Jeppe High School for Boys learner and mountain biker Aaron Heyneke in Grade 10 was announced as an ambassador for Positive Sports Solutions.
The 16-year-old has made his mark in the cycling discipline with a string of successes in the last two years, including winning the Emperors Classic MTB event in the u-16 category in 2017 and 2018.
He is also unbeaten in the Gauteng Youth 16 Spur Series for his school this year.
Positive Sports Solutions spokesperson David Pieterse said Heyneke represented the sort of potential they wanted to help develop.
“Aaron is riding a top-of-the-range MTB Trenton V HEAD bicycle and we see great value in having him as part of our set-up.
“Besides providing exposure to the HEAD brand, this is an opportunity to support our young riders to become the best they can be. Heyneke is the perfect example of what we are trying to achieve,” said Pieterse.
Heyneke is grateful for the opportunity to represent the brand.
“It feels really amazing to be part of Positive Sports Solutions because they are a good brand. I’m really looking forward to just having fun while riding the Head Trenton.
“This opportunity is big and it will help me to improve as a cyclist and give me more opportunities to go further in cycling,” said Heyneke.
He said his love for cycling started at a young age.
“My dad put me on a bicycle at a young age. Since then there is not a day that goes by that I leave my bicycle alone,” said Heyneke.
He only started competing in 2015 and plans to continue competing.
“I competed in the 94.7 mountain bike race in 2015 and I really enjoyed the feeling of racing. In 2016 I started taking the sport seriously and started training,” explained Heyneke.
He did not have a coach before and said he looks forward to professional training.
“I trained by myself and as a Positive Sports Solutions cyclist, I would like to improve as a cyclist and get many tips from the older cyclists. I would love to become the South African Xco champion either in 2019 or in 2020. I’m looking forward to receiving professional training from Positive Sports Solution,” said Heyneke.
He said the journey has not been easy but he loves the challenge that comes with it.
“I have faced a number of challenges but my highlight was Pietermaritzburg. I was on the start line of the SA Cup Series and was in the second row. I had a good start and as soon as I was about to go between the cyclist in front of me, I connected my handlebars with one cyclist and one of us had to hit the deck and it was me. I got up and got on my bike and I was dead last.
“At that point, I knew that it was over for me to win the race but I didn’t give up. I cycled as hard as I could and overtook as many riders as possible and ended off the day with a sixth place,” said Heyneke.
The NEWS asked him how he balances cycling and school.
“I make sacrifices. I sometimes have to put school first to study and do my homework or not go out with friends. But school and cycling are important to me. I just plan better and juggle the two,” said Heyneke.
He advises other cyclists to commit to themselves.
“Don’t worry about positions. Worry about enjoying it and beating your personal best time. Never give up. Good things take time,” said Heyneke.