Schools are out, summer is in – and it’s proving to be a time for some of our young students to shine in sporting events and special deeds!
The holidays are generally seen as a time for young people to relax and unwind ahead of the start of a new year at school.
Far from making the most of long lie ins and duvet days, some of our pupils have been out and about enjoying local and national successes in sporting events, raising money for charity and making their families proud.
Here at the Council, we are also proud of our pupils – particularly the resilience shown after a challenging period throughout the pandemic - and would like to share a few of their stories with you over the holiday period.
Papdale Primary School’s Megan Flynn is a young female motocross rider in what is historically a male dominated sport and scrambling her way to success!
The eight-year-old from Kirkwall is the only junior female rider at the Orkney Motocross Club but she hasn’t let this put her off and was recently was awarded the Robertson’s Shield and Arkh Angell Cup 2021 for her dirt bike efforts.
Megan, who will be going into P5 after the summer holidays, got her first bike – an Oset – in 2016 when she was just four. A year later she progressed to a PW50 and then in March 2018 she got her KTM Mini right before starting her first season at the club. She now rides a 2021 KTM 65 SX.
Despite a few falls or “Supermans”, Megan hasn’t let this put her off.
She said: “I have always liked bikes and have watched the motocross since I was little. On a race day I am very nervous for the first few laps then I feel better but the butterflies in my tummy never go away.”
Mum, Stephanie Davies, explained how it all came about: “Megan has had an interest in motocross since she was tiny. Her Dad also races, so it’s something that they both enjoy doing together.”
Far from being an overnight success, Megan has had to put in the hours of practice.
Stephanie continued: “Megan has had to work hard to get to where she is now, she spent her first season sitting in the lower placing's most meetings but we saw a big improvement by the second season where she climbed a little. She has very much learnt the hard way that it doesn’t come easy, and this year her hard work is really paying off. Nothing deters her from trying her best.
“She is incredibly determined! She takes on board the advice she is given and puts it into practice. She practices as often as the weather allows, we aim for at least once a week where possible, but sometimes we can go three times. Her confidence has grown immensely, she has her ‘thing’ that she's good at, and she is proud of herself for that. Being the only girl in her league adds a little pressure I think, she has had her eye on being up there with the boys since the very beginning and is delighted to be getting her name on some more of the trophies.”
The season is made up of points meetings and trophy meetings. The points accumulate and go towards the overall championship which is awarded at the end of the season and the trophies are raced for on the given dates throughout the season.
As a parent, Stephanie says she would highly recommend it to others.
“Motocross is by no means an easy sport, but it is very rewarding on and off the track. It’s great for self-improvement, discipline and fitness but most importantly it is a great community to be part of. As a family we have made some incredible friends and that’s important in a club.”
While Megan may feel a bit odd at times being the only young girl competitor there are a couple of ladies who compete.
“We do have Barbara Leslie and Kayleigh Swannie racing too and I like to watch them.”
Like everyone, Megan enjoys the thrill of a win, but top of the agenda is spending time with her Dad doing something they both enjoy.
“It feels really good to win, I try my best and it makes me happy when I get a win. I will definitely do it when I am older, I would like to start competing south maybe next year. The thing I like most about motocross is the time I get to spend with my Dad.”
Chair of the Council’s Education, Leisure and Housing Committee, Councillor Gwenda Shearer said: “It is fantastic to read of Megan’s determination and achievements in a largely male dominated field of sport. I’m sure she has a very bright future ahead given her obvious commitment shown at such a young age.”