Scott Laughland joins the Cube Action Team for 2014 & 15.
Commitment is something that any pro racer takes in their stride, it’s the main ingredient in getting the bike job done. Representing sponsors also sits high on the list and setting off at 3:45AM to get down from Scotland for a photo shoot in Wales sets a pretty high precedent for the new rider Cube have brought on board for 2014.
Scott Laughland is that man, he has bikes in his blood and racing in his head, growing up mixed in within a fraternity of moto trials riders in Scotland the progression to mountain bikes was seamless. Having started out on motorbikes with his Dad in Scott moved into mountain bikes after a trip to Fort William in 2002.
Racing in Scotland at a time when Danny Hart, Josh Bryceland and Sam Dale were building the juvenile and youth underpinning that supports their World Cup DH exploits today.
So what led to this angle change from racing DH to Enduro and how does a young Engineering graduate land a spot on one of the biggest Enduro race teams on the circuit? We caught up with Scott after his epic drive and had a chat about it all.
Photos: Steve Jones
Laughland at full tilt.
Dirt: What was your first two wheeled experience?
Scott: (Laughs) My first two wheeled experience is a quite good one actually, I used to have a little Yamaha PY50 and the first time I had a shot on it I just held the throttle wide open went all the way down the garden and straight into shed! Don’t remember much as I was only 5 or 6 but that was the first time on two wheels and it left an impression, not only in the shed!
Dirt: So you started out riding trials, what was that like?
Scott: Yeah it all started when I was 5 or 6 on the PW50 then when I got a bit taller and stronger I progressed onto a TY80 and that came form my Dad who did trials for 20 years previous to that. We knew Stu Thompson and Crawford Carrick-Anderson who rode trials and the scene was great.
Dirt: Fort William World was your first introduction to DH, you were there in 2002 when Kovarik dominated, storming to a historic win by over 14s beating Gracia, Rennie along with Nico and a bunch of other big names. How was that and what instigated you to go?
Scott: Yeah, I saw an interview in The Scotsman with Crawfy and with me and my Dad knowing him from trials we just went over and watched. After thinking it looked pretty rad the progression started like many, up the local woods playing about. Building some dodgy jumps and just riding, after some time me and my Dad decided to give racing a go. 18 months later we did a few Scottish rounds and the following year it kicked off.
Always smiling and he’s got good reason to.
Dirt: You mentioned Crawford Carrick Anderson and Stu Thompson, both those guys were well into trials back then as you and your Dad were. How did they influence your early riding?
Scott: Stu actually used to live in the same village as me, I met him at the trails when I was 12 and I was star struck by the local sponsored rider. I remember seeing him in Jon Beckett’s film Going Native and then watch him ride the same rhythm set in our local woods, I remember thinking of him as a bit of an idol!
Dirt: You started in DH, how long did you race and what was it like back then?
Scott: Yeah I started racing in Youth when I was about 14, racing with Josh (Bryceland) and Danny (Hart), Sam Dale was around too predominantly Scottish Races in Winter. I got pretty close to Danny once, I think he beat me by about 4 seconds and thats the closest I have ever got to him. From there I did 2nd year junior and did a couple of World Cups, I didn’t qualify in the first year but in the 2nd I qualified in Fort William which was pretty special with the crowd and with some knowing who you are was pretty cool.
Dirt: Sounds like you enjoyed racing downhill back then? With the likes of Hart and Bryceland posting top results in Elite DH over the last few years, what made you move across to Enduro?
Scott: I guess the biggest thing was riding with the university bike club. We used to go out on big rides on 5 inch bikes and ride the downhill runs for fun at the end of the ride. It just became the riding I did more and more, with little uplift access in Scotland it was just easier to get into being able to ride out of my door. Then the emerging Enduro race scene I decided to enter some and I took the overall win in the Winter series back in 09/10. I then placed will in Elites in Innerleithen at the first Gravity Enduro, after chasing Chris Ball and Crawfy, pretty good people to be chasing down the stages!
Style and speed, the perfect Enduro combination.
Dirt: So you raced some of the EWS in 2013, did you do any other events?
Scott: Yeah I did three rounds of the Sram Specialized Enduro Series and got some good results at those. I also did the Ishgal European Open, and got a 6th place there which was a great result. I landed some good stage times especially on the shorter ones with my DH background so that made a difference in the overall.
Dirt: The deal with Cube is a big move for you, how did that come about?
Scott: Basically I started riding for Cube UK and got introduced to the big HQ in the Netherlands, from there I just spent time networking at races. The local races I went to were more chilled and people had time to talk so those really gave me an opportunity to move things forward. The 6th at Ishgal opened things up more and Cube said they might be able to help me out for 2014.
When we got to Finale I chatted to the guys more but then after the race it all went a bit quiet. I’d been told I would be getting an offer but didn’t know if that was from Cube UK or the main team. Then Claus the Action Team manager got in touch and asked if I would like for the Action Team and the answer was of course yes!
Dirt: All sounds pretty straightforward, knowing the right people and putting yourself out there. Now the deal is done what sort of support are you getting from Cube?
Scott: Yeah it’s great to be sorted for 2014 and 2015 now, I’ve got a great setup with Cube. I’ll be travelling with the team, full support from all the sponsors and then as with all the guys we will get full mechanical support at all the races. Thats a really big thing for me, last year I spent evenings sorting the bike and getting into bed tired and sometimes stressed so things will be a lot better with Cube.
Racer and engineer, a future in bikes is on the cards for Scott.
Dirt: Having just finished a degree in mechanical engineering can you see your love for riding combining with your education?
Scott: Well I guess there are two ways of looking at that, I’d love to be a pro racer full time and live the dream but then I’d also like to use what I have learnt in the bike industry and develop products and bikes too. I’m excited to be working with Cube as such a young company with so much energy so maybe I can give some ideas back to them as well.
Dirt: What was your dissertation on at uni?
Scott: I actually did it on bike suspension, analysing performance mainly. I had a power meter on the cranks and one on the wheel, measuring the difference suspension makes to pedalling forces. After getting a base reading with a steel bar in place of the shock I went through the shocks settings to give feedback on power. It was interesting and I learnt some stuff that I have taken into racing.
Dirt: With the Enduro label popping up all over the place the discipline is growing pretty fast, you are doing the EWS but what else is on the cards for 2014?
Scott: 100% on the EWS and there is a team goal with the whole series in points. I’ll be at the SRAM Specialized events, some Scottish races and some in England so pretty busy.
Dirt: What was your favourite event of 2013?
Scott: Finale, the sea, finishing on the beach and the trails were just amazing. The stages had everything, speed technical stuff and just good trails, all the bases were covered.
Dirt: How about 2014, what are you looking forward to the most?
Dirt: Looking ahead to 2014 which event are you looking forward to most
Scott: I’m really excited for Chile, a whole new experience for me having never visited South America and the terrain looks amazing. It’s going to be interesting with the altitude but I’m just going to have to wait and see.
Dirt: Nice one Scott, best of luck for 2014 and beyond.
Scott: Cheers guys!
Scott joins Nico Lau, André Wagenknecht, Gusti Wildhaber, Ludwig Döhl and Laura Brethauer for 2014 and 2015. We will be keeping up with Scott throughout the season and wish him the best of luck with his new team.