Asher’s efforts take him to Europe!

Tauranga Enduro mountainbiker Asher Hart in action. Photo: supplied.

A Te Puna 17-year-old is one cog closer to achieving his dream of becoming a professional mountain biker after securing a place to race in an overseas World Series.

Asher Hart started riding bikes at the age of three and graduated to “mountain biking properly” at age 12.

Fast-forward five years and he’s in Europe this month to compete in the 2024 UCI Mountain Bike World Series in the Enduro discipline.

He’s gained this opportunity by placing sixth in the Men’s Elite section of the New Zealand National Championships for Enduro in Nelson on March 2-3. He competed in the same competition last year, in 2023, in the Under 19 category and finished ninth.

“Enduro racing is normally a race over one to two days but only certain ‘stages’ are timed,” says Asher, a former Tauranga Boys’ College student who graduated last year.

“These stages normally consist of three-10 minutes of challenging downhill trails; we then have to ride from the bottom of one stage up to the top of the next.”

Placing sixth in the Men’s Elite Enduro race at the Under-21 national championships gave him 30 of the 75 points required to race Elite Under-21s in Europe at the 2024 UCI Mountain Bike World Series.

Asher’s in Europe for the World Series, starting at the Finale Outdoor Region in Italy from May 10-12, then Bielsko-Biała in Poland from May 17-19, Leogang in Austria from June 7-9, the Haute-Savoie in France from June 25-July 7, Valais in Switzerland from July 12-14, and lastly Loudenvielle in France from September 6-8.

“I will have to race the first race in Italy in the Open category to gain the rest of the required points.

“There is also a chance I can obtain a wildcard entry, which would allow me to race Elite U21 at the first race,” says Asher, who has a weekly training regime of three 1.5 hour gym sessions and four mountain bike rides – with two being structured “interval sessions”.

“I enjoy pushing myself mentally and physically to the limit.

"I also want to be the best.

"My main goal is to become a professional mountain biker but I have many goals in place to help me stay motivated and consistent to reach this goal,” says Asher, who reckons “competing, going fast and having fun with mates” are why he fell in love with the sport.

In future Asher hopes to keep gaining experience, make new connections, have fun “and better prepare myself for the following season in Europe”.

Asher thanks Dvo Suspension, Deviate Bikes, Blue Shark, Black Dirt Collective, Mum, Dad, Dirt Craft and the Tauranga Mountain Bike Club for supporting him along the way, and offers a parting bit of encouragement to local younger riders:

“Have fun and stay consistent!”

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