In the second installment of our Dirt Cover Star stories, former Shropshire World Cup racer Neil Donoghue tells us what he’s up to now.
Donny graced issue#73 or the hardtail issue as it’s known.
What do you remember much about the #73 cover shot?
Well I have got the cover framed above my desk, I am pretty proud of that. It is the only proper cover shot I have had.
I remember finding the wall ride. It was somewhere I have ridden for years and I looked at the wall loads of times. Eventually myself and Cunny were out doing a shoot with Victor Lucas for something or other and we stopped in where the wall ride was. I dug a little ramp into it and hit it about 5 times, Victor seemed pretty pleased with it and that was that. I was pretty shocked when it showed up on the cover.
So, where the hell have you been?!
I am still here! I suppose i dropped off the face of the earth as far as mountain biking is concerned. I stopped racing for a couple of reasons really. I hit a few snags with sponsorship that made it pretty easy to just pack it in, but to be honest that was sort of the straw that broke the camel’s back. I was not getting the results I wanted, I felt like I was putting in loads of effort and not getting much out and not doing anyone justice.
As well as that I had been racing since 1995, doing every national since something like 1997 so it came to a point where I had been there, done that and wasn’t enjoying it as much as I used to. For a while I just jacked it all in, I didn’t ride a bike for a couple of months. But after that I got back on it and started to enjoy my riding more than I had in years and got the bug back. Now when I go riding it feels like i improve every time, I feel like I am pushing myself again, not like I am just going through the motions, like it did feel for a while.
Where do you live now?
I still live in Shrewsbury. Shropshire lad born and bred, strong in the arm, thick in the head.
What’s your full time job?
I am a bit of a jack of all trades at the moment. I work at One Planet Adventure a couple of days a week, which is a cool place to work. I set up Neil Donoghue Coaching, which is fun. I do quite a bit of coaching at One Planet Adventure and I have got some stuff starting soon on the freeride course at Llandegla when that is ready.
I am lucky to be sponsored by Renthal, so I have some nice bars, stem, chain rings etc. on my bikes and we are going to be testing a few bits and bobs.
Also I run Shropshire Camper Hire which is a campervan hire business, great for mountain bike trips!- so check it out… www.shropshirecamperhire.co.uk
You’re a superfast rider, will we ever see you race again?
Thanks. Well funny you should say that, I am planning it at the moment. I miss racing a lot, and I want to get back at it. I have a got a bit of work to do but I want to be back racing world cups. I feel like I have still got the speed and more motivation than I have had in a long time. I even got the turbo trainer out of the loft last week.
What are your future plans?
To enjoy my riding and racing. I have always enjoyed going out and finding stuff that will make nice photos and I am on a mission at the moment to find a big hip jump with a good background. If i see a good photo in a magazine it inspires me to get out there and build stuff.
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If you want to save yourself some pain and learn from Donny’s mistakes then check out www.neildonoghuecoaching.co.uk