One young mountain biker will be "in his happy place" when he competes at Crankworx Rotorua 2018.

This will be the fourth Crankworx for 16-year-old Tuhoto Ariki Pene who has already competed twice in Rotorua and once at Whistler in Canada.

Last weekend Tuhoto placed first in the Under 19s downhill section at the Mountain Bike National Championships in Queenstown.

But at Crankworx he will compete in four events - the pump track, downhill, air downhill and the brand new dual slalom.


"It's nine days of just pure bikes. Everything in my life has been about bikes since I was a kid, so it's a mean event."

Tuhoto began on a BMX bike when he was 3.

"I did that for about 10 years before switching to downhill. I came third in my first race and after that I just wanted to get better."

Having a race like Crankworx right on his door step has been a big help for Tuhoto.

"It's so much easier to race here and so good to be able to watch the pros.

"Here I have friends I am riding with and my family there to support me. They have been my No 1 supporters. If it wasn't for them I wouldn't have made it to a lot of these events."

Over the next two weeks Tuhoto will make final tweaks to his bike and get in a few last-minute rides in the forest.

"It's really good to be out in the forest, there's no greater feeling. It's pretty much my happy place."