals are to ride super cross and to do the outdoor series with the AMA. "I want to win in Oklahoma and at Loretta's. I've been practicing hard, training hard and have put my heart into it. I'm ready to go."

Naran has been "ready to go" from an early age. In fact, Chris Naran might have gotten a hint of her son's love for adventure early on.

"He has always been a little daredevil," she said, recalling that her son began riding a two-wheel bike at age 2. "On his third birthday, we brought him a pw 50 (Yamaha 50cc motorcycle) and put training wheels on it. His dad would take him over to the school and tie a rope to the back and run alongside him. Before long, there were no training wheels. We then took him to the local track at Lake Elsinore and just let him ride.

"We always encouraged him. We never held him back. I always thought, 'boys will be boys.' Whatever he wanted to do, we supported."

Chris Naran said she and her husband, Bharat, first entered their son in local contests at Lake Elsinore and Perris at age 5. Soon after, he began to go desert riding. At 8, he started riding a 65 bike and won, Chris Naran said, "almost every race he entered."

He now rides a KTM 65sx and just started riding a Suzuki 85m.

"Just riding my bikes gives me a lot of adrenaline," he said. "When I'm on my bike, I just want to keep jumping, improving and getting better. I want to become a professional rider one day."

Ciaran Naran works with a trainer three times per week and has training sessions at Glen Helen, Race Town Motorcycle Park, Competitive Edge MX Park and Perris Raceway.

He is learning the art of motocross from trainer John Marotta, owner of XLT MX Training.

"His one goal is to be the best he can be, not just the best in the U.S., but the world," said Marotta, an accomplished trainer also known as "Dr. Arm Pump."

Marotta, who will guide Naran at the Ponca City competition, has won numerous titles as a trainer and has trained future pro riders such as Mike and Jeff Allessi.

"I train a rider not to just be good, but to be great," Marotta said. "You have to eat, drink and sleep motocross if you want to be successful and for a 10-year-old, Ciaran acts like a pro. He's been able to adapt pretty quickly to technique. He's one of the top riders around."

Ciaran Naran, who finished fifth at regionals in the 65cc division, recently stepped up into the 9-11 age division in which he will compete for the next two years. But, before he can enjoy any of it, he also has to continue to compete in the classroom.

His parents have one main stipulation for him in that regard.

"We have a deal with Ciaran that he has to keep his grades up, or he can't ride," Chris Naran said, adding, "Which he is very good at."

Ciaran Naran takes his grades as seriously as he does his motocross.

"I like school and I know how important my grades are," he said. "I know that if I don't do well in school, there's no riding."

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