Pukehina motocross rider Flynn Watts, 13, has defied the odds to keep riding and has now linked up with the official Kawasaki NZ team for the upcoming season.
Flynn started riding as a 4-year-old, racing when he was 5, but within two years he had suffered multiple injuries that almost saw his involvement in the sport end.
On a trail ride at Pikowai, he crashed, suffering a head injury and ruptured spleen and was helicoptered to hospital.
He was out of action for almost three years - but he was only down, he wasn't out.
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Despite some misgivings from his parents, Debi and Quintin, Flynn managed to persuade them to let him start riding again.
"I started playing around [on the farm] and finally convinced them to get me another bike and got back into it again," Flynn said.
Things have not been incident free since then and Flynn has picked up other injuries but earlier this year he finished third in the 2019 Junior Motocross Championships 12-13 85cc class.
"He's had a broken shoulder and a broken arm but he's one of those kids who just has to keep pushing," Debi said.
After breaking his arm there were doubts about whether he was going to be able to straighten it again.
"But he did everything the physio said to do and 11 weeks later was back riding."
Flynn got his riding bug from watching his dad Quintin race and began riding on the farm. When he started junior racing it was at the Bay of Plenty Motorcycle Club's Awakaponga track.
Now he is racing most weekends at tracks around the North Island and will be in Taupō this weekend for the traditional season-opening MX Fest.
It will be his first season since being signed by Kawasaki after riding a KTM previously.
"He's been getting good results most of the year and got a good result at the nationals," Quintin said. He believes it was the successful season that promoted the approach from Kawasaki.
His first taste of racing on a Kawasaki was in Adelaide at the Australian Junior Nationals during the last school holidays.
He finished 20th overall but said he learned a lot, especially about the speed of the Australian juniors.
Flynn said: "getting to ride everywhere and hang out with my friends and just ride" were what he liked about the sport.
He does sometimes get nervous at bigger events.
"He's pretty competitive," Debi said. "If he gets beaten by someone in a race, then he tries to pass them next race. He's quite humble and passive and calm but then goes totally different on a bike."
Flynn is coached by Tauranga's former world champion Ben Townley.
"He's always at the rides, so he always checks in with Flynn - he's an awesome support person," Debi said.
Townley said Flynn had progressed well over the years he had been coaching him.
"He's really developed over those years into a real promising rider, culminating with a third in the New Zealand championships, which I think was a testament to him because he's worked hard and developed himself.
"His skillset has developed so much in that time, which is been a massive gain for him. His attitude is probably a major part of it for Flynn - he's a quietly spoken kid, but he gets out there and really gets stuck in. He's got a nice, calm riding style. He's not really flashy, he just gets on and does his thing and he's seeing some dividends being paid from it."
Townley said the backing of Kawasaki would help Flynn go further.
"Kawasaki haven't had any support or investment in the junior sport for a long time, but they are starting to push back into it and he's obviously the first rider off the rank and its great to see. He'll get some good assistance from that."
Townley predicts a top five placing for Flynn this weekend.