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Want to bank on a fast racer? 9-year-old 'Fort Knox' could win gold at a BMX world championship

Knox Reaves is facing off against 76 other bikers from across the globe at the UCI Cycling World Championships in Scotland.

EAST MOLINE, Ill — A 9-year-old BMX racer from Davenport is getting a shot at the global stage.

Knox Reaves started racing at the age of six. "My dad's friend told us to try BMX and then I liked it," he said.

The young biker regularly trains at the East Moline BMX Speedway and has competed at hundreds of races across the U.S., which has earned him a unique nickname.

"His name is Knox and he rides really tough," East Moline BMX Speedway operator Paul DePauw said. "It's just something I said one day, I said, it's 'Fort Knox' Reaves. That's who he is."

The nickname is embellished on Reaves' bike and jersey, earning him notoriety across the country.

"We've been to places that [people] were like, 'we know your kid, we've seen him on the Internet,'" mother Emily Reaves said.

While some bikers admire him, others may be intimidated by his skill. 

"We've had some kids be like, 'I'm so glad I don't have to race him,'" Emily said.

His performance landed him a spot on Team USA to compete in the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.

News 8's Jonathan Fong asked Fort Knox what his emotions are going into the competition. "Nervous and excited," Knox said simply.

However, just five weeks ago at a different tournament, his chances to compete in the world championships looked uncertain. 

"The fall didn't look bad — it looked kind of graceful from where we were standing," Emily said. "But then the medics are like 'yeah, his collarbone's broken.'"

The young racer is called 'Fort Knox' for a reason, though. 

"Even the next day, he went down and watched his brother race, his friends race," Emily said.

"Once I got my sling off I was just like, 'oh, I want to try riding my bike and I tried it, and it felt wonderful," Knox said.

Knox is not just ready to compete: he's also ready to have fun. When asked why he loves BMX so much: "making new friends and once you race something, even if you don't qualify, it's still just a fun race," he said.

Knox leaves for the tournament on Aug. 1. The tournament lasts Aug. 2-13, with BMX racing on Aug. 6-9, and on Aug. 12-13.

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