Mountain bike rider Hamish Dodd blitzed the field in each of the three mid-distance races in this year's Rotorua Winter MTB Series.

Winning all three races by margins of between four and five minutes has him marked as something special.

His potential has now been recognised with a major sponsorship deal and an ambassadorship with The Coffee Club, backers of the mid-distance race series.

Winter series event manager Tim Farmer said Dodd had ''smashed everybody out of the park'' in the series.


The sponsorship includes race kit, paid entry to events, including next year's winter series and food.

''For a 16-year-old kid from Rotorua, it's pretty awesome,'' said Farmer.

Apart from regular training, Dodd said there was no secret to him doing so well in the series.

''I train quite often and I get very efficient training with my coach, Oliver Shaw. I've been working with him for about two years,'' said Dodd.

That's about the same time he has been riding competitively.

''I've been mountain biking since I was about 6, but just recreationally. Then I got into the cross country side of things a few years back.''

Since then it's been a goal setting exercise.

''It's good to be able to set yourself challenges and achieve them. It is very much pushing yourself to the absolute limit and seeing yourself improve over the races and over the years.''

Dodd raced in the winter series last year for the first time and won the 14-16 years ''sprocket'' category.

He has also had notable success at a national level, finishing second in the under 17 age group at the national championships in Cardrona in March.

''I'd been doing relatively well in the national series leading up to it, and got a few bronze placings, but always had something go wrong in those races, so it was good it all came together at nationals and I got a second place.''

Dodd had been tipped off about the ambassadorship before last Sunday's winter series final round.

''But it was a big surprise to everyone else at prizegiving,'' he said.

''To have that help means I don't have to worry about which races I can do, especially if they are a bit pricey to enter, and I'll also be getting a bit more exposure - getting my image out there a bit more.''

Dodd's next competitive outing will be the Whaka 50 in October.

It's a longer distance than the winter series races, and new ground for Dodd.

''I've done a 48km race before, mainly on forestry roads rather than single track, so it will be interesting. I usually race shorter distances because they are closer to what I will be racing at nationals and Oceanias.

''You can go a lot faster and more consistent on just a gravel road, but on the single tracks you're always having to power out of every corner and up every little steep bit, and over all the tree roots, so it's a bit more taxing over the longer distance.''

Dodd is a Year 12 student at Rotorua Lakes High School and said he intends, once he finishes school next year, to focus on racing.

''It will be my last year in the under 19 category, so I am contemplating having a gap year and seeing how far I can go in that category before heading off to tertiary education.''