After winning National Champs, I went to Revolution Bike Park and it was a little bit greasy and I was jumping over this blind crest. I remember looking down and thinking: “this is going to hurt, I’m going to have to tense pretty hard for this one.”
The next thing I come back and James Foster is pulling me off the track and my bike was totaled. I was out for 30 seconds max but I knew as soon as I came round my wrist was not in a good place – broken in two places. That ruined the rest of the season for me.
How do you look back on the season as a whole though? Did the second half ruin it for you?
No, it was an amazing season. I’ve achieved so much already and I’ll be forever thankful for that. Without a lot of people, I wouldn’t be able to say I can ride my bike for a living. Not many people can say that they do what they want to do for a job. I just want to keep having fun.
From an outsiders perspective it seems like the longer, rougher tracks suit you best. Do you feel like your fitness is a step above the other juniors?
Yeah. Every time I go to the gym and I’ve absolutely nailing myself, on the floor sweating, Phil Dickson (coach) says: “Look mate, there’s no other junior in this country or probably in the world that’s trained as hard as you have done in this gym session.”
I just batter myself and put myself in pretty dark places just so that the work’s done and I feel I can just literally go out, grab my downhill bike and have fun. From now until September is my reward to go and have fun and ride my downhill bike.
You vs Finn Iles is probably going to be one of the big stories this year. Do you worry about what he’s doing?
Nah, I don’t worry about him. He has got the biggest target on his back of any of us by a long way. He’s Whip Off champ, he’s World Champion, he’s a phenomenal bike rider, and I have a lot of respect for him, but by the same token, I want to have what he’s got.
How much of an eye do you have on Seniors at a race weekend?
I’m really bad for it. I come home from a race weekend and I could have won juniors by five seconds but if I haven’t beat a certain senior I get upset about it. I just don’t like getting beaten by anyone. In a year’s time I’m going to be racing those boys every weekend so I’ve got to try and be there. Simmonds and Beaumont are good lads to have on the team because if you’re riding at their pace you’re riding well
Every 17-year-old reading this will dream of the life you’re living. What do your mates think of it?
The thing is, where I live my mates from school don’t have any interest in mountain biking at all. They really struggle to understand it. A lot of my friends are just into football and I didn’t really have much chance to talk about mountain biking because nobody really cared, I was always the odd one out. Since I left school I haven’t been to college or anything and I’d say 90 per cent of my mates are at the races anyway.
Looking forward to next season what are your goals and expectations?
I’d say I’ve got as good as a chance everyone else and I’m in a pretty good position where I feel like I can ride my bike well so I am confident.
I’ve got a bit more knowledge this year than last. Every track I go to I’ve already ridden, so that helps. First runs won’t be so blind. But obviously I haven’t ridden Mont Sainte Anne so that’ll be interesting. That’ll be a good one to because it’s man’s track, if you win there you’re balling.
I’d like to do well at Fort William this year. High speed tracks probably suit me the best – where you can grip on and go for it. Obviously I’ve done well at Cairns before and that’s where Worlds is so I have to be in with a shout…
Any last words?
Just a massive thanks to the Madison Saracen team and all my sponsors