Saladini leads. World Cup 4X, Maribor, Slovenia
Saladini leads. World Cup 4X, Maribor, Slovenia

Age? 25.

Where do you live? Sint–Niklaas,


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


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


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