[audio url="http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/We-Are-The-Champions-Clip.mp3" title="We are the Champions!"]

Part three of four, we caught up with Loic Bruni to see how he was doing and get a few words on last year's Champs, fishing, the new rules on juniors and the obligatory wheel size question. Have a look here:

You can't always smile on the podium, and you never know when Seb Schieck is going to point his camera at you.

So Loic, how’s the off season going? Full-time training? Or do you prefer to chill and go fishing?

Yeah I chilled out until November after a big season, went back to university and having fun with the friends, having some cool rides and I bought a motocross bike because I wanted absolutely to try riding a moto! It's always good to have a break... But we decided with my coach to train more seriously for 2013 because I'm not a kid anymore, so I began to train pretty hard at the end of the year and I planned to go to New Zealand for races and testing. We do a lot of other things than riding a bike but we're training too! And yeah I went with fishing the Blenkinsop family. It was sick! Haha

You’ve moved up to senior category since last year – a huge step up?

Yes, I think the gap between the junior years and the senior is really hard, just few awesome riders like Danny Hart, Bryceland or Blenky are usually able to get top 10 on the first year elite, so I'm trying to get ready for the season and I hope the step up will not be too big. I know I can do top 10 but the races are harder and harder so the results are hard to keep regular.

And you’ve got Junior Word Champ title! A big surprise or something you’ve been aiming for?

To be honest I wanted it in 2011 too, but the final day in Champéry, Troy explained me how to ride a bike so I took a lesson and the 2012 title was a big goal. I knew it was possible but the other juniors were pretty fit and fast on a bike park track, not too technical, so it was like a surprise when the race ended... Ouffff!

Loic mid-flow on his finals run. Concentration in bucket loads.
Loic Bruni

On the topic of the junior category, what’s your opinion of this new UCI rule giving the juniors their own race?

This new rule needs to be tried but I don't agree with it. The juniors can't ride with their fastest friends like I did with Blenky and Cam. When we arrive on the World Cup circuit, we need to learn the lines and speed from the elite riders, that's how we become as fast as we can, otherwise we progress slower, and the new juniors will ride with the girls, so they will ride like girls..!

You’re still with Lapierre then – any changes to your bike?

Yeah I waited to see if I had offers from the other teams but not really. I wanted to keep going with the people who taught me and trusted me since the beginning, the staff was good and my mechanics Jack Racing were awesome, like a family. A lot of things have changed during the off season like the start of Cam or the one of my manager Cyril Lagneau, I wasn't too confident to begin a new season without Cyril but I'm just a rider so I just have to ride my bike as fast as I can...

We're working hard to improve the bike and the Lapierre brand is really pushing in the downhill so we’re gonna have a better bike race after race, to try winning haha! We have a full Sram package too, I'm happy with that the suspension is awesome, so the bike will be a little bit different even if Lapierre didn't want to change the colours of the frame. What a shame!

Obligatory question about wheel sizes. Trying anything bigger?

We've tried, yeah, we've tried! But not enough to say if it could be faster on a World Cup track... We'll see.

What are your goals for this year?

This year is supposed to be hard when you move to senior, so I would like to keep improving my riding and still have fun with the good friends. For the results I would like some good ones for sure - top tens and why not podium! I will try to be a top rider after my 2 years post junior and I will be happy.

What’s it like to ride on a team with the riders who inspire you? Does the novelty wear off?

It was like a dream come true to be in the same team as Blenky, he’s my idol since he’s junior so I really admire him, it’s amazing or a junior to ride with top riders. So I tried to do the same as them on the track and for the training to find my own way to race a World Cup fast. And now we’re good friends with Sam and Cam. Just a lot of opportunities and good moments!

Race day – do you have any rituals? Some riders relax to music, some wear lucky socks… Anything in the Bruni mentality?

I’ve seen some rituals for couple of riders and it’s interesting, it’s important for us to do some stuff which makes us more confident, haha! I had some Fox socks that I wore every race day but I crashed in Val d’Isere so I stopped using them. I always have a little sleep with my legs up just before the final run, and a nocks with my mechanic Jack…

What three words best describe the feeling of sitting at the start gate looking at a potential win?

Focus, 100%, death or glory

When did you start riding bikes, and why? And at what point did you decide it was the career for you?

I started really early because my dad was racing downhill and I did some XC and BMX too but downhill was so much fun! Barel and Vouilloz live close to me so I saw them lots and wanted to become like them. I began the French cups with good results, then Sunn helped me and after Lapierre and I liked racing more and more. I’m still at university so I try to keep a foot in real life but I have more time for the training and stuff so I’m taking a little chance to begin a career but I will see how it’s going those year to know if I focus only on the riding or stay on the studies, so I hope I will be fast!

Are you in this for the long-run? Do you have any goals for, say, five years time, or is it all about winning the next race?

Yeah, I definitely want to make my mark on the history of riding, so I would like to fight for the win in five years and be in the minds of the people and kids who are riding.

What do think of Pietermaritzburg as the location for World Champs? A good track?

I like Pietermaritzburg for riding but for racing it’s another story, sooooo physical it’s the hardest track for the legs, I think that the race will be close for really few rider like strong ones, not as all the World Cups where 10 riders can win… Like I know I’ll never win south Africa!!! Need some real big downhill track like Val di Sole or Mont St Anne!

And to finish, something different. What’s your favourite track, and why?

Windham for sure because you feel so good all the way down , it’s short and intense, fast and loose with good jumps and class sections, I love this kind of track, not too many lines and you need lot of rhythm. I ‘m sad there is no more World Cup in this track!