We recently sat down at the computer to nut out some hard hitting questions to put to our two Hyperformance Young Gun downhill hot shots. Both Finn and Tuhoto are soon to be heading overseas to test themselves against the worlds best juniors in the UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup. First up on the interview list is Finn Hawkesby-Brown.
1. What events do you plan to compete in while overseas this year?
World cup races at Andorra, Le Gets, Val di Sole & Lenzerheide. Also a couple of IXS European Cup races at Abertone & Pila (both in Italy). Hopefully I’ll get selected for the World Champs in Canada (Mont St Anne) too.
2. Who will be your travel buddies on your international travels?
We’ll be doing a family trip to Europe so I will be with my parents and little brother Felix. I’ll catch up with a few other kiwi juniors along the way and some of the older Christchurch riders.
3. What part of the world did you travel to last year to ride and race? How did this travel help you develop as a racer?
I did some riding in Whistler and Vancouver (Canada). This was my first overseas biking trip, but I haven’t raced outside NZ yet. I did 9 days in a row at Whistler Bike Park and felt like my riding improved as a result.
4. The racing in the junior category this past national season was very competitive. How do you think this competition sets you and the other kiwi juniors up for the international season ahead?
It was a good time battling with Tuhoto all season, and also as a first year junior (U19) it was good riding/racing with the older riders and being competitive. Tough competition made me push my limits and go faster than I had previously.
5. What aspect of your racing have your worked most on this past New Zealand national season?
Strength and fitness mostly. I’ve also grown quite a bit since the previous race season.
6. What kiwi riders inspire you to take your racing overseas?
Sam Blenkinsop, Cam Cole & Kieran Bennett have definitely been big influences. There have also been heaps of Chch riders who I’ve grown up with that have raced overseas (Rupert Chapman, Tom Matthews, Joe Nation, Boaz, Nils, Billy & Josh – sorry if I’ve missed anyone) so it’s always been a goal of mine to do it.
7. What is it that you love about Downhill racing in New Zealand? And overseas?
I like the variation of tracks and really I just love riding.
8. What changes have you made to your V10 29er from what I can buy off the shop floor? How important do you think it is to race with quality equipment when you are heading overseas to race at the highest level?
I raced the V10 29er the day after I got it (without changing anything). I felt at home on it straight away and got one of my best results ever.
I run Cush Core tyre inserts to help prevent flats and damaging my rims, and also to run lower pressures and get better grip. I’ve also made a few minor changes to the cockpit just for personal preference/feel.
The racing is so close that you really need everything to be running at 100%. It’s essential to have a good bike setup so you are able to ride at your best.
9. What international event are you most looking forward to this international season?
The first World Cup I’m heading to is in Andorra so I’m really looking forward that first experience. I was also really excited when I first heard that the World Champs were going to be at Mt St Anne. It’s an iconic venue, so I set that as a goal to get picked for the NZ team.
10. After the first world cup who will be the one(s) to beat in the junior category this season?
Thibaut Daprela (France), Ethan Shandro (Canada) and Kye A'Hern (Australia) obviously stand out. There are so many good riders!
11. What is your main goal for this coming international season?
At a World Cup race only 20 juniors qualify for the finals, so my aim is to qualify for each of the World Cup events I go to. My other main goal is to get selected for the World Champs team. Also riding at some new places, meeting new people and hopefully staying injury free!