Northland BMX prodigy Luke Brooke-Smith is set to leave his home region for the bright lights of the Waikato to pursue his dreams of becoming an Olympian.
Luke, 11, and his family leave Whangārei next week to start their life in Cambridge ahead of his first year at his new school, St Peter's Cambridge, in 2020 as a Year 7 student.
The current world No 2 BMX rider for his age, also a talented footballer with the Ricki Herbert Football Academy, has made the tough decision to leave his friends behind in the hope it will aid his chances in reaching the top level of world sport.
"I'm a bit excited and a bit nervous, but I'm more excited," Luke said with a smile.
Luke's move comes off the back of a busy 2019 which was highlighted by a second-place finish at the UCI BMX World Championships in Belgium in July, his best result from his five appearances at the global competition to go with his five consecutive national titles.
"It's been much bigger than most of the years because I've been doing the football academy, so I've been doing football and BMX so it's just been really energetic this year," he said.
"Sometimes I just want to relax but then once you put in the training and you realise what you can achieve, it motivates you to do more."
Luke's appetite for hard work was obviously a main driver in his success. Prior to this year's worlds, the St Francis Xavier Primary School pupil would be at the local track up to three times a week before and after school, training through the wind, rain and cold.
It was all in preparation for his ultimate goal to become an Olympian, something Luke considers the pinnacle of sporting achievement.
"When I see people on TV doing the Olympics, I see they are enjoying doing their job, so it's what you want to do and you're competing in it which would be so much fun."
While he was excited to be taking on new challenges, Luke said he would miss the life he'd made in Northland.
"You don't really know what you've got until you don't have it."
Luke's father Phil played a huge role in his son's success. A former British age-group BMX champion himself, Phil was no stranger to the sport and knew a move to Cambridge was a smart one.
"The ultimate aim for BMXers is the Olympics and in Cambridge, that's where the elite train," Phil said.
"Waikato has always been known as the strongest region for BMX, so many champions have come out of that area and it'll be easier to have more people to train with."
While he believed the move south would be a good one for Luke's education and other sports, Phil said he hoped Luke could develop his natural ability continue his rise on the global BMX scene.
"He's got all the ingredients because he's got a good amount of natural talent, he's so competitive, his will to train and want to be the best," he said.
"I think with the talent, and the drive and the commitment, it just makes him a very good competitor and it's why he's had so much success."
As a 13-year resident of Whangārei, Phil admitted it would be sad to say goodbye to the place where he raised two children alongside his wife after moving from England.
"Whangārei has become our home for sure, a lot of immigrants when they say home, they are always talking about England, India or Argentina, wherever they are from, but here is definitely home."
With his son approaching seven years of high school, Phil is well aware Luke's path may divert from its current Olympic trajectory. However, Phil is determined to support him all the way.
"People change a lot in seven years and he'll decide on what he's more passionate about at the time ... we are well aware that hardly anyone makes it as a pro athlete, but it's always been his dream.
"Things definitely have to fall into place but I'd love to see him do it and we are going to back him and give him all the opportunities he can."