FRANKLY THURSDAY — KIERAN BENNETT

Kieran Bennett has grown from one of the groms of the New Zealand downhill scene to now one of the old schoolers, competing overseas for a number of seasons now. He's a bit of a dark horse, flying under the radar a bit, popping out onto the podium in New Zealand at many of the Nationals races and whipping it out wherever possible.

We catch up with Kieran just before he heads off to the USA for yet another summer shredding, this time under the Dylan Dean / Tomac racing squad.

How old are you? 22

Where do you live? Nelson

Who makes your riding possible? My fiancee Katie, mum and dad for letting me disappear from work all the time and Jeremiah Dylan Dean my team manager

First bike? A GT RTS was my first full suspension and was waaay too big for me

Best thing about traveling around the world riding your bike? Doing just that, what could be better than being able to see the world and ride my bike at the same time!

Best spot in the world to ride? Best track has to be Val Di Sole, Italy. Best place overall has to be Whistler, endless amounts of riding there.

What can’t you travel without? Laptop

What can you not live without? Cell Phone

What's your day job? Engineer

What motivates you to get out of bed and go to work each day? Money and knowing that I'm going overseas soon

What are your plans for the Northern Hemisphere summer? I'm racing everything I possibly can while I'm in the US, I think I'm going to have one weekend with nothing on in the four months that I'm there

What's wrong with mountain biking? Not enough money or big media, big companies have no interest in sponsoring it.

What's right with mountain biking? The fact that its awesome and brings together a huge diverse group of people.

Who do you look up to? Greg Minnaar, Steve Peat, Ryan Dungey, Ricky Carmichael

What do you like best about living where you do? The variety of awesome riding Nelson offers and it's generally pretty warm and sunny

What do you dislike about living where you do? The lack of people to ride DH with and not enough moto tracks

Favourite piece of bike kit? I'd say my Leatt Brace, wont ride without it.

What are your vices? Coffee, Chocolate, Speights, Burritos

Got any dirt / story of a pro MTBer you’d like to share? Luke Strobel came so close to completing a Hat Trick with the same girl at Mt Saint Anne over the past three years but couldn't follow through with it at the after party in 09.

Thanks Kieran, good luck for the Season!