According to his father Mark, Luke had a second row start and managed to stay in the top three for the first two laps. It was a tricky race to negotiate as the U17 Boys of 80-strong and the U17 and U16 Girls categories of 50-strong were on the course at the same time.

Up-and-coming mountain bike racer, Luke Moir, has added an international cross-country title to his repertoire this year when he won the fourth round of the Italian International Series, which was held in Nals, Bolzano on 9 April, against a massive field of 96 boys! Photo: supplied

Riding tactically, Luke attacked strongly on the last steep climb of the third lap, to which the other boys could not respond and he held onto this gap to take the win.

The weekend prior, Moir and his good friend Daniel Van der Walt took part in the first round of the British Cross Country Series in Pembrey, Wales, competing in the hotly contested U17 Boys (Youth) category. Expecting wet and muddy conditions, the weather dished out very unusual sunny conditions for the race. Starting on the third row was always going to present challenges in the highly competitive group, and with the very short start straight ahead of the singletrack, both young men found themselves in 10th and 12th positions with numerous bottlenecks on the first lap.

Unbeknownst to Moir, three riders had broken away from the group. He fought hard and managed to catch the third place rider with one lap remaining. Fighting tooth-and-nail, Moir secured third place in the fierce race, with Van der Walt finishing in fifth place.

The 14-year-old Capetonian returned from his recent excursion to Europe to claim his second win of the National Cross-country Series at Wolwespruit Bike Park at the weekend, having won the first round in the Western Cape as well. Van der Walt finished a very close third and has also gained experience abroad, racing with Luke.

Moir is a Grade 8 pupil at SACS, in the southern suburbs of the Western Cape, where mountain biking has become an official school sport. He has only been racing for five years and according to Mark, who is himself a cross-country racer, has a lot of fun on his bike. Young Moir also raced in the first round of the Swiss Cup last year where he stood atop the podium as an U14 rider.

“Luke just loves being on his bike,” said Mark. “He doesn’t follow a particular training programme and his focus is on quality and not quantity. He only averages about six hours a week of training, but he has a very competitive spirit.”

Luke will be competing in the third round of the 2017 SA National MTB Series XCO at Happy Valley Conservancy in Bloemfontein on 6 May.