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Interviews

Nico Vink

Name? Nico Vink.

Age? 25.

Where do you live? Sint–Niklaas,
Belgium.

Where do you ride? At home there
is no DH riding so I just ride trails
and motorcross. My local trails are
called MX trails, one of my favourite
spots to ride. In the winter I ride the
Sint–Niklaas skatepark. To ride DH I
go to the south of Belgium. In Namur
there is a good track with big jumps.
If I want to ride a bit more technical
stuff then I go to Chaudfontaine or
Huy. They’re not world cup tracks
but they’re fun to ride.

How long have you been riding
mountain bikes?
I have been
riding MTB since I was 8. Before
that, I rode BMX. My first DH race
was in 1998. It was the Belgium
champs. I rode a small cross country
hardtail bike. And I won the Cadet’s
class. The next year I got a Kona
Stab sponsorship from the Belgium
dealer, and things got bigger and
better from there.

There aren’t that many famous
downhillers from Belgium,
what’s the deal there?
I guess it’s
because there’s no mountains, and
it’s not easy to get in to it. There are
only four to five races in Belgium
over the season. If we want do
some more racing we have to go to
France or Germany. That makes it
expensive to start with, especially for
young kids.

What’s is your job? Racing DH.

What’s the worst job you’ve
had?
Nothing I can think of. I only
do stuff I like. Everything involving
computers.

What bikes do you own? Trek
Session 88, Trek Remedy, Trek Jack,
Trek 9.9, a Fly Bikes Panterra and a
Honda CR125.

What is it like riding for Trek
Dolphin?
It’s good, I’m able to
choose my own program and travel
with Sander the team mechanic.
He is an easy going guy and I have
been working with him for five years
now, since my first year on B1.
Sometimes it sucks to be the only
DH rider on the team. Beside that
it’s good.

Describe your downhill bike set–
up?
I’m riding a Trek Session 88,
medium size. My bars are 710mm
wide. I like my suspension to be
smooth in the beginning and hard in
the bottom. So it takes little and big
hits. Slow rebound in the back and a
little faster up front, because I don’t
like my back wheel kicking up and
my front to dive in. I’m Running a 38
chain ring. I’m running my brakes far
down because I’m riding far up front
on my bike.

How do you run your brakes?
Back brake on the right side.

Who are your favourite riders?
Dan and Gee Atherton, Sig Cools,
Piche, Brendan Fairclough, Kristof
Lenssens.

Which is your favourite track?
Val di Sole, the World Championship
track from this year.

If you could be any rider who
would it be and why?
It would be
a mix from Sam Hill, Stefan Everts
and Mike Aitken. So I would be good
in every sport that I like.

What does your training regime
involve?
I do lots of motorcross in
the winter. I train six days a week.
In December I start going to the
gym three times a week and I also
do some running and cross country
riding. Closer to the season I start
doing more sprint training. Next to
the physical part…I just ride every
day. In March I go to the south of
France to pick up DH riding and get
my flow back on real DH tracks.

Greatest riding achievement? At
the World Cup in Pila I got 12th.

Tell us about the dual this year
at Whistler?

I wasn’t planning to race it at first
but then I saw the track and it
looked too much fun to not race it,
but I didn’t have a bike. So I called
Andrew Shandro to see if he could
hook me up. He gave me a Trek
Jack that he used to lend to little
kids to jump in the foam pit. I just
got a RockShox fork, apart from that
the bike was stock. It still had cable
disk brakes. I had lots of fun racing
and it turned out good, I got second
behind JD Swanguen.

You are one of the most stylish
riders on the race scene, how
come?
I don’t know, I guess I just
got my style from riding lots of
skatepark and trails.

You ride a lot of BMX. Tell us
about that?

I have been riding BMX, longer then
I ride DH. I just love the flow of it.
And it’s easy to go and do it. It’s
just fun to hang out at the trails with
my friends and ride all day. Build
new stuff and try it out. In the winter
when it’s raining I’m able to go to
the skatepark and just ride when
it’s cold and dark outside. And I do
not like riding trails or skatepark on
my MTB, it just isn’t as good as on
a BMX.

Worst injury?
I cased a vert ramp on my BMX. I
got thrown over the bars and landed
on my face. And I only had a little
skate helmet. Got knocked out and
lost four teeth, broke my nose and
had a concussion.

What’s the funniest thing that
has happened to you this year?

Doing well in the dual at Crankworx
on a stock bike.

Tell us something we might not
know?
I don’t like swimming and
don’t like to eat fish.

What or who inspires you? My
friends who I ride with at home,
people that have fun riding and push
themselves to get better. Watching
World Cup finals.

What does the future hold for
Nico Vink?

I hope lots of riding, because there’s
nothing else that is that much fun.
Hope to find a deal so I’m able to
keep on racing next year.z

Belgian Downhill mountain bike rider Nico Vink

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