Napier BMX rider Bray Watties is only 21, his arms and legs are still healing from bruises and scrapes - but it's part of his passion and it's lead to an audition with Nitro Circus on Sunday.

Watties drew Taupo BMX rider and Nitro Circus legend Jed Mildon's attention when they rode together at Franklin Farm in Tokoroa – Mildon, clearly impressed with his skills suggested he audition to be part of the team.

The freelance rider began his passion at just six years old when he lived in Auckland and continued riding when he moved to Napier years later.

"The riding community is so small and everyone knows each other and everyone is just really supportive, that's how I met Jed.


"I'm pretty nervous but it's a huge opportunity to ride with the best of the best," Watties said.

"It's a mix of emotions because I've rode in front of an audience and used the big boys toys - but I think riding with the Nitro team is going to be a bit different as they have more of a structure."

Mildon on the other hand, was nothing but encouraging to the young rider.

"We have a good number of Kiwi riders who are training hard and got really good - there's a really high standard of riding coming through and if Bray earns a place in the show, this will only be good for showing the rest of the world just how passionate New Zealanders are about action sport."

Watties said mental preparation for the stunts was all down to practice.

"Your day starts from when you wake up, my attitude is completely different to everyone else. I'm a bit of a goober - I'm all talk, talk, talk and then just before everything kicks off I go really quiet because I have to concentrate. It's just getting that first jump out of the way and then everything becomes a bit easier."

Nitro Circus athlete manager Ricky Melnik said New Zealanders were starting to become more recognised when it came to extreme sports.

"New Zealand has such a rich history of action sports talent, especially in BMX, with Jed Mildon being at the very forefront of that talent pool. He is so passionate about his country and his sport, how could we not agree to this?

"Jed's best character trait by far is his willingness to help others be the best versions of themselves. Not just in BMX but in all aspects of life. He's a great ambassador for Nitro Circus, the sport of BMX and New Zealand."

Nitro Circus' You Got This 2019 tour of New Zealand comes to Napier's McLean Park this March 17 and AMI Stadium in Christchurch on 23 March - tickets can be purchased on Eventfinda.