A PEDAL pumping mountain bike star is putting part of his success down to a village cycle track.

Josh Searle, 16, is rising fast in the discipline where racers are timed completing a circuit without peddling, but ‘pump’ their bike’s handlebars and pedals and use slopes to gain speed.

Josh from Treuddyn, near Mold, joined the semi-professional Five Two Five racing team just months after a bike track was opened in the village.

Josh, who will study engineering at Deeside College in September, said: “I started
riding about a year ago. The bike track gave me the chance to get better. I go up to the track quite a lot to practise.”

The track was opened in April with more than 500 people turning out to see the official launch of the £46,000 project.

“It has been a real bonus for people in the village,” said Josh.

A former pupil of Castell Alun High School at Hope, Josh rides a specially adapted lightweight bike which allows him to get faster speeds while ‘pumping’.

He said: “We get timed on laps where we can’t pedal, but pump on the handle bars to make you go forward. It is not about doing tricks, it is about the timed laps.

“It is good being part of the team, we are sponsored and we get gear donated for our bikes. We can go around the country and ride and compete. I’m going to keep going. It is something you can do professionally.”

Dad Simon, 52, said since the family moved to the village from Kent, Josh has been “mad” on mountain biking.

He said: “We are very proud of him. Hopefully he has got a bright future ahead of him. He is self taught and knows a lot about it.”

Josh’s sister Samantha, 14, is following in her brother’s footsteps and has just taken up the discipline.