Last month we began taking a look into what it takes to break into the ever–elusive World Cup winner’s circle. We saw how Steve Smith went through a self discovery and maturing process that culminated with him taking his maiden win at the final World Cup of 2012. Now we look into the life and mind of the only other virgin winner of 2012… Brook Macdonald.
DIRT ISSUE 133 – MARCH 2013
Words by Sven Martin. Photos by Sven Martin
Brook Macdonald is rarity in top–level DH racing, with its current blanket of homogenous professionalism. He still has a professional approach to training and racing, has the fire and dedication, but equally so he is not afraid to get loose ‘Kiwi style’ and have some fun between the races. Josh Bryceland, Sam Dale and Brook are often the life of the party come Sunday night and early Monday morning. Brook is one of the most liked riders on the circuit by fans and other riders alike. You will just as soon see him taking runs with Peaty, Gwin or Hill as you will with his usual training partner and fellow Kiwi, Sam Blenkinsop. He does not care about the current wave of political correctness, rather what you see is what you get, which is refreshing in this new digital age where it seems that every action is under the managers or media’s microscope.
Coming from the deep south of New Zealand, he has been the underdog from beginning and it was as a semi supported rider on the Italian Ancillotti team that he beat the then favourite Danny Hart for the Junior Worlds Title in 2009 in Canberra, Australia. His bulldog like determination and strength has taken him far. Two top tens, with a sixth at Champery in his rookie pro year on his new MS Racing supported ride, followed up with his solid 2011 and 2012 seasons has made him one of the most sought after riders – as seen in his recent signing with Trek World Racing. It has not all been smooth sailing for Brook though; he’s had his ups and downs, as his 2012 season showed us.Dirt: Your first year in Elite and you placed 6th at Champery in 2010 on arguably one of the toughest tracks on the circuit. Is that when you decided you could do this as a career?
Brook Macdonald: Yeah, after I won World Champs in 2009 I thought that if I work hard I can make a living out of this for a bit, so I went in to 2010 with, now looking back, not the best training, but back then I thought it was a lot. But I was on a small team with not a lot of support, but the 6th at Champery helped motivate me some more for sure.Do you think it was harder being from NZ?
Yeah, basically my mum and Gran helped me out through the first year and they were willing to help me again. Now I appreciate things a lot more and I can pay them back and help them out. You don’t take things for granted when you live here, you have to work harder for sure. It’s definitely easier if you come from the USA, Europe or Britain, it’s cheaper with a lot less travel and the sponsors are nearer to you or speak the same language at least. Kiwi’s have to try harder. Sam Blenkinsop, Cam Cole and me all appreciate it more. We don’t take it for granted.You had a win this year Brook, but on paper your season did not look too good. Why is that?
Yeah definitely had a better season in 2011. I had three podiums and finished sixth overall, which I was pretty happy with. But 2012 started tough, suspension testing was tough and it felt late. I didn’t really get my head around it and it wasn’t where I wanted it to be, I had a few troubles through the start of the season with that sort of stuff.>>