This week we bring you one of Scotland’s brightest talents. Undeniably fast, Innes Graham has had a bit of bad luck with injuries the last couple of seasons. However whereas some riders recoil into their own world, Innes has been a welcome presence at the races. Armed with his camera he has shown that racers aren’t one trick ponies and his photos are easily good enough for publication. It’s true that most photographers are ex world cup wannabes who didn’t make the grade but Innes is a rider who has finished 17th at a World Cup in 2015.
Read on to see what this quiet lad from the Borders has to say…..
Descent-World: Ok lets go backwards to the start of the season. First BDS and you qualify fastest…….
Yeah…… haha! That was mental. I was privateering that race in the van with my dad. It was mega chilled all weekend and I was having fun, mixing it up with a few unusual lines. Seeding came around and I just did a solid run with no mistakes. I came across the line first but I was off about mid pack so I couldn’t quite believe it when all the top boys didn’t go faster.
The finals were pretty unnerving. 10+ riders all capable of a podium at wc level, sprinting off the line in front of me is something I wont forget. I made a couple big mistakes down the bottom and went 6th but I was still stoked. It was a good way the start the season.
It was a bit of a mess with the UCI point thing but you smashed out a belter at Fort William in your first senior World Cup?
Yeah, that was a pain in the backside but what can you do..? I got a decent amount of training and riding done instead and felt in a good place for my senior debut. That weekend was a shambles weather wise. I think it was hard for everyone to adapt to the conditions. I remember sitting up top of the team bus and trying to get pumped for my seeding. I was so nervous and kept putting really negative thoughts into my mind. I felt a lot of pressure to even qualify so when I came down and went 27th or something I was blown away. I just remember Danny and the whole team being stoked for me and so from there on it was go time! I’ve never felt strong on that track but I just rode smart. Had a super clean top then smashed the middle as hard as I could because I knew id lose a ton of time on that pedal. 17th was definitely not something I expected to do at that race but I learnt a ton and was super chuffed.
After Fort William came Leogang. Another solid result in only his second ever senior World Cup. Note the jersey. Imagine this was 2016 given the recent WC downhill rule changes – We might not have seen him on track. Photo: @tommyawilkinson
And tell us about your tie up with Ethic watches and Andy?
Andy and me go back to 2012 when I got on his development team as a 2nd year youth. A couple good results later and somehow I found myself running with the big dogs on MS Mondraker Team. He has mentored me and helped with so much. Ethic is his brand that I’ve been stoked on representing since day one and hopefully can continue to work with for several more years. They actually have a new clothes range out along with a new watch available with 20% off for Black Friday only! Check em out!
Injuries have set you back for the last couple of years – why do think that is? You are probably one the smallest riders capable of top twenty – skill over strength?
Hey diamonds come smaller than bricks! Remember that haha. Nah, for some reason injuries have been a big part in my racing. I think the skill over strength point that has a lot to do with it in fact. I’m just a skinny kid trying to battle it out with some big dudes. Hopefully still got some filling out to do. It’s something I’m working on to prevent though.
After leogang you still went to Lenzerheide and shot some bangers in the sling…
Yeah man! I keep seeing your shots and got well inspired! Obviously I was busted up with my collarbone in three bits but I didn’t want to miss the racing. I walked up to the finish arena and did my best at one arm picture taking. Got a few pans that looked alright and also saw my boy Laurie Greenland kill it! You win some you lose some.
Is that something you’ve always been into – the photography?
Not always but since I’ve started racing more competitively it’s definititely something I’ve wanted to learn how to do more. I’ve always been passionate about drawing and art but racing has made me not have as much time to draw. For me photography is a very interesting art form and I like using it to get creative.
You’re pretty good mates with Lew Buchanan – in my mind you’re the new Dave Young and Gary Forrest. Both fast as and top mates. Does it help being able to use each other?
Yeah! Lev is a good guy, I only met him properly in 2013 then got pretty good mates that winter. We rode a ton of road when I smashed my heel bone up. From then on we’ve been top mates and training partners. He’s fast as hell too obviously ! It does get pretty competitive sometimes.
If you could be one person in the world, anyone, for just a day who would it be and why?
Probabaly wouldn’t survive a full day but it gotta be William Wallace. That dude is a legend. Holding it down for the Scots!
Top 3 tunes?
I listen to so many different genres of music.
Three tunes are gonna be: “Jorge Ben Jor, Mas Que Nada” ; “Jurassic 5, Concrete & Clay” ; “Gary Clark Jr, Don’t owe you a thang”
What are your plans going forward – top racer, top photog or WC pimp?
Moving forward from this year, my plans are still to concentrate on racing. That’s what I feel most passionate about. I want to get to that top level and stay there. There is always the photo/journalism side of things if it doesn’t work out the way I plan it too. A plan B if you like! Don’t get me wrong though, If someone wants to pay me big bucks to take photos then hell yeah haha!