Young rider Ashby-Coventry heads to Aust
Timaru mountainbiker David Ashby-Coventry is looking for to his first competition outside New Zealand.
The 17-year-old is heading to Australia to compete in a new UCI junior world series event on a track in Moama, near Shepparton.
Ashby-Coventry finished third at the under 19 New Zealand cross country at the weekend, so is in good form. He could have placed higher but crashed on a tree root in the second lap and went flying over his handlebars.
After recovering he made significant gains over laps four and five to finish only 16 seconds off second place, and 1 minute 6 seconds behind winner Ben Oliver of Rangiora, who is the rider to beat.
The technical nature of the course was also to Ashby-Coventry's liking.
Both Ashby-Coventry and Oliver decided to make a late bid to go across the Tasman after two rounds of the Australian National Series were given accreditation and offer points towards the UCI junior ranking.
Ashby-Coventry was unsure how many countries would be competing but he knew the Australians would be tough enough. "I looking forward to it, I like a challenge."
Oliver will a good travelling companion as he has experienced world events before, he said.
"Ben was placed in the top 10 in a world cup event last year, so hopefully we will be in amongst it."
Oliver has cleaned up the New Zealand events this season but Ashby-Coventry is closing the gap.
"I'm getting closer to Ben each race so that keeps me motivated."
The talented teenager took up the sport seriously four years ago and loves it.
"A lot of sports hurt but in mountainbiking you can have fun while it hurts."
Ashby-Coventry has also improved his bike over time and rides a Giant XTC, that retails for around $9000.
"A good bike also helps," he said.
Ashby-Coventry's main aim this year is to make the New Zealand team to world championships in Norway in August. He also likes a challenge.
"The harder the course the more fun - you need to be thinking all the time."
The former Timaru Boys' High School student is having a gap year before heading to Otago University. He is working at The Cyclery, and focusing on saving money and mountainbiking.
"They give me time off when there is an event on, which is great."
- The Timaru Herald