By Kenan Beaumont
A teenage Perth mountain biker is taking his first steps to turning his passion into a paid career.
Fourteen-year-old Kris Robson, of Willeton, was approached with a sponsorship by Rock’n’Roll Mountain Biking after a race in which he placed third early this year.
Despite managing a second place in his last race, Kris has set his hopes set higher, aiming to compete in national competitions once he reaches the required age of sixteen.
“What we look for is enthusiasm and the love of mountain biking, but also dedication. There’s no point signing a kid who’s only going to come to one race because he’s not really going to improve his riding or learn new skills,” says Mark Wardle, owner of Rock’n’Roll Mountain Biking.
“We offer mentoring and coaching in two areas: life skills- how to speak, how to dress, and how to present yourself as an athlete and, secondly, the actual skills of mountain biking,” says Mr Wardle.
Kris first started riding when he was three and began mountain biking at the age of nine.
“I used to ride a lot. It’s all I did really,” says Kris.
His Mum Robin says all she can do is support Kris and hope he comes back in one piece.
“He’s a pretty safe rider I think, I don’t think he takes risks he doesn’t need to but there’s always a chance he will come off,” says Robin.
Robin says mountain biking has made Kris more self-sufficient and helped him grow up.
“It’s one of those sports where he really is on his own, apart from the riders on the field. It’s quite an independent sport, you couldn’t do it if you weren’t independent and he is,” says Robin.
To maintain his passion Kris goes riding in the hills most weekends and has even built small jumps in his local park.