XAVIER Keilar has found a way to kick the pre-race nerves that previously hampered how fast he could jump out of the blocks.
Now the nine-year-old Warrnambool BMX rider, who goes by the nickname of Turbo, is hoping to use his new technique for a tilt at claiming the Australian title in Shepperton in May.
Keilar has taught himself some mind tricks to help distract his thoughts pre-race.
"When I get close to the start gate I think about other things," the St Joseph’s Primary School student said.
"I try to think about how I am going to ride the track and whether it will be quicker or not quick enough."
The new mindset got the tick of approval from the rising BMX star, who idolises Australian Olympic representative Sam Willoughby, at the Tasmanian titles over the Labour Day long weekend.
Keilar added the T1 plate, which is awarded to the winner of the state's title, to his South Australian number two and Victorian number five plates after claiming a victory in the 10-year-old boys class in Launceston.
He is also starting to build a strong friendship-rivalry with South Australian twins Thomas and Jacob Mills, who finished beside him on the podium in Tasmania.
The Warrnambool resident, who started racing when he was five in the six-year-old sprockets class, said there was still work he had to do with his dad and coach Mick to prepare for the Australian Titles.
His practice, which usually takes place at the Jetty Flat track, will involve gate starts and working on his race craft.
But before the Nationals, Keilar will head to the ACT Titles to chase another plate.
"I want to get as many plates as I can as I eventually want to go to the Olympics," he said of his ambitions on the bike.
Keilar is already planning how he will prepare and tackle the unfamiliar track in the nation's capital.
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