FORMER Huddersfield Town Academy player Jack Reading didn’t make it as a professional footballer – but he is still aiming for the top in the sporting world.
Jack, 23, is climbing the world rankings in the adrenaline-fuelled sport of downhill mountain bike racing.
The former Salendine Nook High School student is currently ranked 58th in the world and he aims to break into the top 40 by the end of this year.
Downhill racing is a little known sport in Britain but has its diehard followers around the world, particularly in the USA.
Over the last four years Jack has combined international competition and a gruelling training schedule with his studies for a masters degree in optometry.
The University of Manchester allowed him the freedom to pursue his sporting dream while he studied to become an eye health professional.
Jack, brought up in Outlane and now living in Saddleworth, graduated this week and is now ready to focus full-time on racing.
“I love the sport and I am striving to be one of the best,’’ said Jack. “It’s an adrenaline sport and once you start you’re hooked.’’
Jack has ridden bikes for as along as he can remember, encouraged by parents Phil and Janet.
Dad Phil, 58, is now his manager while mum Janet, 59, and girlfriend Sarah Duckworthy, 22, keep Team Reading on the road.
Jack was a ‘flair’ midfielder in Town’s Academy until the age of 16 when it became clear his future didn’t lie in football.
“Rather than me giving up on football, it was football that gave up on me,’’ said Jack.