Following on from the hot news that Sam Hill has moved from Monster Energy/Specialized to CRC/Nukeproof we had a quick chat with Sam to find out more.
Hey Sam, this is a big team change for you, can you tell us your reason for leaving Monster Specialized and signing up with CRC/Nukeproof?
I was basically looking for a change and something fresh. I feel like it was getting too stale where I was at and it wasn’t working for me anymore. I wanted to be with a company whose focus was on downhill and a company that was going to get me excited. Nigel Page told me they were looking to bring on a new rider and I really liked the look of the new Nukeproof Pulse. I actually tested the bike out and after my first run down the hill my mind was made up. I had a huge smile on my face and think there’s great potential working with Chain Reaction and Nukeproof.
How many years have you signed for?
I signed for 2 years with the option for another 2 after that if were all happy with things.
Was it difficult for you to tell Sean Heimdal (previous team manager) that you were moving on?
Yeah, I was a little nervous, we have worked together for the last ten years and we are good friends. I didn’t want him to take me moving on personally and be offended, but its all good.
How much time did you spend riding the Pulse before making a decision and what were your first impressions of the bike?
I felt more comfortable on the Pulse straight away than my race bike from last year. Like I said I had my mind made up after my first run. I was impressed.
Your last bike, the Demo 8 was kind of custom built for you, are you going to run a stock Nukeproof? Have you tried making any adjustments to the geometry yet? Any custom tweaks?
Yes, I have in my contract that I can change things if I want to. I actually tested out a few things just to see how it would make the bike handle and kept going back to their stock size medium. It has impressed me how good the bike actually is.
You, Sean and your mechanic Jacy had a very close working relationship, I know Nige (CRC/Nukeproof manager) is a super nice guy, but how easy do you think it will be for you to adjust to the new set up especially with a new mechanic? Is there a chance that Jacy might join the team?
Yeah, right now there’s a chance Jacy will come and work with us. I hope he does as I think he will really enjoy it. I have always got along well with Pagey and like the way he operates things. It’s going to be different at first but I’m sure a couple races in things are going to feel right at home. Everything in dealing with Nigel and the team so far has been amazing as a rider; there’s been a huge amount of support from them.
How about your new teammates Matt Simmonds and Joe Smith, have you met those lads before? You’ll probably take the pressure off them to perform which should make them ride better too!
I have briefly talked to them both before. They seem like really cool guys and pretty laid back so I think we will get on awesome. They are both awesome riders and showed that last year so I’m looking forward to riding with them and all helping each other.
How about your sponsors? Any change there or any conflict with the CRC team?
Yes, there are a few changes, I’m going to be on a full range of Nukeproof components, Mavic wheels, Schwalbe tires, I’ll still be running SRAM drive train, Rockshox suspension and Avid brakes. I feel comfortable on all the changes and really happy with things.
So, can you tell us which round or rounds of the British Downhill Series are you racing? I know the Brits are going to be stoked to see you racing a national.
Yeah, I’ve wanted to race some British nationals for a little while now. I’m happy that it’s going to work out this season. I’m still sorting the schedule out with the team to see what’s going to work but I’ll defiantly be at 1 or 2 rounds. I’m looking forward to it for sure.
How do you find racing now that you’re a dad? Do you find it difficult to leave your family behind and travel especially with your son Bam being so young? Will they join you at the races?
It has been hard for sure. I think because he was our first child it was hard on my fiancé figuring it all out as first time parents. I also didn’t want to miss out on his development while I was away so I got pretty home sick. He has grown so fast and it’s been amazing but now I have to go win some races for them. I’m hoping they can come support me at a couple races but that’s undecided at the moment.
Do you think World Cup racers have upped their game recently or have you dropped off the pace? I mean, you were in a different league for a couple of years, but after maybe that shoulder injury in Fort William you seemed to struggle, well maybe not struggle but not dominate as you had been. Is injury the main factor?
I think the game has changed. It’s like anything in life things get better and when you’re not there it’s hard to keep up, so being injured has made it hard. I’m happy I stayed healthy last season and although I didn’t get the results I wanted I learnt a lot and know how fast I need to be. I think this season I will be back where I need to be.
What are your goals for 2013? I want to win!
Which tracks are you looking forward to this season? Fort Will, Val di Sole, Vallnord and Mont Sainte Anne are all tracks that have your name on!
To be honest I’m excited for them all. I’m real happy Willingen got cancelled haha. But probably most looking forward to kicking it off in Ft William.
What other races will you do this year? Crankworx? Aussie Nationals?
Yeah Aussie nationals, a couple British rounds, possibly Crankworx.
What does your off season training regime consist of? What sort of exercise and activities do you do? Have you got a personal trainer? Special diet?
I’m working with my coach that I’ve had for the last few years. No crazy diet, just trying to be healthy. Training is going good so far. Been out on the road bike more than normal and testing clip pedals just in case I whip them out somewhere this season.
Are you riding clips now or still on the flat pedals?
Haha downhill for sure on flats for now but I’ll never say never. Even though I want too.
Have you added any more tattoos recently?
Not yet but I’m booked in for a couple before the season starts. Gotta get my little boy on me somewhere.
I love jokes, even bad jokes, have you heard any recently?
Why was the blondes belly button bruised? Her husband was blonde too!
Thanks very much Sam, any final words?
I think I deserve a nice Dirt cover for all these questions. Shredding on the Nukeproof?
Ha, we’ll see what we can do! Thanks very much and good luck for the season.