Big hurdle for trials rider
World Junior Trials champs 'a step up'RICHARD DAVISON
He has tasted success and now he wants to gun for the top.
The young man in question is Brighton trail biker Blake Fox, 2012 Australian Youth Champion and one of Australasia's top prospects in the sport.
A niche activity in New Zealand, trail biking's global heartland is in Europe, where crowds extend to the tens of thousands and sponsorship and television money are comparatively abundant.
Having achieved at the highest level in the southern hemisphere, 18-year-old Fox now wants to head to the Europe-wide FIM World Junior Trials Championship this winter and test his mettle against the world's best young riders.
''It's a step up,'' he said.
''All the top riders come from Europe, and the best way for me to keep improving is to compete against them through a season, or for as long as possible.''
Fox hopes to stay in Europe for the full, three-month competition, subject to funding.
''Part of the problem is that as a niche sport it can be difficult to find sponsorship,'' he said.
Despite working two jobs and receiving ''amazing'' support from family and sponsors, he expected to struggle to raise the estimated $30,000 required.
''The longer I can stay (in Europe), the better I can get,'' he said.
''We'll be trying to get some positive attention from a factory team sponsor with our performances, with a view to raising a New Zealand team for the Trials Des Nations in September.''
The France-held Trial Des Nations was the ''world cup'' of trial biking, he said.
* Fox can be seen in action at this weekend's South Island Championships in Christchurch.
- D Scene