Stiles West, a fifth-grade student at East View Elementary School, secured the title of ATV national champion with his recent performance in New York. The 10-year-old claimed his fifth state title in just six races in the 70 automatic, 8-to-11-year-old division.
Similar to Nascar, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), utilizes a point system to determine a national champion. Individuals compete in various state races that allow them to accumulate points based on their performance. In winning this past weekend, Stiles secured enough points to put the title of reach with two races still left on the tour.
“Last season I finished three points behind the leader for the championship and that was hard for me,” Stiles said. “This year I told myself I’m just going to keep my head down, work as hard as I can, and go as fast as I can, and it’s paid off.”
Stiles began racing competitively when he was 5 years old. Friends of the family encouraged them to attend a race at the Muhlenberg County Ag Center in 2014, and they have not looked back since. Stiles’ father, Todd, who was green when they first started, has evolved into quite the mechanic.
“We weren’t experts when we started,” Todd said. “We raced our heat race and left — 45 minutes later I got a phone call saying we had to come back and race in the finals. We’ve come a long way since then.”
The father-son duo, along with their team, put in a lot of work to prepare for these races. The team customizes the 4-wheeler for each race in an effort to ensure that it is ready for that specific terrain.
“My dad and my main mechanic always have the quads ready to go with rebuilt motors and full track set up ready to be tested,” Stiles said. “I watch YouTube videos of the upcoming track and start visualizing my lines and picking out passing areas and try to learn the track the best I can.”
Todd is grateful for the relationship that the two formed through the sport and is proud of his son’s accomplishments. What makes him the proudest is that Stiles maintains straight As in school despite having to miss several days for the races.
“Just like any parent, you get to live through your kid to a certain extent,” Todd said. “I never had these opportunities — we kind of stumbled into it and now it’s all he can think and talk about.”
Stiles already secured state titles in Tennessee, Illinois, New York, Texas and Indiana. The last two stops on the tour include Michigan and Loretta Lynn’s Ranch, which is the epicenter of the sport.
Crossing the finish line first has become second nature to Stiles.
“It’s awesome that the hard work I put in pays off,” he said. “[When I cross the finish line] I get so excited that I just want to jump off my quad and throw it.”
The youngster does not intend to slow down anytime soon.
“The next goal for me is to turn pro in 2027, that’s the year I turn 18 and will be allowed to move up,” Stiles said. “From there I would like a contract with Honda, and then start chasing the Pro National Championship. Just need to stay healthy and ride smart — that’s what dad always says anyway!”