Flying Kiwi ready to take on the best
November 18, 2002
High flying Kiwi freestyle moto-x (FMX) rider Nick Franklin gets a great opportunity to demonstrate what he’s made of when he takes on two of the world’s best in Wellington next week (November 23 & 24).
In the biggest competition demo of its kind in New Zealand, Franklin and three other Kiwis meet Drake McElroy from the US and Australia’s Noel Cotter at the Jim Beam-sponsored FMX section of the Vodafone Planet X Games.
While Franklin is tipped as the New Zealand FMX rider to watch, McElroy has a huge following in his homeland and won a bronze at the 2002 X Games in the States. The X Games are the equivalent of the FMX Olympics.
Franklin, Cotter and McElroy are joined by other Kiwi riders Luke Price, Rhys Dulieu and Tim Watson in next weekend’s event.
Planet X organiser John du Vernet from Australia says everyone will be watching how well the 22 year old from Tokoroa does against the overseas riders.
“The Kiwis are certainly making their mark, there’s no doubt,” du Vernet says. “I reckon Franklin is the one to watch and, as long as he can get the sponsorship, he has what it takes to make a mark on the best in the USA.”
Mr du Vernet is project manager for the annual Planet X games in Australia, an event that attracts more than 20,000 spectators as well as US sponsors who scout for Australasian talent to join the high-powered American circuit.
Franklin’s specialty is the ‘dead body’ or no-handed superman that not a lot of riders can pull off. He says that helps in competitions.
The Jim Beam-sponsored riders are competing in a demo of one of the world’s fastest growing X-treme sports. Riders gun their specially-prepared 250cc motocross bikes up and over wooden ramps doing spectacular mid-air tricks to attract points.
Jim Beam’s Bruce Priddy says New Zealand riders need more events such as this to raise the sport’s profile.
“We’re taking a lead on this. FMX is the most exciting of all extreme sports with major a mass market WOW factor. New Zealand is starting to produce top class riders.
“Kiwis are broadening their sporting horizons and with new fans and growing media attention FMX is claiming its place at the forefront of highly-charged spectators sports.
“Nothing gets the adrenaline pumping as much as watching a flying FMX Kiwi trumping the overseas riders with a ‘big heart attack’ or a ‘superman seat grab’.
“Jim Beam wants to give these guys the opportunity to be showcased in New Zealand as much as possible.”
Jim Beam is committed to brining FMX to New Zealanders with a series of sponsorships throughout the year and raising the profile of FMX in this country.
Mr Priddy’s company is bringing the Jim Beam Planet X Tour back to New Zealand next March and is also sponsoring the FMX element at Big Boys Toys in Auckland this weekend.
Issued on behalf of the Jim Beam by Pead PR
Theresa Platon, Pead PR 09 918 5552