Signing up with Yeti NZ is a dream come true for Daniel Franks – not only does the 16-year-old BMX and downhill mountain bike racer get access to the marque's quality BMX and downhill race bikes, but he benefits from the guidance of Olympian Kashi Leuchs.
Franks, of Christchurch, has big ambitions and one of those is to represent New Zealand at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
"The Olympics is the pinnacle of any athlete's career and it's super to see a young athlete like Daniel setting his goals so highly. I am stoked to be in a position to help him in any way I can," said Leuchs (31), of Dunedin.
Leuchs contested three Olympics in cross-country mountain biking and now heads the company that distributes Yeti bicycles in New Zealand.
"While the sport of BMX is different, the pressure and commitment is the same," Leuchs said.
"It's my life's dream and ambition to represent NZ at the highest level and it's amazing to now have support from someone who has been there and done that to help me along the way," Franks said.
Franks was among a group of high performance athletes recently selected for a two-week training camp in Europe, which will take in European rounds and the second Super Cross race of the year in Copenhagen.
Alongside his BMX ambition, Franks also has ambition in downhill racing where he has steadily earned a reputation as one of the most promising junior riders in the country.
"My goal is to compete at World Cup level – that is the pinnacle of downhill racing right now and New Zealanders like Sam Blenkinsop have proved that Kiwis can make it to the top of the sport – I plan to follow his lead," Franks said.
"BMX and downhill are very different sports, but the skills learnt in each really help the other," he said.
Franks is quick to acknowledge the support he has had from Doctor Bike – a servicing centre in Woolston, Christcurch, New Zealand, run by Peter Page. Page and Doctor Bike will continue to provide guidance and servicing for Franks and his Yeti fleet.
"Doctor Bike has been a big help behind my successes so far – I wouldn't be here today without the help I've received from Peter," Franks said.
Page is equally excited to see opportunities arise for Franks.
"It has always been part of the Doctor Bike plan to take young riders and to do the best for them and it's great to see Daniel given an opportunity beyond me to pursue his goal of being an Olympic and world champion," Page said.
Franks hopes to make two world champs in 2010: the BMX World Championships to be held at the end of July in South Africa and the Mountain Bike World Championships to be held at the end of August in Canada.