In our second edition of our Hyperformance Young Gunz interviews we introduce to you, Tuhoto Ariki-Pene. Tuhoto is heading overseas as a second year junior downhill racer. After his 2018 attempt at taking on the UCI world cup he is now well equipped with the experience to take it all the way in 2019. If you met this character on the street you would never guess what he gets up to on two wheels at the weekend.
1. What events do you plan to compete in while overseas this year?
4 World cups in Europe - Vallnord (Andorra), Les Gets (France), Val Di Sole (Italy), Lenzerheide (Switzerland), and world Champs in Mont Saint Anne (Canada).
2. Who will be your travel buddies on your international travels?
New Zealand Performance Hub
3. What part of the world did you travel to last year to ride and race? How did this travel help you develop as a racer?
Mostly Europe, it was good to see the pace of racing that you have to step up to, to be able to race these World Cup events which put more prospective into my head about coming back and trying it all again. It can get real serious, it’s awesome.
4. The racing in the junior category this past national season was very competitive. How do you think this competition sets you and the other kiwi juniors up for the international season ahead?
Real good to have a stacked field of bros battling it out here in NZ, but it’s another step going over seas. Tracks are longer there‘s a lot of rocks and big drops but I think we will be sweet as just keep our heads on the right track and focus.
5. What aspect of your racing have your worked most on this past New Zealand national season?
Well corners, and speed. Trying to get the most speed out of every corner I attack. I remember when I was younger the corners were my weakness.
6. What kiwi riders inspire you to take your racing overseas?
No one in particular, but all the New Zealand riders have inspired me in there own special way. I love watching them all as well because they all have there own way of dealing with stuff. Weather it’s on the track or prep or training, yeah they all inspire me.
7. What is it that you love about Downhill racing in New Zealand? And overseas?
In NZ it’s just getting outside and into the trees, that feeling of being free. I love the speed, I love jumps, the people, where it can take you, from the good old Whakarewarewa Forest to the high mountains in Europe/Canada .....
8. What changes have you made to your V10 29er from what I can buy off the shop floor? How important do you think it is to race with quality equipment when you are heading overseas to race at the highest level?
Haven’t really changed much, I love the bike how it is. But its so important to get over there with a good set up. For me I want to know that all my parts, all my gears and my frame all are always working in a smooth condition; my Santa Cruz V10 is a prime example of that.
9. What international event are you most looking forward to this international season?
Really looking forward to racing world champs again. I ended up 7th last year so I want to bring more game into it this year to hopefully bring out a better placing.
10. After the first world cup who will be the one(s) to beat in the junior category this season?
Well a lot of the boys, but Thibaut Daprela and Kye A’Hern I saw ripping it up last year so probably them.
11. What is your main goal for this coming international season?
I know myself that I am better than I was last year. But I want to prove that for sure in my head but also to win a World Cup and also world Champs.