Bike theft a blow for BMX competitor
A stolen bike has meant a huge setback for BMX World Championships contender Jamie Small of Stonefields.
The custom-built bike was taken from the 20-year-old's locked van in Onehunga late on February 16 - the same day Mr Small learned he'd qualified for the world champs.
It will be his first time at the competition and he's desperate to get his bike back before then.
"I just want to be riding now because your skills wither really fast. It's a skill-dependent sport and it's all muscle memory," he says.
"The top guys basically live at the track and that's what I have been trying to do."
Mr Small built the $5000 bike from scratch, sourcing most of the parts from overseas.
He says the shiny BMX bike will stand out like a "pink elephant" on the streets.
"It's literally one of a kind. Pretty much every single part is rare. It's probably the only thing of worth that I own."
He is offering a reward of $500 for any information that leads to the bike's recovery.
Mr Small says BMX racing has been his life since he was a 4-year-old (see him in action in the video below).
"I have raced every single year since I was six."
He needs to compete in the nationals in March to retain his qualification for the world champs in July - a feat that will be more difficult on an unknown bike.
He is trying to quickly build a new bike for the competition in case his is not recovered.
He rides for East City BMX Club in St Johns and has received a lot of support from his biking buddies.
"Everyone knows each other riding and racing together all the way through. Our club's like a family."
Mr Small is asking members of the public to contact the police directly if they see his bike.
Phone the anonymous Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111 with any information.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Should we raise the retirement age?