Off The Drop | Luke Williamson
It’s great to support young talent, especially when they are based just around the corner from Hunt HQ. Privateer Luke Williamson fits the bill perfectly and this young ripper will be out racing at the World cups for the coming season. Luke may only be 18, but has been supported by factory teams such as the Atherton’s and Propain for many years, before he made the leap into the Elite category this year, so he already has a load of experience on going, fast.
We caught up with him before this season kicked off for a little chat and to pick his brains.
Name: Luke Williamson
Ice Breaker! Describe yourself in 3 words Driven to succeed
What’s your secret hobby/passion away from the bike? Wouldn’t really say I have a secret passion away from riding bikes. I enjoy riding motocross and ride a few different disciplines on bikes so but no secret passions. Riding bikes, whatever the type, keeps me busy enough.
What is your earliest cycling memory? I can just about remember my very first time without stabilizers riding down our lane. Think I was only two, my dad sure did start me young.
How did you get into riding? I used to race motocross and my dad used to race road Motorbikes so generally anything involving two wheels and speed appealed to us. My mum booked a holiday in Les Gets so that we could do some general mountain tourism and a bit of mountain biking. Me and my dad hired downhill bikes, did some laps and I loved it. We went back the next year and ended up buying a bike from one of the rental shops whilst we were out there. I’m pretty close to Rogate Bike Park so I spent plenty of hours on it once we got back.
First bike & favourite bike? First proper downhill bike was a Mondraker Kaiser, it was the one we bought whilst out in Les Gets, she was a hefty piece. Current favorite is the 161, does it all so I spend a lot of time on that.
If you could ride 1 trail for the rest of your life, what would it be? Vallnord World Cup track, got pretty spot on mix of high speed, steeps, tech, roughness and flow all mixed together to make a pretty crazy good track.
So many riders these days are turning their backs on racing and finding new and exciting ways to express themselves and their sponsors on the bike via social media. How has your perception of riding and racing changed, if at all, as the years have gone by? I’m still just a hardcore racer through and through. I can see why sponsoring media based riders appeals to brands and also why some riders might want to step away from the high pressure racing environment and find other ways to pursue a career but that’s just not really what I’m about. My personal goals are still racing based.
Obviously, we are in pretty challenging times at the moment, what are you doing to stay sane during isolation? I think sometimes I just go a little crazy but generally I have a fair bit to get on with. College, fitness training and riding keeps me plenty busy enough.
What does a normal week look like for a DH world cup racer? (training around studying) Generally on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays I’ll have college and some sort of fitness training to do, I’ll sometimes squeeze a little ride in as well. Wednesdays and weekends, I usually just get plenty of bike time in.
If you could have anyone’s riding style, who's would it be? Probably Bruni, the guy always looks so in control, would love to be able to ride that fast and stay that composed.
Which events are you most excited about racing or attending next year? Hmm, I’d say Maribor World Cup, such a sick track. It’s high speed and hard pack with big compressions, has a bit of a Morzine Pleney feel about it in places as well which tends to be a good thing.
Apart from MTB what else makes you tick? As I previously mentioned motocross is something that I really enjoy doing outside of MTB. A bit like MTB it’s rewarding when you feel like you’ve done a jump or corner good. Pretty good training as well, I’m usually hanging by the end of a session.
Goals for next year? I’d just like to qualify for all of the world cups and maybe squeeze into the top 30 at a race or two if I feel good. World Cup racing is super tough, it’d be good just to start building a base in the elite ranks and keep improving over time. Usually I just adapt my goals as I go along so they may well change depending on how I do at the first race this year.
What has been your worst crash over the years? Would have to be my crash coming into the finish at Lousa. Massive nose dive of a drop and then a big OTB. Somehow no major injuries just felt pretty beat up.
Warning: Crash footage
If you weren’t a pro mountain biker, what would you be doing? If my skill level weren’t to change I’d probably be doing exactly what I am now, I’d just have a job as well. If I wasn’t much good at riding I’d probably still just have a job and ride for fun.
Your favourite creature comforts? The one that comes to mind is chocolate Belvita biscuits in the morning. The first thing I eat nearly every day.
We hope you enjoyed this little introduction to Luke and we can’t wait to see how he gets on this year. Keep it pinned Luke!!!!