National | Rotorua

Brothers suicide drives Oceania Mountain Biking champ

Tuhoto Ariki Pene, 18, is Oceania's top elite junior 19 downhill mountain biker and nothing pushes him more than his late brother.

Pene placed 7th at last year's downhill mountain biking world champs and this year he aims to improve.

He's the best young mountain biker in Oceania ready to take on the worlds best.

Tuhoto Ariki comes from a family of four who grew up on their bikes and they quickly became multiple BMX national champions and international contenders.

His older brother Ihakara Pene became one of the countries best Junior BMX and downhill mountain bikers. With just three years separating the two. Tūhoto Ariki saw his older brother as a mentor.

In December 2017, Ihakara took his own life at the age of 19. Leaving a gaping hole in his family's lives. An event that shook Tuhoto Ariki's world.

Tuhoto hopes to continue making his whānau and late brother proud when he departs for the world series and world championships next month.

The young Te Arawa rider says the sport is something his late brother Ihakara always encouraged him to pursue.

Next month Pene will travel to France, Italy and Canada.