Though he’s only been competing in the world of motocross for two years, Cody Ewen already has a lot of hardware to show for it.
The 15-year-old sophomore at Lamoille Union High School from Eden has excelled and won at motorized dirt biking since his grandpa, Lonnie Wells, first asked him if he wanted to try it out, including six championships this year at the C level on tracks like Rider Hill in Derby and Riverside Speedway in New Hampshire.
But the gangly youth with a halo of curly blonde hair is humble about his achievements, focused on the process and looking ahead to the challenges that await him. It’s the pure desire to win that gives him a winning edge.
“It’s the wanting to win and just wanting to learn,” Cody said. “When I don’t win, I’m not gonna lie, I’m not the happiest, but it’s part of it. You can’t always win.”
Ewen takes a remarkably mature attitude when it comes to competing, even when he’s in the midst of a race.
“If I don’t get a good start, I try to just take it easy. Maybe not take it easy, but I don’t push too fast because that’s when you crash and that’s not what you want. I try to take my time and work my way through the pack,” he said.
If Cody’s grandpa got him into motocross, the whole family has contributed to his winning. It helps that motor oil greases the family tree: His father, A.J. Ewen, does body repair work at Xtreme Auto in Morristown while his grandpa also has decades of mechanic experience and often works on his grandson’s bike.
Before a race, Cody follows the same steps to prepare. His father is there, helping him check and prepare the bike, making sure he has water and is in all ways prepared.
For A.J., competing in motocross is all about the community the family has found along the way.
“We’re a big family,” he said. “If somebody needs tires, we’ll give them tires. If we need gas, somebody will give us gas.”
The road hasn’t always been a smooth one. Cody has suffered concussions, a knocked-out tooth and generally been battered and bruised on the track. But he’s persevered and this year didn’t suffer any major injuries.
What Wendy Wells, Cody’s grandma, is most proud of, though, is the example he’s set for others. She described young boys at the motocross events asking for his autograph. His younger cousin, Lonny Wells III, and brother, Archer Ewen, are following in his tracks.
“Cody’s a great role model,” she said.
Cody has big aspirations for the future but remains realistic and determined to work through the path that lies before him. His success in the C class has meant that he’ll be graduating to B class next year, where the learning curve is a little steeper.
“There’s gonna be probably like a year or two where I’m bottom of B class working my way up because the B class is where the kids get really ... They go fast, let’s just say that,” he said. “You have to fail before you can succeed. I’m ready for it.”
Cody has sought advice from older, more experienced riders to help accomplish his goals. He plans to try to train down South, keep riding as much as he can, and one day aims to be among the top 10 motocross riders in the region.
No matter what happens, his family will be with him each step of the way.
“Even if we didn’t win, we’d still be doing it,” Lonnie Wells said, “but it makes it a little bit sweeter to be up in the front.”