Mike Jones Interview: What's the Plan?
Mike Jones found consistency in 2013 in the first ever Junior World Cup series, but he missed out on winning the series (after leading it) by just four points, but did manage to take two wins. For 2014 he steps–up to the senior category and takes up a position with Sam Hill and Joe Smith on the Chain Reaction/ Nukeproof team. Words by Steve Jones, Images by Andy Llyod, Sven Martin and Steve Jones.
He found consistency in 2013 in the first ever Junior World Cup series, but he missed out on winning the series (after leading it) by just four points, but did manage to take two wins. For 2014 he steps–up to the senior category and takes up a position with Sam Hill and Joe Smith on the Chain Reaction/ Nukeproof team.
Taken from Dirt issue 144, February 2014
The boy from Abercregan then?
Mike Jones: Yes I am a 19 year old boy that lives in a little village called Abercregan, Wales.
Glyncorrwg, Cymmer, Croeserw, talk us around the highs and lows of life in the Afan Valley?
Mike Jones: Lows? Well it's a pretty small place up here and there are not many things you can do, especially where I live! Highs? The highs about living in the valleys is that you’re surrounded by mountains so it’s a perfect for riding, also there are trails all around me so I never have to travel to ride my bike.
You live in a beautiful area, once a mecca of mountainbiking. Had some hard times of late but coming back right?
Mike Jones: Yeah over the last two years the mountain biking up here has started to drop off, you don't see as many people riding the trails. There have been a few new trails and also the skills section has been put in, so hopefully it will start to pick back up again.
‘Last descent of The Wall’ is still a classic?
Mike Jones: Last descent of The Wall, such a good little section of trail but slowly getting worse through the lack of maintenance, but the new decent of Whites Level is the place to be, the trail is amazing.
Click through to view the full gallery of Mike Jones before reading on...
What were your early memories and downhill inspiration?
Mike Jones: My early memories of downhill? I can remember the first time I did downhill was back on a Kona hardtail in the local woods, then I got a Norco downhill bike and did my first race in the Forest of Dean. After that time has gone by so fast, I can remember watching videos on the Internet of the World Cups, it was a dream that one day maybe I could race them has well.
Come on then Mike, let’s talk bikes. Why you not riding the 27.5" Intense 951 Evo, it’s clearly faster (Jones is now riding on a Nukeproof)?
Mike Jones: 27.5 wheels, well it's not something that has been proven to be faster, we were talking about trying them for the 2013 World Champs but we never did. It's something that everyone has talked about and if you’re comfortable on 26" why change when it hasn't been proven that 27.5" is faster!
What’s been the talk amongst riders this season on the slightly bigger wheels?
Mike Jones: Well there's a lot of people say it’s quicker and a lot say it’s not!
Surely ‘slightly improved’ is better than stagnation?
Mike Jones: Yes every little improvement that can be made to go faster is always better for you to win races.
Are some riders stuck in their ways? How much fact based testing have you heard of?
Mike Jones: I wouldn't say people and racers are stuck in their ways, it's something that needs to be tested yourself and for you to say if you feel it's quicker or not. For me, I haven't heard of any facts been proven that 27.5" wheels are any quicker than 26" wheels.
‘3’s a crowd’, a video you starred in with Grant Boyce and Taylor Vernon, let’s talk about the latter, a good friend and a big move to GT. He went at it a bit hard maybe?
Mike Jones: Yeah me and Taylor have been friends for about three years now, when he signed for GT it was amazing news. Taylor has always been rapid on a bike, I wouldn't say he's gone too hard, yes it was a big step for Taylor going on the one of the biggest teams in racing, but anyone can crash and anyone can have a horrific injury.
An amazingly strong season, it was all meant to be about Taylor from what we read? But clearly the battle was always going to be you versus Taylor. It could have been a monumental battle of the Afan valley vs Garw valley!
Mike Jones: Yeah I had an amazing season. I had a few bad results, but I also had a few good results, I couldn't of asked for anything more. Yeah a lot of people said that Taylor was going to be really strong coming into the season and he didn't disappoint as I smashed the first two rounds of the BDS. I was looking forward to having the battle against him and having good races. I was a real shame at the World Cups when he got injured, it could have made things a lot more interesting.
You going to be pushing for next season?
Mike Jones: Next season is a big step for me as I’ll be moving up into elite. I'm pushing for good results as always, but hoping I can break into that top 20 and get consistent results going and have another amazing season.
Not been training too hard have you Mikey?
Mike Jones: No, not been training to hard just yet, things are starting to get tougher and a lot harder, but I’m pushing on and getting the hard work