Laurie Greenland 1
Laurie Greenland 1

The new junior category in this year’s World Cup series has been a big success, a high level transition into the big time. Next year National and BDS Youth Champion Laurie Greenland fills the void left by some of the outgoing juniors. He has had a great year riding for WideOpen mag and Nukeproof, but the super quick fella from Bristol was bound to draw some attention. Maybe change is in the pipeline for 2014 (he’s just signed up with 23 Degrees Sports Management and looks set to take up a new ride), but as long as that style and big smile is there he'll be sorted. We recently caught up with him.

DIRT ISSUE 141 - NOVEMBER 2013

Words by Steve Jones. Photos by Steve Jones

Dirt: Are you happy or sad the season has finished?

Laurie: The season for me is the main part of the year, so I will always be gutted when it’s over. On the other hand I have just broken my arm so I am glad not to be missing out.

Ten downhill races from February until September, not exactly packed?

Yeah not exactly packed. But if you chuck some BMX nationals and regionals in you do have a fully stacked season.

Highs and lows this season?

My highs of this season have to be Fort William national and Hafjell World Cup, both for very different reasons. In Fort Bill I pretty much had my best ever result, and in Norway too, that was rad riding a World Cup as a course opener but not racing.

Not a bad season, you won most nationals, right?

Yeah, this season was unreal. Somehow I reached every single one of my goals, except one, winning Chatel iXS. And I also just had so much fun this year.

Talk us through the year. Combe you got smoked?

Yeah in Combe Sydenham I definitely got smoked, two crashes in my race run was pretty bad. Third place for me there, maybe I was too excited to race after the off–season or something, but I think I was trying to hard.

Then at the Fort you smoked everyone!

Ha ha, yeah Fort William went well. I stepped it back a bit and watched the Dirt Josh Bryceland flow video! Everything fell into place from there and I won by almost 10 seconds.

Similarly at Innerleithen? But then narrowly beaten in Llangollen,

Yep, Innerleithen also went as well as it could have, confident from Fort Bill I also took the win there. Llangollen was a hard one for me, I felt great but in seeding I crashed due to a blown–out track and it just knocked me a bit, I got second in the end there but no seeding points and it really made things close coming into the overall with my good buddy Frazer McCubbing.

You won the National Champs.

The National Champs at Bala was a really great race, a great track and venue and people wanting the win badly. I managed to take the win there with an over the bars mid run, I was really lucky as most of my main competition crashed as well, I managed to get back up pretty quick though and went full aggro until the end. It paid off as I was a few seconds up on everyone else.

Close one at Bringewood.

Bringewood was extremely close, it all came down to the line in the finals for the overall. I rode a calculated race, not wanting to get too far to the limit with the overall in play. I was stoked that it paid off, I came in second, just ahead of my rival by literally nothing and took the overall win. It could have gone the other way due to the lost points crashing at Combe Syd’ and Llangollen. I had a lot of fun racing some good competition this year.

Been away this summer?

Yeah this summer me and my dad went shredding in the European Alps, it was so cool having him back on a bike after a long–winded knee injury. We rode some of the best riding that you can and also tied in an iXS European Cup round and Norway World Cup.

Great experience at the Chatel iXS? Not far off in seeding?

Chatel was a great race, I felt good for it and thought I could do well in the final and had loads of fun with my dad and some Brits in practice. It was really cool to meet some other youth riders as well. On the Sunday it rained a lot and the track totally changed for race runs, nearly every rider fell off. I went totally off the track, got covered in mud and thought ‘oh well that’s it’ and went to start cleaning all the kit and bikes for the long drive back to the UK. I was surprised to be told later out having pizza I had got fourth and the sixth fastest second split of the day! The race was good, I hope to do some more iXS races soon.

I’m assuming your aim is to race World Cups and travel?

That is definitely the main aim, racing around the world with all your buddies and getting paid for it, in my eyes there is nothing better than that. Especially after my experience in Norway.>>

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[part title="INTO THE VOID - LAURIE GREENLAND | BULLET PROOF TALENT PAGE TWO..."]

Laurie Greenland 4
Laurie Greenland 4

Where is all the Greenland training done? You ride BMX and mixed riding?

Yeah mixed riding, a lot of BMX in the winter, I feel that it helps me with DH endlessly. And also a fair amount of gym work, only body weight stuff though, all the gym work is now aided by the great trainer Andy Wadsworth.

23 Degrees, Martin Whiteley management, how did that come about? And a nice bit of winter sun in Granada on the cards?

That all came about by getting some good results and some good words being put in. Ha ha maybe, we will pop up in the winter.

What are your thoughts on Taylor's (Vernon) year?

Taylor is a rad lad who wants to do well. It’s easy to form opinions with hindsight but at the end of the day if you know you can win you’re not going to just sit back and let it go are you? With a bit of bad luck with punctures and stuff maybe there was a little added pressure to get a good result, but we all put pressure on ourselves to improve and that’s a part of stepping up to World Cup level.

Have you chatted to him about it?

Yeah, he’s a good mate of mine and he told me we had almost identical results from our last Youth years, so I will learn what I can from his experiences. He’s making good progress so I’m looking forward to riding and racing with him again.

What riders, locations, events inspire you?

The riders that have inspired me the most are Steve Peat, Sam Hill, Aaron Gwin, Troy Brosnan, Loic Bruni and mostly my dad!

It all begins to ramp up in the Juniors? The transition into Elite.

Yeah it does, I will try to find my feet and get some good results. A big goal of mine is to be selected for the World Champs in Norway next year, and for the step up to elite that’s a couple of years away, but I know it’s what I want to do and I will do what I can to make it happen for sure.

What about bikes for 2014? How important is the bike to you?

The bike means a lot to me, mainly the sizing and geometry, my dad always made sure I had the right size bike from day one and I know that helped me a hell of a lot.

Do you believe a bike has an effect on the result of a race?

Yeah for sure it does, if you don’t feel comfortable you don’t feel confident and that’s pretty much the core of what you need to be successful.

What are your thoughts on Aaron Gwin?

Aaron Gwin is a legend. Dominating like that is no fluke and you have to respect him for it. Maybe a bike, rider and set–up meet every now and then and form the ultimate combo!

What were your thoughts on the World Championships in South Africa?

I think it’s not the way DH should go, but also mixing it up a bit allows for different winners which is always exiting, also I haven’t actually been there so I can’t judge too much.

What would be the style tracks in your ultimate World Cup series?

Fast and rough tracks with a good amount of technical sections and some big jumps, also the places with a great atmosphere like Fort William.

Do you have a strategy at races?

Yeah, well just a bit, I like to make sure I am fully prepared for a race run and have a good warm up with a bit of joking around at the top, that normally sets me up nicely.

The shoot with Greenland had gone extremely well, he’d hit every line bang on target. I can only remember Cedric Gracia being so quick to tune and turn on to the job in hand. It’s going to be an interesting year for him, after all he fills some big boots especially as UK riders have had such a successful season in the new Junior World Cup. He’s committed and has great style and awareness on a bicycle.