RJ Vargo has been racing the BMX circuit since he was 8 years old. Now 23, he's one of the best in the world, literally. The Exeter-native is competing in the BMX World Championships next week.
"Closer it comes, the more it hits me," Vargo said. "I've never been to a race this big before. I'm racing people from Curacao, Bruba I saw a few, France, Belgium, all over the place.">
Vargo honed his skills here at the Cedar BMX Park in Newton, learning from riders that he looked up to. Now the student is the master.
"Just knowing that these kids know that they can come to me for help," Vargo said. "If they need to learn anything with riding or just any advice outside the track, you know? It's a good feeling."
Vargo is in a class with 99 other riders, but only a third of those will suit up for Team USA. Vargo is one of them.
"That really means a lot to me," Vargo's mother, Candy Rosencrance said. "I'm not sure if he understands the extent, but I, being a veteran, especially, it really means a lot to me, but we're proud regardless of what happens."
And it's not just mom. There's an entire, local BMX community backing RJ.
"The volunteers from the track have raised all the money he needs to send him to South Carolina to compete," Rosencrance said. "RJ's a really humble guy and I think this really touched him."
"I really feel them, you know?" Vargo said. "It's just as much a race for them as it is for me."
"We're extra proud because he's going to be wearing the track name, Cedar BMX, on his USA jerseys," Rosencrance said. "He had offers of sponsorships and all, but he said no, he's going to ride for the track."
Because after 15 years, it means that much to him and so would placing high in the biggest race of his life.
"It is the worlds. So, it really would mean the world," Vargo said.
Officially, it's the UCI World Championships and they're this Tuesday in South Carolina.