Having Seb Kemp (Whistler Diaries) as our Endtroducing a few issues back made us realise it’d be good if you got to know a bit more about some of our other contributors, so this time it’s the turn of ‘Your Neck of the Woods’ legend John Lawlor. We might as well start though with a bit of background info on the man as he’s been involved with bikes pretty much since he came out of the womb. He raced for over ten years and for the majority of those he was Ireland’s most successful downhill racer, taking the title of Junior National Champion in ‘96 and ’97, and then the Elite title every year between ’98 and 2001. He’s also raced numerous World Cups and Champs where he’s broken inside the top twenty. In 2001 he wrote his first of a continuous stream of reports for Dirt, and then three years later he made the fateful move of picking up his first video camera. Since then he’s produced a couple of his own films before moving onto filming for MTBcut. Alongside doing all the filming he’s also at college studying how to do it properly, but he’s slowly realising that your own way is usually the right way. I think that’s a good synopsis, but all you really need to know is that he’s one of the soundest blokes you’ll ever meet. Anyway, here’s his endtroducing…
Who is John Lawlor?
A bloke who was lucky enough to be given his brothers old bike at the age of four and has been riding bikes ever since.
Where do you live?
Drogheda, Co Louth, Ireland.
What are you studying?
Creative Multimedia at Dundalk IT.
What do you do to make a living?
During the summer months I’m a filmmaker, during the winter months I’m a student scraping by on what I earn as a filmmaker.
How long have you working with MTBcut?
How did you land the job?
Stu Thomson phoned me up at the end of 2006 and asked me if I could do a short film on the riding scene in Ireland. I did it and he liked it, so then he asked me to go to Scotland to do a film on the Scottish scene. While I was there he asked me if I would be interested in covering the World Cups for them.
Obviously I said yes.
Are your racing shoes going to see some more action?
My full–time racing shoes are definitely hung up for good. I knocked a good ten years out of it, so I was pretty lucky to have done it for that long. I reckon there’s a few races left in me yet, but I just don’t have the same drive to win that I used to have back in the day. Never say never though.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
Testing circuit boards in a computer parts factory.
Where’s your favourite place?
I love being around my friends having a laugh, doesn’t matter where, it’s the company that counts.
Where’s your favourite place to ride?
I’d have to say either Alpe d’Huez or Whistler.
When are you happiest?
When I’ve just watched a fully edited section that I’ve been working on for ages, and then I’m out for a spin on my bike thinking about it.
What makes you angry?
What makes you happy?
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Keep your head while those around you lose theirs…and blame you for it.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever given?
Seize the day.
What are your extravagances?
I suppose anybody who is into cycling has to say that bikes are their extravagances. I’m no different, it has to be bikes.
Who do you admire?
Anyone who follows their dreams and sees them out ‘til the end. I have so much respect for Peaty though. To be at the top for 12 years is bordering on godliness.
What’s the most important thing in your life?
My family and friends.
What would you never throw away?
Old bike parts. If there’s any chance that I
can fix a semi–broken bike part it goes into the basket under the bench for a day when I have time to recycle it.
What’s your greatest fear?
Not being able to ride my bike.
What was your luckiest escape?
Me and Glyn (O’Brien) were at a snowboard event in Switzerland in 2001. There was a 35 feet quarter pipe at the bottom of a ski slope, with about 10,000 screaming snowboard fans in the dark. The run in was as far asyou were prepared to hike up, it was crazy. Glyn and me were asked if we wanted to have a go…on mountain bikes! We had been drinking straight whiskey all night and were fairly pissed up, so we said fuck it and jumped onto the back of a skidoo for a lift to the top. We seemed to be about a mile from the arena when we got off at the top. We jumped onto the bikes, and started sprinting down this ski slope as fast as we could. Glyn hit it first and took off and landed on the top of it. I took off and I must have gone about 25 feet straight up into the air, over Glyn who was lying on the ground looking up at me sailing past him through the air. When I landed at the top of the quarter pipe, I realised I was about a foot from an 8 foot wooden stake hammered into the snow that was holding up an advertising banner. That was probably the funniest, yet alarming, escape I have ever had! What’s the first thing you do in the morning? Have a fart session whilst trying to wake up.
What’s the last thing you do at night?
Have a drink of water.
What would be your dream meal?
A nice medium–rare fillet steak.
What things do you always carry with you?
Keys, phone, wallet.
Do you have any regrets?
None that I can think of. Maybe not doing better at World Cups when I was racing, but there’s nothing I could have done differently to go any faster.
I always try to give everything 100% to avoid feeling any regret afterwards.
What’s the most important lesson that you’ve learnt?
Just because it’s newer, doesn’t mean it’s better.
If you could have dinner with three famous people (dead or alive) who would they be? It would probably have to be Steve Jones, Sven Martin and Clay Porter. I would just feel awkward around famous people that I don’t know (God, we’re never going to hear the end of Jonesy being described as ‘famous’).
Who is your favourite rider?
Lately it’s got to be Sam Blenkinsop. His style is so erratic, yet in control. He’s amazing to watch.
What’s your favourite bike product of all time?
What’s your least favourite bike product of all time?
What’s your favourite motto or saying?
Can you stand on it?
What saying do you use too much?
What bike are you riding at the moment?
A Kinesis Max-Light XC bike.
What was the last magazine you read?
What are you listening to at the moment?
Led Zeppelin, New Order, The Jam, Chalets.
What one thing would you change about yourself?
My un-even chest has always pissed me off. I have one side that sticks out more than the other.
What are your weaknesses?
What does the future hold for you?
Hopefully anything to do with bikes.
What does the future hold for mountain biking?
More coverage on the internet, which will hopefully help the coverage filter back into mainstream television.
How would you like to be remembered?
Hopefully as a friendly guy who enjoyed himself and didn’t get too stressed out over stupid things.