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Interviews

20 years/ 20 questions – WD40

Martin Hawyes takes to the hot seat

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.

WD40 was probably the first product you used on your bike when you were a kid and it’s something we still use to this day. Snobs will tell you to avoid it all costs but frankly it’s great at what it does.

Most of us probably have a tin of it lying around somewhere and even if you find it gathering cobwebs one day, we guarantee you won’t throw it out – it’s just that useful.

We had a chat to Martin Hawyes, the two wheel channel manager, to chat about mountain biking past, present and future.

20 questions – WD40

What achievement of the company are you most proud of?
“We’re probably in more homes than Coca Cola (some people like Pepsi) but a lot of homes have a can of WD40 lurking somewhere”.

What has been you biggest product development?
“The SmartStraw system on our blue and yellow can, no more lost red straws!”

What was the brand working on 20 years ago?
“For us, it will have been pack formats and sizes back then, all of our recent dedicated brand extensions have happened within the last 5 years or so.”

What is the direction of the company setting up for the next 20 years?
“We’ve been broadening our horizon with various WD40 Brand range extensions and this will continue. These new lines allow us to bring our high levels of expertise into very specific areas of care and maintenance.

WD40 BIKE will continue to grow, the product range will develop and we will continue to work with more Pro riders to develop our formulas.”

What has been the biggest lesson the company has learnt in the industry?
“We’ve been staggered how open armed and positive people have been with working with an organisation of our size. A lot of businesses, buyers and especially pro riders have been very keen to work with us. We thought there’d be a much bigger effort required on the ’hearts and minds’ game. But not at all.”

Give us a story from your wildest moment in mountain biking?
“Euro’s 97 – some of it’s on an old Sprung video a lot of it isn’t!!”

What has been your favourite moment of Dirt’s history?
“Steve Peat’s Rule Britannia Cover back in the day. I literally got goose bumps in the newsagents when I saw it for the first time we’d all been talking about it but it said it all. It was a seminal time for the UK scene.”

What would you like to see from Dirt over the next 20 years?
“I’m old fashioned and love tactile ownership – I buy music physically as well as digitally. I’m outdated but I’d love to see Dirt in print again.”

Do you have a favourite or memorable feature from Dirt’s history?
“There was a picture of Matt Jones in Woburn with a roost of dust in a 360. The light’s catching the roost. It’s one of the raddest pictures I’ve ever seen.

How were you first introduced to Dirt?
“Jerry Dyer!! (I’m old!)”

What has Dirt taught you over the years?
“Not to take myself so seriously, and to try and ride more than I do. I love riding, Dirt captures the feeling and more than anything ride for the right reasons.”

Press releases or journalism?
“Journalism”

Who have been your favourite riders of the past 20 years?
“I realise what a cliché I am but JMC, Palmer, Peaty, Tomac, Vouillouz, Hart & Hill.”

What Rider has most pushed the boundaries over the past 20years?
“I can’t give you a one rider answer – Sam Hill for his class and craft of the time. Aaron Gwin for setting the new overall speed precedent that the new younger riders have had to adjust to.

Danny Hart on his day – for me, he has delivered the two most outrageous displays of pure speed, skill and talent when it mattered on the day that will be impossible to forget.”


What has been your favourite or most memorable race?
“Danny Hart’s 2011 & 2016 Worlds Runs.”

What does the next 20 years bring for Mountain biking?
“Tekkers! Suspension refinement, and surely, hopefully we’ll finally get away from derailleurs on downhill bikes soon. Surely?! Oh and high end bikes fitted with OE cable ties! WTF?!”

What’s your opinion on E-Bikes?
“If it gets more people riding bikes it’s is a good thing.”

What life lessons has Mountain biking taught you?
“Chill out and smile. It’s there to be enjoyed. Young racers I’ll say this, you’re riding a bike in the woods, not finding a cure for cancer! It isn’t as serious as you’re making it out to be!! Be competitive, race and ride hard – but don’t lose perspective.”

What’s been the most questionable thing to come out of Mountain biking?
“Shimano air lines! Another place to get a puncture!”

Who doesn’t get the credit they deserve in the industry?
“I’ve always been a fan of Troy Lee – he’s kept things tight for decades. That brand after all this time still feels so special to me when I get a new lid. I probably get more excited about getting a new Troy Lee Crash Helmet than a new bike if I’m honest…He’s remained so true to it all after all this time.

“I think as an industry we look after our own – and openly acknowledge all those around us who are doing a good job even if they’re a competitor, the beauty of this industry is that we’ll all go ride together anyway. We usually pretty good as a collective and eject anyone by default from the industry if they’re assholes.”

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