David 'Tally' Tallontire
David 'Tally' Tallontire

A stalwart of the UK downhill scene, David Tallontire has been around seemingly forever. I first remember meeting him over ten years ago when we did a Dirt roadtrip called ‘Hit the North’. He’s been a National DH Champ in the Master’s category, and now spends most of his time either running Uplift Scotland (the DH uplift service at Ae Forest and Innerleithen) or Sustainable Scotland, his track building and maintenance company. Tally is one of the good guys, mountainbiking and fun through and through. Here’s his Endtroducing…


Words by Mike Rose. Photo by Steve Jones

Who is Tally

I am a rider that is lucky to be able to make a living out of what I love to do.

Where do you live?

Dalbeattie, the heart of the Seven Stanes.

What’s your job title?

I’m not sure I have one! I run Uplift Scotland providing quality uplifts at Ae and Innerleithen, I also run Sustainable Scotland which builds and maintains many of the mountain bike trails over the south of Scotland.

What do you do?

For Uplift Scotland I do all the paperwork side of things, make sure everything is in the right place at the right time, then Elliot or Cub take over and run the days nice and smooth! I do the driving when we have private uplifts. On the trail building I do everything from design through to knocking puddles out.

How long have you been doing this job?

I think it’s been about nine years now.

How did you land the job?

I was in the right place at the right time, I was working in a bike shop when the Seven Stanes project started, I kept getting asked to come out and help build the technical features as they knew I raced. The uplifts started around then too. I bought an old 7.5 ton truck and started uplifting at Ae, that developed into Uplift Scotland.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

Picking watermelons! I lasted half a day and couldn’t walk properly for a week.

Where’s your favourite place?

My home, with my family around me.

When are you happiest?

When I’m not carrying an injury.

What makes you angry?

Bad drivers, there is no need.

What makes you happy?

The first run down a piece of trail I have built. And good coffee.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

It’s better to regret something you’ve done rather than something you’ve not done.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever given?

Enjoy it, that’s why we are here.

What are your extravagances?

Toys! Bikes, kites, surfboards, minibikes, enduro bikes and I’ve just seen a nice moto trials bike…

Who do you admire?

Anyone with the conviction to follow their dreams.

What’s the most important thing in your life?

My family.

What would you never throw away?

I still have a Race Face thermal mug that is unused; it was the first thing I won from racing.

What’s your greatest fear?

One day having to have a ‘proper’ job.

What was your luckiest escape?

Breaking my back twice in a year. Didn’t know about it the first time, I just thought it was a bit sore! Second time I walked into hospital, they X–rayed me and wouldn’t let me up again, apparently I had seven crushed vertebrae with one having a fracture 1mm away from me not walking again.

What’s the first thing you do in the morning?

Get the kids up and make breakfast.

What’s the last thing you do at night?

Kiss Wendy (my fiancé).

What would be your dream meal?

Calamari, surf and turf, followed by Irish coffee.

Do you have any regrets?

None, all life’s experiences have shaped me into who I am today.

What’s the most important lesson that you’ve learnt?

If you build it, they will come.

If you could have dinner with three famous people who would they be?

Just now I would choose to have dinner with only one person, which would be Jaymie Mart so I could hear her laugh.

Who is your favourite rider?

Danny Hart. I remember when I could beat him, he was probably about 12. Ha ha. Such an exciting rider to watch, so loose, yet in control.

What’s your favourite bike product of all time?

Dropper posts have transformed the way we ride, trails now can flow without the ‘hold on, I just need to drop my post’.

What’s your least favourite bike product of all time?

All the broken frames. Why can’t they make bikes that don’t crack?

What’s your favourite motto or saying?

I’ve had an Idea…

What bike are you riding at the moment?

Cannondale Jekyll, Turner DHR, Ragley Blue Pig for pulling the kids around in the trailer. Oh a KTM 250 too.

What are you listening to at the moment?

I’ve just put some Iron Maiden, AC DC, Faith no More and Ramstein on the iPod.

What are your weaknesses?

I can be a bit impatient.

What does the future hold for you?

To keep improving on what I do, as a rider, an uplift provider and as a trail builder.

What does the future hold for mountain biking?

Faster, lighter, stronger. I think someone will perfect the gearbox, eventually.

How would you like to be remembered?

As Tally, that bloke who does the uplift.