February 12, 2008
Tift Co. -- A teenager goes on a thrill ride every time he can, and his parents encourage him, even help him to do it.
At seven o'clock before the sunrises two teenagers hurry to a car parked under a shelter. "Bobby hurry up. Bobby!" says Morgan Mouat as she starts her car.
Every weekday morning, Bobby Mouat begins his day relying on his 17-year-old sister to drive him to school. "It's fine. It gets on my nerves to take him everyday," says Morgan.
It doesn't seem to matter to Bobby since his mind is racing about an upcoming test.
"Do good, cut some lights and win," says Bobby who becomes eligible for his state drivers license in about two years. But, he already drives, and drives legally in certain places.
Bobby drag races almost anywhere and everywhere and not too many people know he is the reigning world champion junior drag racing driver who spends a lot of time with his dad.
"It's exciting to have not only my son, but the rest of the family enjoys some of the same things that I have for many years," says Bruce Mouat, Bobby's father.
Bobby is a third generation racer; his late grandfather, his mother, his sister, and his father race.
"Oh, absolutely," says Bruce.
Bobby started racing five years ago at age nine, won numerous awards including a world championship last year. Besides winning, he's learned about disappointment.
"Not to be a sore loser. Don't get mad when you lose and everything because there will be a next time," says Bobby.
The intense competition starts and ends on the racetrack in a matter of seconds. Should one driver have a mechanical problem, other drivers and their crews will help repair his car.
Bobby isn't old enough for a conventional driver's license, but can legally drive a one cylinder, 45 horsepower junior dragster limited to 85 miles per hour, giving him a seven-point-nine-second thrill ride on the track, a ride younger kids want to take, like six year-old Ryan Barnes.
"I think I'll back him a 100%. He loves it. It's inevitable. It's going to happen," says Tammy Barnes, Ryan's mother, who lives with her racing husband in Brunswick.
What about a kid's safety. Bruce points out the drivers wear a fire suit, special gloves and sit in a protective metal cage.
"I'm more concerned about his well being on the football field than I am on the drag strip," says Bruce. "If he gives his effort, that's all we're looking for."
What does it sound like when driving acing?
"I don't really hear anything sometimes because I'm so focused," says Bobby.
He won the junior division championship at the South Georgia Motorsports Park, and has his life on the right track, too.