Moto, BMX, 4x, the current crop of World Cup riders come from a variety of backgrounds, but perhaps the most unusual is Kenta Gallagher’s.
Kenta won a World Cup in cross country eliminator at Nove Mesto in 2013 and success in lycra beckoned, but it wasn’t his dream. Kenta was raised on gritty SDA downhill and only weaned himself onto cross country as it presented a way to make a living from bikes.
Fast forward to 2014 and Kenta was ready to follow his true passion. He gave himself three years to find sponsorship, in December he announced he had signed for Polygon after just two.
The story involves a chance meeting with Mick Hannah, a lack of bike set up and a lot of hard work. We caught up with Kenta to get the full briefing:
Coming into last season what were you aiming for? Were you hoping to perform well to get on a team or were you doing it just to see what would happen?
A bit of both really. When I decided I was going to give the downhill a go, I thought, “I don’t want to half arse this”. I set myself three years to get on a team and if I couldn’t do that I’d just go into real life and carry on.
I guess going into each year I just thought I would enjoy it as much as I could. I did a few years in cross country and I didn’t enjoy it. I know that’s the main reason why I didn’t do as well as I’d like to have done.
I knew if everything was stress free and I was doing it the way I want to , it should all just sort of come together. I tried to treat last year the same as the season before because I had loads of good fun and met new people. I just went in with an open mind again and thought: “as long as I stay injury free it’ll work out, hopefully”.