Ever since Brayden Holland could ride a bike, he had ramps set up in his backyard and spent most of his time outside.
While he was always on a bike, Holland said it started getting serious about two years ago.
The Southland Mountain Bike Club organised a series of training sessions with former New Zealand representative Marcus Roy and top local rider Ryan Cull.
His mum Richelle Holland said Brayden was cleaning up most things down at Sandy Point, but Cull and Roy said he could take it further.
"He'd been doing well before that but we were pretty casual about it. I don't think we realised till then the potential he had."
In August last year, his family got Roy in as his personal trainer.
An all-rounder on the bike, Holland has supplemented his training with track cycling at the velodrome where he is also finding success.
With coaching from Sid Cumming and Dave Beadle, Holland attended the track nationals at Cambridge in March.
This year Holland finished third overall in the under-17 category of the NZ MTB Cup, the highlight for him was when he won the Taupo round in February.
Holland also got a boost when EIS came to the party after nationals offering sponsorship.
At the King and Queen of Sticky Forrest in May, Holland earned himself a spot on the podium, finishing in third.
Holland got to share the podium with one of his idols, 2012 World Junior Cross-country Mountainbike Champion Anton Cooper.
"That was real exciting," his mum said.
"I was on the starting line right beside him," Holland said.
Holland is currently leading the under-19 division in the Southland Mountain Bike Cross Country Winter Series having won the first three rounds.
At the 8 hour enduro, Holland and his team won the under 19 category and came second overall as a team. Holland also held the fastest lap for the enduro.
At round four of the winter series on Sunday, the money raised from the event was to be donated to Holland to help him pursue a national title.
"The club has done it twice before, but normally they are riding out of New Zealand or something. So we're pretty impressed really," his mum said.
The biggest challenge for Holland working towards the next national championship is hill practise, because of the lack of hills in Invercargill.
It should be easier now as he is sitting his licence so he can drive himself to Bluff, his mum said.
Roy's current goal for Holland is to win the winter series overall.
Holland will ramp up his training so he is peaking in October for the final round, Holland said.
The only thing that is standing between him the series win is Ryan Cull, his mum said.
Photo and article courtesy The Southland Times