Following in his dad's footsteps pays off

17:00, Jun 23 2014
Downhill mountainbiker Mathew Gillan
FLYING HIGH: Downhill mountainbiker Mathew Gillan in action in the Hunua Ranges, Auckland.

Wakatipu High School's Mathew Gillan has made a good fist of his downhill mountainbiking opportunities this year.

Living in Queenstown provides Gillan with a variety of training tracks to fit him for competitions throughout the country. The rider with the fastest time wins.

Gillan's best win came in the under-17 class of the New Zealand Downhill Series.

The three-race series was held in Christchurch (Port Hills, finished second), Nelson (Kaka Hill, second) and Auckland (Hunua Ranges, first).

Gillan also finished second in his grade at the national championships in the Whakarewarewa Forest in Rotorua.

A wrist injury robbed him of a start in the Oceania champs at Mt Hutt in March. He bounced back to win the under-17's Dirtmasters' race on a Skyline track at the Queenstown Bike Festival in April.

Watching his father Stephen compete in downhill mountain biking events whetted the teenager's interest in the sport.

"He'd tag along with me . . . that's how he got hooked," Stephen said.

Mathew Gillan's three bikes are a G T Fury downhill bike, a jump bike and a cross-country bike. A road bike will soon join his collection.


The Southland Times