What influence has Dirt had on your company?
“Dirt has played a massive role in promoting Maxxis and making it the tyre brand of choice for downhill. The thing that Dirt does, that not all magazines do, is take impartiality very seriously.
As a reader, I fully trust that the review or article I’m reading is objective and therefore trustworthy. That gives riders confidence to try certain products and I think that’s partly why Maxxis tyres are so popular, because riders trust the reviews – try the tyres, feel the difference and don’t look back”.
What do you dislike about working in the bike industry?
“Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE working in the bike industry and always have. Combining a hobby you’re passionate about with making a living is something I feel really lucky to be able to do.
However, one drawback is the misconception that the bike industry makes millions – it really doesn’t. Consumers might be spending a lot of money, but margins are tight for everyone involved”.
Give us a story from your wildest moment in mountain biking?
“So, earlier this year I had the pleasure of riding the course ahead of the opening of the ‘Ard Rock Enduro & Mountain Bike Festival that we sponsor up in the Yorkshire Dales. We were filming a teaser video for social media ahead of the opening day. It was a pretty gnarly course and I was trying my best to keep pace with the event organisers when, BOOM, I misjudged a turn and face-planted straight into a rock.
A pretty epic nose bleed later and I was back on and filming the rest of the video like a true professional! The worst part, the Go Pro footage and sound effects that went viral around the office the following week. And, no, you can’t see it!
Your favourite or most memorable Dirt Cover?
“Downhill champion of the world – Danny Hart’s October 2011 cover. True legend!”
What would you like to see from Dirt over the next 20 years?
“Being the traditionalist that I am, I would personally love to see the magazine go back into print. Maybe even just for a one off, limited edition issue – say for the twenty year anniversary!”
How were you first introduced to Dirt?
“Dirt is completely entwined with my fond memories of working at the Specialised Concept store in Birmingham as a young man of 25. The mechanics who worked there at the time were huge downhill fans and to them, Dirt, was the bible! Pinching a copy to flick through on your lunch hour was a risk worth taking but god help you if you forgot to drop it back in the workshop when you were done!”
What has Dirt taught you over the years?
“Dirt has been great in keeping me in touch with the latest goings on. The main thing it’s taught me is that downhill doesn’t stand still, there’s always a new standard to meet and there’s always someone chasing your tail! It keeps me informed, which helps Maxxis stay one step ahead.”
Press releases or journalism?
“Both have a place, for sure. We use press releases to get our news and views out in the public domain but I have to admit, there’s a lot more credibility in something that’s been written by a well-informed, well respected journalist – certainly from a consumer perspective. The great thing about DIRT is they take journalism very seriously and the loyalty of the readers reflects that for sure.”
Who have been your favourite riders of the past 20 years?
“I’ve got quite a few. The guys on the Santa Cruz Syndicate are big downhill heros of mine, especially Steve Peat – who’s done so much for the sport here in the UK. Danny Hart is another personal favourite, along with the late, great Stevie Smith, who had so much personality, passion and skill and who was taken far too soon”.
What has been your favourite or most memorable race?
“Without a doubt Danny Hart winning the World Cup in 2011. He absolutely annihilated his competition and showed balls of steel. And don’t even get me started on that awesome tail whip – an iconic moment in downhill history!”