AFTER coming so close to a major victory countless times, Brock McLeary was elated to finally secure a national junior title at his last attempt.
But only hours after receiving the cherished No.1 plate as the Australian junior lites supercross champion last month, the 16-year-old was told he had fallen short again.
McLeary went into the final round in Toowoomba needing to finish no worse than one spot behind title rival Wilson Todd, from Queensland, to clinch the title.
Playing it safe, McLeary stayed on the rear wheel of Todd to finish second.
McLeary was declared the overall winner on the night but confusion about the points scoring system meant Todd was announced on social media as the champion.
"I was cheering when they gave me the No.1 plate and all that, then to find out I wasn't the winner, I was pretty devastated," McLeary said.
"In the back of my mind I was sure I had won, but it was all over social media, saying Wilson had won. It kind of took away the feeling of winning, but it got sorted out."
Two days later, the points mess was cleared up and McLeary was reaffirmed as champion.
It was a huge relief for the apprentice motorcycle mechanic, who had finished runner-up at state titles five times and had a best result of third at national level.
The breakthrough win comes as he prepares to tackle the motocross nationals under-19 division and senior competition across that format and supercross in 2014.
"It is good to finally win something, being the kid who was always third and fourth, it was good to finally win something before I go into seniors," McLeary said.
"It's going to be a big step going from juniors to seniors and finding out what it's like racing against the big boys."
If support counts for anything, McLeary could be well on his way to much better results and achieving his ultimate goal of riding in America.
McLeary, who works for his father Jeff McLeary at KTM Newcastle, has Australian 450cc motocross and supercross champion Matt Moss as a training partner and coach and also counts Kurri Kurri-bred superstar Chad Reed as a mentor.
He first met Reed as a 10-year-old and again at 12 when the American world champion used training tracks at the McLeary family property at Buchanan.
"Chad came and rode my track a few times, gave me a few tips and then eventually blew up my rally car," McLeary laughed.
"We were bush bashing our little rally car and he drove it too hard and blew it up.
"But he's a cool dude, he definitely does all he can to help and you can't ask for better than that.
"He taught me how to deal with people. He has a really cool attitude and personality, it's really laid-back and he gets along with everyone well.
"That's what I've tried to take out of it. Try to keep everyone happy and keep smiling."
On the track, McLeary said Moss and his dad had been the major factors in his success.
"Matt's my riding partner and every time we ride he teaches me new things.
"Without him, there's no way I'd be Australian champion."