25 years of World Cup racing – Sam Hill

The flat pedal thunder

Video: Jones
Edit: Kat Georgudis

One of the most exciting racers ever, Sam Hill tore apart World Cup fields with alarming regularity. Quiet and evasive in the pits, Hill was a monster on track, taking lines on track that nobody else would, or could, hang with and pulling out huge margins.

Two legendary runs stick out from Hill’s career, although interestingly they are heroic defeats rather than tremendous victories. The first was Champery, clattering down in biblical rain and matching the times of the guys who were hitting the world’s hardest track in the dry. The second, Val di Sole, a ten second dismantling scuppered on the last corner.

But tragedy makes a great story, Sam’s legacy was built primarily on the regular beatings he doled out – 8.23 seconds in Schladming, 673 seconds in Pila, 5.14 seconds again in Schladming – only Vouilloz has consistently humiliated the field as much.

Photo: Stewart Wilkins

Hill’s glory years came on Iron Horse and with sticky daps and on kind of tracks that proper racers enjoy. If it was steep, techy and rooty, Sam Hill became the only one man to look out for in practice.

What SamHill brought to downhill was drama, he is responsible for creating expectation and giving belief to what is possible on a bike even if few can match Hill on his day. When this man drops out of the startgate he puts people on the edge of their seats. He put the fear into his rivals because he could be such a world apart. Another level.

Key stats

Year of brith – 1985
Height – 1.75m
Weigh – 75kg
Wins – 13
Podiums – 41

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