Cullman’s Axel Ward collects more hardware at California Classic

Cullman's Axel Ward took home the no. 1 plate and overall victory at this year's California Classic. (Photo courtesy of Crystal Ward)

PALA, Calif. – Cullman native Axel Ward, 6, is making a name for himself on the national motocross scene. The son of Chad and Crystal Ward, he began his racing endeavor at the age of 4 and in the last two years has amassed several race wins across the country, holds four Alabama state championships and also qualified for and raced the amateur national championship in Tennessee last summer. His father, Chad Ward, is a former elite amateur motocross racer who went on to earn his professional racing license and competed against the world’s best professionals in motocross and supercross in the United States and overseas.

“It’s easy to see where Axel gets his natural talent from. To say it’s in his blood would be an understatement!” said Crystal Ward.

Photo courtesy of Crystal Ward

Axel’s latest winning performance was on the other side of the country in California. The California Classic is one of the largest amateur motocross races in the country, held every year in April at Fox Raceway in Pala, California. When the gate dropped for the first moto, Ward got off to a rough start and had to fight for position as the laps wound down. Finally, with his never quit attitude, he caught and passed the early leader and never looked back as he accelerated to the checkered flag and captured the win. After some rest, some nourishment and hydration, Ward lined up behind the gate for the second moto.

He was all business; his confidence was intense, and he was ready for a new battle. When the starter’s card turned sideways, his focus shifted to the starting gate, eyes narrowed, looking for the slightest flinch of the steel gate so he could launch his machine. From the time the gate slammed into the dirt, Ward commanded the field of competitors, pulling a two-bike lead headed into the first turn. From there, he led the race, unchallenged all the way to the checkered flag, taking yet another moto win and securing the overall victory, claiming the title and the number one plate.

Photo courtesy of Crystal Ward

It’s not all dirt bikes, however, as this young athlete is enrolled in Kindergarten at Cullman City Primary School and is doing well. His parents ensure that academics are a priority and no assignment is missed due to racing. Even while on the road, homework is completed before going to bed. Axel’s other interests are Karate, soccer and basketball and of course playing with his friends.

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