FOR much of his 17 years, Luke Bunnik has been on the back of a bike.
The Naracoorte teenager is this month's Scott Petroleum Sportsperson of the Month after his strong performances in the SA Off Road Championships.
As of last week, with two rounds completed and five to go, Luke was first in his class of the SA Off-Road Championships in his first season as a senior rider.
This continued on the weekend at Coonawarra's national and state round of the off road championship.
Luke was was the fastest SE rider in the competition and placed in the top 50 nationally, top 15 in SA in outright positions.
He is still holding the top spot in his class in the SA Championship after coming first on both Saturday and Sunday.
Making this achievement even more extraordinary is the St Martin's College Mount Gambier Year 11 student being the youngest of more than 50 riders in his class.
But the youngster takes it all in his stride.
"I get a great deal of personal achievement and self-satisfaction from racing," Luke said.
"This sport has a lot to offer both mentally and physically and it comes with its fair share of challenges which encourages great strength of character for me."
So far Luke has managed those challenges with aplomb and taken almost all before him with a host of achievements and accolades.
His senior form was preceded by two outright second placings in the J2 Class at the SA Junior Off Road Championships in 2011 and second outright in the JL class of last year's championships.
Motorcycling SA chose him for the 2013/14 MSA Elite Riders Squad on the back of his form.
Luke was one of three chosen from over 200 applicants for the enduro riders discipline.
Being a part of this squad allows MSA to support the riders with off the bike preparation for a racing career, which includes increasing a rider's knowledge in areas of fitness, nutrition, media and marketing.
With these tools this will help to enhance their performance profile with in the sport on a national level - a level Luke hopes to achieve.
"I will continue in this sport because I feel I have not come close to reaching my full potential," he said.
"My goal is to reach the top of senior competition in SA and to continue to the top level in national competition through to international."
In the immediate future Luke has been invited to join SA's junior team to ride at the Australian Four Day event in New South Wales in August.
He is also in the process of applying to the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra after being invited to join the elite sporting institute.
These are just two more steps in Luke's journey towards a professional career.