Magnificent men and flying machines

RICHARD MAYS
Last updated 12:57 07/11/2012

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Feilding's North Street School getting a free wow-factor FMX show at lunchtime on Friday.

The school was one of 40 wider regional schools that took part in an online draw to win the display in their own school grounds, as well as meeting and greeting the riders and photo signings of New Zealand's first pro FMX team.

Freestyle New Zealand owner, Neil Dempsey was surprised at the high level of interest, but making the final choice was easy.

"North Street School won by a landslide. The whole school got in behind it, and we will be performing there this Friday lunchtime. It's about giving something back to young people. I don't think anything like this has been done before in New Zealand."

Neil, who went to school at Colyton and St Peters, is a keen motorcyclist and has always been a huge fan of FMX. He had been toying with the idea of setting up a pro FMX outfit for a while.

"I went from making T-shirts, and because I dealt with all the riders, I started organising events and eventually training and managing riders."

With a bunch of mates the 28-year-old has now designed and built a rig to transport his hyper-active motorcycle circus, complete with its own ramps.

"Setting it up takes about five minutes. We have been working very hard over the last six months to get everything ready and talking with clients and we are now ready for a summer full of FMX Action.

"Our portable FMX show is ready to go; the riders are in heavy training and events, shows and tours are already rolling in." Freestyle New Zealand made its debut at the weekend's A&P Show, and the home crowd get a second look at their aerial antics at this weekend's Monster Truck Show on at Arena Manawatu.

"We've already secured some large events for the next 12 months from fireworks displays and field days, to large event shows, some with well over 20,000 spectators.

"Our riders have all done extensive amounts of FMX shows and demo work for large car events such as Power Cruise, Rotary Summer Drags, and Big Boys Toys, and worked with companies like Jim Beam, Demon Energy and Monster Energy."

There are six riders in the Freestyle NZ team, among them Nick Franklin from Tokoroa who rides internationally on the Red Bull and X-Fighters tours. Neil also has a couple of hard-out promising youngsters Trent Garton and Brett Heron from Kaitaia who have moved to Palmerston North to be part of the action.

At just 18, Brett is considered one of the top freestyle riders in New Zealand. Neil rates him as a future Levi Sherwood.

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Also joining the team are Callum Shaw from Christchurch and Stephen Smith from Gore.

"We pride ourselves on being professional at all times and are pretty excited about riding, working and travelling together.

"After the weekend at Monster Trucks we'll be all ready to hit the road and become motorcycle carnies," he laughs.

"So anyone looking to add that X-factor to a trade show or product launch, sporting event or charity appeal, check out the Freestyle NZ website."

Freestyle NZ can be found at freestylenz.co.nz and on Facebook by searching for Freestyle New Zealand.

- Manawatu Standard

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