NZXC Racing has partnered with Torpedo7 to back a new development team on the New Zealand mountain bike scene: the Torpedo7 NZXC Junior Development program.
The squad is the brainchild of NZXC director Sam Thompson and it features eight up and coming athletes from around New Zealand. The team will not only provide provide professional race support, but also coaching, sports science services, athlete mentoring, and guidance from some of New Zealand's most experienced mountain bike athletes.
Thompson hopes to see the program help support the continued development of cross country racing in New Zealand to become a powerhouse on the international scene. "Through the program we hope to provide a pathway and inspiration for all young athletes in New Zealand," he said. "It is about showing what is possible and encouraging a high performance culture. We are excited to see what we can achieve."
Torpedo7 spokesperson Lester Perry said, "With our roots being in mountain biking, we're excited to get behind this professional setup, not only to help the team out over their race season, but to support the development of some of New Zealand's future MTB stars. Needless to say we're looking forward to an ongoing relationship with Sam, Cabin, and the team members, and are looking forward to seeing some podium finishes in the team’s new Torpedo7 NZXC juniors' kit!"
The team put on a weekend training camp in late November, attended by 26 young athletes from all over New Zealand. From the camp, eight team members were selected. They will race alongside their elite teammates in a variety of events across New Zealand, including main objectives of the national championships in Rotorua on February 15-16 and the Oceania Championships in Methven on March 15-16.
The team's "class of 2014" is listed below.
Nathan Johnston (Rotorua) has been dominating his age group for that last 12 months and is the current U17 national champion.
Eden Cruise (Wellington), 15, is already producing outstanding results in the U19 category. She is the current U15 national and Oceania Champion.
Harrison Mudgway (Tauranga) has shown steady improvement in the last year and impressive results in the last six months.
Jessica Manchester (Auckland), 14, is already giving riders in the U19 age group a run for their money.
Jemma Manchester (Auckland) showed promising results in the 2013 season before she underwent major back surgery. She has made a remarkable recovery and is determined more than ever to come back stronger and faster.
Aaron Carr (Auckland) is the current U17 Auckland Champion and battles in the U19 age group.
Robbie Bradshaw (Wellington), who comes from a rowing background.
Scott Barr (Nelson), a former MotoX rider, has an impressive list of results in both road and mountain bike races. Consistently, he produces lap times faster than most open grade athletes.