It’s almost time to celebrate Father’s Day, and what better way than to catch up with new dad, Victor Picoto Jr, who tells us what it’s like to build an empire while managing both a two-year-old and a two-month-old!
Victor grew up in Mbombela, living the ideal little boy’s life. “My childhood was like no other!” he smiles, “Seriously, it was any child’s dream. I started racing motocross at the tender age of five; it was all I wanted to do, what I dreamt of doing. It’s everything my childhood was about – going with my parents to the races, riding on the weekends and travelling all over the country to watch or compete in the different events. My brother and I were super competitive, which helped us to push each other to new boundaries and made for good racing.”
This was only the start for Victor, who went on to race professionally when he left school. He moved to Belgium and raced for the KTM Diga racing team. For seven years in Germany he continued his career, racing in the World Championship, European Championship and German Championship, after which he decided to come back to South Africa. “I hadn’t made it into the top 10 in the world by the age of 25, which is old for motocross, and I wanted to reunite with my family, so I came home,” he says.
It was a good thing he did, because shortly afterwards, he met his future wife, Raylene, at Innibos. He laughs and says, “It’s such a funny story! Raylene and my birthdays are on the same day. We met just six years ago just before Innibos, shortly after our birthday. I had actually known her for ages, from my early racing days, as I used to race with her brother! We dated for two years before I proposed to her in Ballito, and we got married a year later.”
The couple travelled to Vietnam shortly afterwards, exploring the caves, and then went on to Australia’s Gold Coast. A month later they found out Raylene was pregnant with Grayson, who has just turned two. The latest addition is baby Brooklyn, and at the tender age of two months, she already has her dad wrapped around her tiny little finger. Grayson and Brooklyn are the apple of Victor’s eye, evidenced by his absolute delight when he talks about or interacts with them.
“My little G,” he laughs,” is two and full of beans! He is the love of my life; I’m enjoying him so much. He is such a little character and the older he gets the more love he has to give. He takes so much joy in everything around him, he loves jumping on the trampoline and playing with balls, oh, and he loves tools, especially screwdrivers. And his favourite food is pasta! My little Brooklyn is an angel. She is much better behaved than her big brother! She’s the first girl in our family, which is definitely something new to get used to, but we love every moment of it.”
Along with being a mum to Grayson and Brooklyn, Raylene is a huge help to Victor in his current endeavour, which is to get his NPC (National Physique Committee) Pro Card. Massively dedicated to his cause, Victor trains twice a day, following a strict diet and exercise regime. “When I came back from Germany I was overweight and wanted to get back into shape,” he says. “CrossFit had just started, and that was the direction I wanted to go in, but the injuries derived from it just didn’t do it justice for me. I started bodybuilding to achieve my goal of a better body, and found I had a love and passion for it.”
Victor admits that it isn’t an easy road to walk, and dedication and self-control are the name of the game. “I do miss the odd glass of red wine,” he laughs, “but every calorie counts and my willingness to succeed beats the fleeting longing for a glass of wine hands down. And Raylene has been super supportive, especially before we had the bambinos,” he smiles. “She’s found her groove, she’s is very involved with the filming side, recording all my YouTube videos and keeping my photographic record up to date.”
Now that the bambinos are here, life may have changed for the couple, but they are up for the challenge and Victor is quite sure on the way forward regarding his children. “It takes responsibility and commitment to raise two children,” he says. “You have to ensure that you look out for them, but at the same time not be overprotective. You need to be able to discipline them effectively, but not be too hard on them.
You need to always maintain an awareness of what sort of future you create for them, what habits you teach them, what you allow them to get away with and what you won’t stand for, the friends they choose, the goals they want to reach and the opportunity to give them what they want, but still make them work hard for it. You also need to balance being there for them, but then sacrifice spending time with them, to make sure you have a career to support them later. All of these things need to be taken into consideration.
“But having them in my life has changed everything; I’ll never see myself in the same way again. It’s about the love I have for them, the role model I want to be for them, the dad I want to be when I fetch them from school, do things or go places with them.” The Picotos are also big on family time, and with Brooklyn being so young, quite a lot of it is spent bonding at home. They also don’t want to take any chances with Covid, so family time is pretty much bound to the house at the moment, but they love taking the kids over to Victor’s parents for a braai, or spending time with friends at Vygeboom Dam.
It sounds like Victor has his hands full. Along with the journey to get his pro card, he is also focused on building up his business, DIGIT Nelspruit, which provides money-saving solutions, vehicle tracking, fleet management control, CCTV, vehicle camera systems and electrical fencing. All this and still being the best dad he can be is a tall order, but with his lovely Raylene at his side, and Grayson and Brooklyn cheering from the sidelines, we have no doubt he will attain his goals and then some. This dad is definitely one to watch!
To find out more about Victor, check out Victor Picoto Fitness on YouTube
Photographer: Tanya Erasmus