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MailTribune.com
  • Born to Race

  • When Brody Simm finished his go-cart race at the state fairgrounds a little over a month ago, he didn't have time to savor his effort or even find out how well he did. Brody was out of his cart and hustling to the BMX track for another race.
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  • When Brody Simm finished his go-cart race at the state fairgrounds a little over a month ago, he didn't have time to savor his effort or even find out how well he did. Brody was out of his cart and hustling to the BMX track for another race.
    Jumping from go-carts to BMX bikes is something Brody does on a regular basis, just not usually on the same day. Brody made it to the BMX track on time and secured another trophy. That's something else he does on a regular basis.
    Brody, 5, is reigning state champion in his age group on the BMX track, having won the title in Grants Pass last month. The trophy is almost as tall as he is and brought his total to 39 in just over a year of racing.
    The fact that he took to bikes so young is an amazing accomplishment in itself. Brody, the adopted son of Edward and Monica Simm of North Albany, is still fighting to overcome the physical limitations brought on by the meth and cocaine that were in his system at birth.
    "He was only a little over 3 pounds when he was born," Ed Simm said. "His lungs weren't fully developed and he has some learning disabilities."
    The Simms have worked diligently to improve Brody's status. Regular exercises have been a part of his life since he was a baby, along with weekly visits to the doctor. Slowly he is progressing, and his love for racing has helped accelerate his improvement.
    "He didn't walk until he was 2, but he was riding a trike," Ed remembered. "At 3 he was on a bike without training wheels."
    A year later Brody was on his first BMX track in Salem, winning trophies almost immediately. All the success doesn't seem to phase him. He likes to win.
    "Winning the race is the most fun," says Brody, who still carries only 38 pounds on his frame. "I like passing people, too."
    He's passed his share, and he goes all out when he's on the track despite lingering physical problems. His hips and neck muscles are not fully developed and he still has issues with breathing.
    Every Thursday he's at the doctor's office to get three shots. He uses an inhaler before every race and his parents carry an EpiPen auto-injector just in case he encounters a problem at the race track.
    With all this going against him, do his parents worry when he's on the track?
    "Not really," Ed said. "He has a protective vest that's almost like body armor, plus padded pants and a helmet."
    Because of his size, Brody races a specially made, lightweight bike put together by Santiam Bikes in Salem, one of his sponsors.
    On the go-cart track, Brody is just getting started. He's always the youngest driver in his class but managed to finish seventh in point standings at his home track in Lebanon.
    It's bike racing that is most important to Brody. He's always riding. After kindergarten at Albany Christian School, he comes home and rides in the neighborhood.
    "He even wants to ride his bike after a race," Ed noted.
    Although Ed says there are still question marks in Brody's development there have been many people encouraging the family.
    BMX riders and their families have been especially supportive. Adam Treadwell, a coach at the Salem BMX track, taught Brody to listen for the cadence at the start of races since Brody is partly colorblind and can't recognize the color changes on the starting lights.
    "All the support is amazing," Ed said. "But it's been totally rewarding for us just to be with him. We're lucky to have him in our lives."
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