Junior Development Squad

The Taupo MTB Club is proud to organise and run a development program for our junior riders as well as skills sessions for all our members catering to all ages and abilities.

The Programme

  • Ages 12-15 years
  • Registrations open annually in August/September for this 10 member Development Squad

Thinking of joining the Squad?

Here is what you need to know…

APPLICATIONS FOR 2019/2020 SEASON ARE NOW OPEN – CLICK ON APPLY NOW BELOW AND FILL IN THE APPLICATION FORM – Applications close Friday 23rd August.  You will be required to attend a selection session at Craters MTB Park at 10AM ON SUNDAY 25TH AUGUST 2019.

This year we have a new Coach, Mark Leishman (Cabin) of Black Dirt Collective based in Rotorua.  Cabin has an extensive background in XC Mountain Biking racing and Coaching and will be a real asset to the Club.  We will be running at least 6 skills sessions this season to develop the Squad riders – these sessions will predominantly be held in Rotorua.  They will be spread throughout the season and take place on the weekends (dates to be advised).  We are tentatively planning the first skills session with Cabin on the weekend of 14/15 September in Rotorua.

Applications open in August/September with the Squad for the coming season named in September each year. The Club’s objective with the Squad is to help our kids better themselves as both bike riders and athletes and help them work towards achieving goals that they set in mountain biking.

The Junior Development Squad (JDS) has been extremely successful since its inception in 2015 and with each year has evolved and adapted to the changing MTB environment in order to give our young Club members the best support we can.


The primary focus of the Taupo MTB Club Junior Development Squad is to give Club riders aged 12–15 years an opportunity to:

  1. broaden their MTB skills, ability and confidence in mountain biking; and
  2. introduce riders to the cross country (XC) racing environment in a safe and supportive manner. The focus in terms of racing will be to get the riders to a level where they are confident racing in the National Secondary School Championships.

Riders must:

  • Be 12 – 15 years of age*;
  • Be a current paid-up member of the Taupo MTB Club;
  • Reside full-time in Taupo; and
  • Be an active Club member participating in Club events.

All applicants must follow the same selection process.

All applicants are subject to the same attendance requirements for selection.

The maximum term for a rider in the Squad is 3 years.

* Applicants must turn 12 years old before 31st December of the year in which they are applying

  • Applicants will be required to attend a selection session at Craters MTB Park;
  • Riders will be selected based on both ability and attitude; and
  • The Squad will be limited to a maximum of 10 riders.

The Squad commences in September and ends mid April with a team trip. Squad members are required to race in the following events (these may change yearly depending on available events):

  • Mid-North Island Junior Series Race 1 (October), Race 2 (November) and Race 3 (December)
  • Taupo MTB Club Summer Series (January – March)
  • MTBNZ North Island Champs (January/February – optional)
  • Cycling NZ North Island Secondary School Championships (March)
  • MTBNZ National Championship (March – optional)
  • Cycling NZ National Secondary School Championships (October – depending on location)
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty School Champs (April)
  • Annual Team trip in April/May (partially subsidised).
  • Day trips may be organised during the season as part of the skills sessions.
  • Riders are expected to have a very high level of attendance to all planned team rides and skills sessions;
  • The Squad will have fortnightly team rides on Sundays mornings (1 – 2 hours duration). These may increase to weekly leading up to an event.  Attendance is essential;
  • Skills sessions will be provided focusing on improving riders skills and ability and learning the basics of racing (dates to be advised);
  • Squad members are expected to consistently work on improving their skills and fitness throughout the season;
  • Riders are expected to attend and compete in all races on the agenda (except for injury or sickness);
  • Riders need to acknowledge and appreciate the opportunity they have been given and help out the Taupo MTB Club by mentoring other riders, marshalling at events etc where possible;
  • Riders will conduct themselves in a professional manner both on and off the bike – before, during and after events. A positive attitude, a healthy competitiveness and good sportsmanship is essential;
  • If a Squad member finds that they can no longer commit to consistently ride and attend the fortnightly Squad sessions they will forfeit their position in the Squad to enable another Taupo MTB Club rider the opportunity to join the Team (except for injury or sickness); and
  • If a Squad member does not attend 3 sessions during the season they will forfeit their position in the Squad to enable another Taupo MTB Club rider the opportunity to join the Team (except for injury or sickness).
  • Each rider will be given a Team Kit to wear to races which may also be worn at Squad sessions;
  • Riders must wear the Team Kit at events and on the podium;
  • To preserve the longevity of the Kits, for general training rides members are required to wear their own gear; and
  • The Kit remains the property of the Taupo MTB Club and is to be returned to the Club at the end of the Squad season.
  • The JDS is a Club initiative run by volunteers and as we will be responsible for up to 10 children of varying abilities, we will need parents to take turns riding with the Squad on the fortnightly sessions;
  • Other ways parents can help out is with registration/marshalling at Club events;
  • Parents will need to ensure their children are able to ride in addition to the fortnightly Squad sessions to improve their fitness, skills and technique (the aim would be 2 rides per week minimum);
  • Parents are responsible for providing transport for their child to events; and
  • Parents are to help with the transport of and set up of the Club tent at events.
  • A supportive team environment where riders have the opportunity to learn from each other;
  • A Team Manager and Coach;
  • Taupo MTB Club JDS Team Kit for XC events;
  • Skills sessions to improve Squad members ability and confidence on the bike;
  • Mentoring support from senior Club riders; and
  • Complimentary entry to Club run events (subject to attendance level).


$150 per rider for the season – applied to skills sessions and a team trip at the end of the season (payable to the Taupo MTB Club upon the naming of the Squad)

Interested in joining the Junior Development Squad?


Share the ride