14-year-old mountain biker Rose to the top

FLYING HIGH: Ethan Rose gets some air during his win in the cross country race.

Darfield High School’s Ethan Rose was crowned champion at the South Island secondary school mountain bike championships for the fourth year in a row.

Ethan, 14, joined 270 of the South Island’s top young mountain bikers who competed in age groups from under-14 through to under-20 at Signall Hill, Dunedin.

The Coalgate resident claimed both the under-15 super-D (a blend of cross-country and downhill) and cross-country titles. He also finished second in the downhill race, which gave him a commanding win in the combined points.

Even more impressively, Ethan’s times in both the downhill and super-D were good enough for sixth overall. In his favoured cross-country event, Ethan was pushed early on in the five-lap race before pulling away to win by almost 2min.

The racing was made extremely challenging for riders with heavy rain, thunder and lightning making for very muddy courses.

Ethan has previously won the under-13 age group over consecutive years (2014, 2015) and won the under-14 age group in 2016.

After getting into cycling at a young age with his parents, Ethan is now coached by David Plew, who also coaches Commonwealth Games gold medallist Anton Cooper. Ethan often trains for cross-country with Cooper and the Oliver brothers Craig and Ben.

His hopes for the future are to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Cooper and to also gain a spot in the national mountain bike performance hub in Rotorua. The hub, which was created last year, provides training and development for both cross-country and downhill riders.

Ethan will now turn his attention to the national and Oceania mountain biking championships in 2018. He will step up a grade to the under-17 category at national level this year.