20 years/ 20 questions - Joe Barnes - Dirt

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20 years/ 20 questions – Joe Barnes

TO CELEBRATE THE TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF DIRT WE’RE SPEAKING TO THE BRANDS AND RIDERS THAT HAVE SUPPORTED US THROUGHOUT THE YEARS. WE’LL BE ASKING 20 QUESTIONS ON THE PAST PRESENT AND FUTURE OF MOUNTAIN BIKING TO THOSE WHO ARE TRULY IN THE KNOW. CHECK OUT OUR 20TH ANNIVERSARY BOOK THAT’S AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER HERE.

From warning us about the Alpe d’Huez Mega Goolie Slap to making one of our favourite edits in history, Joe Barnes has always made us smile here at the Dirt office.

Barnes cut his teeth on the downhill circuit and was racing World Cups as recently as 2012. He’s truly found his niche with enduro though and picked up EWS podiums in Peebles and La Thuille.

20 Questions  – Joe Barnes

What achievement are you most proud of?
“To have a caravan, shed full of bikes and a girlfriend. Pulled a blinder boys”.

Give us a story from your wildest moment in mountain biking?
“I went to NZ with my mate James when we were 17 and bought a particularly shit van to live in. The stats from the trip were incredible. We used 36l of oil in the van, ate 500g of pasta each every night, rode all day everyday, didn’t do any sight seeing, and both came back a lot wiser and faster on our bikes.”

What has been your favourite moment of Dirt’s history?
“The Earthed videos (if that counts). I must have watched the first one about 400 times”.  

How were you first introduced to Dirt?
“Like many, I was a MBUK fan, then saw the dark side and turned to Dirt”.

What would be the first question you would ask Dirt?
“Can I have some print back? To add to the stack of mags holding my walls up”.

When did you first start mountain biking?
“When I was a small child I always loved bikes and then when I was 14, I got a full suspension bike and started hucking”.

What bike were you on then?
“Orange Patriot”

What rider or person has most influenced your career?
Steve Peat

Credit: Sven Martin

What has been your favourite or most memorable race?
“La Thuille EWS 2014. I just loved the trails, it rained/snowed and I backed up my podium from Scotland and couldn’t believe it”.

Who would you loved to have raced against or ridden with?
“I am lucky to have met a lot of my idols but am still amazed by Vouilloz and would love to learn to feel the ground and ride as smooth as him”.


What’s your opinion on E-Bikes?
“Amazing short term fun, but sketchy for the long run. Land permissions, derestricting bikes, scaring walkers, etc. Life’s pretty dam good as it is, so it would be a shame to jeopardise what we have got for some easy up hills”.

What’s your favourite wheel size?|
“650 Baeys , My 140mm Spectral with 650b is too much fun.”

What life lessons has mountain biking taught you?
“Everything I value really. A mild obsession since a young age has given me no choice. How to manage money, through doing seasons on a shoestring. The importance of stress relief through two wheels or sport in general.”

Who doesn’t get the credit they deserve in the industry?
Mechanics who work flat out through the night at races to have the bike spot on for race day.

What’s been the most questionable thing to come out of mountain biking?
“Ferg’s bum in The Dudes of Hazzard Movie.”

What’s been the best track you’ve ridden?
“Fujiton bike park, Japan. Such good dirt.”

How would you change World Cup downhill?
“More fresh cut tracks, allowing riders to assess changing conditions and the extra line choice that comes with it.”

What do you still want to achieve in mountain biking?
“On my day, when the stars line up, to win a EWS.”

What do you want to see more of from the Dirt website?
“Long pieces, so the fans like me can get stuck into some lengthy articles and gritty topics. And more epic fail videos.”

What do you hope the next 20 years brings for mountain biking?
“Huge exponential growth is very apparent where I am, and all coming from the kids, so that’s exciting times. I would love to see more and more people getting involved in the sport, while keeping a carefree grass roots style.

Passionate people are driving it, so I think its in safe hands. Also, maybe not too many e-bikes, we should make a rule, they’re allowed but have to have 70degree head angles.”

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