The inspiring tale of Crankworx hometown hero

In the realm of professional sporting, where adrenaline often breeds cockiness, Tuhoto-Ariki Pene stands as one of the exceptions.

Crowned the King of Crankworx in 2023 at the youthful age of 22 – and defending his world title this year – he has conquered elite riders since his junior years, solidifying his status as a household name in the mountain biking and BMX communities.
Yet, behind the accolades and victories, Tuhoto-Ariki exudes a refreshing humility. Described as kind and supportive, he channels his success into giving back to his community. Particularly passionate about nurturing young riders following in his tyre tracks, he embraces the role of a mentor. For him, it's not just about racing; it's about being a chill dude on a bike, inspiring others to find joy in the thrill of the ride.

Surrounded by a circle of the right people, Tuhoto-Ariki navigates challenges with grace and skill, staying true to the Māori traditions and values instilled in him while growing up. Whether hurtling down race circuits or relaxing at home with his whānau, these values remain a guiding force.
Home, for Tuhoto-Ariki, is where his love for biking blossomed. Starting as a wee grom at the age of 3, he transitioned from BMX to downhill riding, exploring the world-famous trails of Whakarewarewa Forest. With a whakapapa tied to Tūhourangi, he connects with his Māori tīpuna, feeling their presence in the forest, especially on the Tuhoto-Ariki trail named after one of his ancestors for whom he is named.
Drawing strength from his bloodline, he calls upon the ancestors' mauri before each race, enabling him to give his all at one hundred percent. His career highs, however, go beyond championships and titles. For Tuhoto-Ariki, the true highlights lie in traversing the globe, sharing his culture, and connecting with people.
Winning the Val di Sole round on the challenging Black Snake trail during his junior years, and dominating both the Junior and Elite categories at the Oceania Downhill champs showcased his prowess. Yet, when asked about career highlights, he emphasises the joy of meeting people and sharing his culture, highlighting the essence of his journey.
Beyond the competitive arena, Tuhoto-Ariki’s impact extends to the community. Devoted to giving back, he spends time with rangatahi, answering questions, and riding alongside them. Recognising the importance of encouraging youth to explore mountain biking, he sets an inspiring example, proving that the journey is as significant as the destination.


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