Hyperformance Hardware and Nelson’s own Brady Stone has been turning corners and heads in the New Zealand mountain bike racing scene for over a year now. These days he’s turning heads internationally as he starts to rack up consistent race results as well as titles at major overseas events. Currently 2nd in the Under 21 Enduro World Series rankings Brady is attending the final EWS event for the 2019 season in Zermatt, Switzerland on 21 September. We caught up with Brady last week and put a few questions to him about the experiences he has had this year travelling and racing and his plans for the near future.
1. Last season in New Zealand something seemed to click with you and your racing. What do you think it was during 2018 that allowed you to improve your speed and consistency in racing?
I think just getting on a bike that I was comfortable riding and starting to get more experience with racing. After a couple of good results I was more confident with my riding and the speed just builds with that and having fun riding.
2. What have been the main differences in the racing on the international EWS events compered to racing at home?
Racing at home is always fun because it’s familiar and you know what to expect. The level seems really high in NZ at the moment when NZ riders are doing so well internationally so it will be good racing in NZ in the off season to stay sharp. International races are different because you are in new places with different terrain, language, culture and it's a really fun and exciting challenge to learn the trails in practice and adjust to the difference and finishing an international race is really satisfying.
3. What has been your favourite country to travel to this year for the both the riding and other the aspects of the destination?
That's tricky because each race has been really different and fun but I think Madeira with a highlight for sure. The island is amazing and the trails are so fun as well! I just wanted to stay longer and explore more of the place. Trans Madeira is on the bucket list now for sure.
4. What has been your favourite event that you have attended this year both inside and outside the EWS?
Whistler Crankworx was definitely a highlight, and even though I only raced the EWS It was sweet getting to ride the jump lines in Whistler bike park when we weren't practicing and racing.
5. The weapon you are racing on is the 2019 Bronson . This bike was one of the first in a series that have moved to the lower link driven VPP system that we have seen roll out on a number of redesigned models this year. What advantages do you feel this platform gives you over previous bikes you have ridden?
Compared to other bikes I've ridden which do some things well, the Bronson does everything well. It climbs well and the new low suspension linkage keeps the centre of gravity low which makes it feel really stable in corners and like it has more travel than it does when your smashing through rock gardens. I think since I jumped on the bike I just felt comfortable on it and that's the main thing if your trying to push your limits riding.
6. This international season you have been chasing the EWS all over the world. How have you managed the travel this international EWS season? What has been a highlight of the travel? What has been a lowlight?
So I have family in the UK and by staying with them and getting work in between EWS rounds it's allowed me to scrape through and complete my first EWS season. My highlights of the travel is all the people who have been so helpful and supportive making it possible for me to do this. Santacruz and Hyperformance Hardware have been a big help this season with getting me to Whistler and Northstar which I'm really grateful for, also the Nelson MTB Club for running a sponsorship event for me. My low light would be not being able to chill and hang out with mates since I've been in the UK all season but Its been the trade off for travelling the world racing every month and I wouldn't change anything.
7. There is one more round to go in the EWS series in 2019. How do you feel about maintaining your podium spot in the overall? And how do you feel about the chances of taking the title?
I will be pushing hard for the win in Switzerland but for the overall, the current leader would have to DNF so I think I'll end up holding my current position due to points gaps. If I can just do my best I'll be happy and stay on the bike to give Trophy of Nations a good shot with the other kiwis John Richardson and Nils Heiniger the weekend after.
8. You would not have achieved the results you did this year if you were not motivated and driven to succeed. So what does the future hold for Brady Stone ….. 2020 and beyond ….?
At the start of 2019 I was aiming for top 10 results but ended up 2nd in the series so far which I'm over the moon with but I've been so close all season that I'm now motivated to be U21 EWS world champ in 2020.
9. What strengths will you be aiming to leverage this coming New Zealand season and next year overseas?
I think most of the time I ride quite smooth and calm so that helps in racing where it's easy to push too hard and crash or make mistakes. I think I'll just keep riding smooth and let off the brakes a bit more.
10. What weakness will you be working on in the New Zealand season before heading away again next year?
I'll be working on upper body strength and sprint power as I feel like that's my weakness at the moment.
Thanks Brady. Go for it this weekend!