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If you haven't heard of Brendan Fairclough before 2005, you will have by me this guy is on the brink of great things. Heck! He has already done great things...Silver medal at the Junior World Champs in Livingo and just a couple of weeks before that he scored his first World Cup podium (3rd place) at Pila.

Born and bred in the deepest south of England far away from any mountains, Brendan has climbed the ranks of the UK, then the worlds downhill scene...hear now what the man himself has to say...

SF - Did you ever think that you could contend for top 10 or top 20 positions let alone a podium in your first season of World Cup racing?

All smiles in 2005 Brendan Fairclough

BF – Results have never been what I’m riding for – its just having fun. The results have come as a real bonus this year.

SP - I was marshalling at the point where you punctured at the National Champs at Bringewood this year. What exactly happened and how did you cope with it? Also, was that bad result an inspiration to do better at further races?

BF – I hit that section as hard as I had all weekend in practise. It was just unlucky. There’s only one way you can deal with that – put it behind you and look forward to the next race. As far as an inspiration to do better – well its not like that - a puncture is a puncture, it's not a mistake on my part, so I don’t feel I’ve got to make up for it the next race.

SF - How do you feel Peaty has helped you come along? Do you feel he can teach you much more after your recent podium at Pila, if so what?

BF – I pick up little things from Steve all the time but the main thing I remember him saying is ” Just relax and have fun. The only pressure should be in the tyres!”. That was a real help when I first joined the team. I’m sure he can teach me more – he’s had more than one World Cup podium so I’m sure I’ve still got a lot more to learn from him – we all have.

SF - Are you really from Headley in Hampshire? If so, how did you get so good? It's as flat as a pancake round here!

BF – Yes I really am from Headley, but I love riding so much that anywhere is good. Mini-bikes and riding trails are the things I enjoy most, but when I get to a race and ride the downhill rig it’s a good change and makes me feel even keener to race.

SF - Do you really have trails in your back yard?

BF – Yeah I’ve really got trails in the backyard! Ma and Pa have been really understanding about me and my bro and our need to have fun on our bikes, so they let us build trails and a mini-bike track. Their ideas for goats, pigs and chickens have gone out the window – sorry Ma and Pa!!

Brendan - Early 2005 Ae Forest Step Down IL
Fort William NPS IL

SF - Big teams (Honda etc) are bound to have their eyes on you as you are producing the results at such a young age. Would you consider leaving Royal for anybody else or would you prefer to carry on your success with Royal Racing?

BF – Royal and Orange and all the present sponsors have been a great stepping stone towards the future – not just for me but for Marc B and Donny too. And I’m sure Josh will find the same. I’d like to stay, but I think moving on may help my future.

SF - We have all seen you at races and you are as fast as hell, have any other sponsors been interested in you?

BF – Yes!! But no comment yet, I’ve still got to sit down with Steve and plan for the next season and beyond.

SF - Who out of the UK Juniors would you want stood next to you if you were cornered in a bar in deepest Birmingham?

BF – Forget the juniors, I’d take my bro!

SF - How many "Chavs" did you batter at NASS?

BF – Not enough!! It was an extreme sports festival, not a football match. What’s going on?

SF – How’s your brother Christian doing regards his injury, what’s the update?

BF – Its slowly getting better but he wont be riding properly till after Xmas. But he’s still in good spirits – it’s probably all the girls he’s got looking after him!

SF - What does your Dad do for a living?

BF – He’s a photographer and makes educational books for schools.

SF - Would you agree that Downhill in the UK is the healthiest its been in ages? Why do you think that is?

BF – Yeah its real good right now and I think its cos the guys at the top, like Steve and Marc and Dan and Gee attract such a lot of support and respect from all the riders that the whole scene benefits from the professionalism and skill they share.

SF - How do you (or did you [- has he left yet??]) fit school in around racing... or racing in around school?

BF – School didn’t suffer that much – just a few Fridays…..and Mondays! College suffered a bit more, but I still managed an A level in engineering in one year and an AS in maths. I’ve left college now to concentrate on my riding.

Sam cracks one off with Brendan at his side foto: flipper
Ae Forest Speed Stump IL

SF - With Sam Hill being not much older than you are, are you now beginning to think of him as a benchmark for your performance over the next year or two?

BF – I suppose I am!

SF - What first got you into racing and riding downhill?

BF – I did a cross-country race and hated the up hills so much I just decided to do the downhill bits next time!

SF - What do you reckon to the new 224? Have you one? How does it compare to the 223?

BF – Yes, and so far I’m loving it, but it’s really still a bit too early to tell, I’ve only raced it a few times and am still tweaking the set up.

SF - What was the first Downhill Rig you ever had?

BF – A Specialized Big Hit, 24” back wheel and all! Loved it. It took some time to get used to the 222 - well different.

SF - What have you got planned for the near future?

BF – Battle Royal at Finningley on Oct. 8th and 9th and then probably the winter Midlands series and then hopefully the New Zealand NPS in the new year.

SF - What physical training is behind your success?

BF – Mini-bikes and trail digging. Chopping wood. Got a really good Orange Evolution 4 cross-country bike now too, so riding I’m that a lot. Not too keen on the gym, but I fear I may have to start liking it!

SF - At such a young age and already such a great rider surely you must be looking towards the future and seeing even greater success, what goals do you have and how do you plan to achieve these?

BF – Keep progressing in the same direction I have been. More World Cup experience will be good. And World Champs is obviously a big goal – shame I cocked up this year really.

SF - Another young rider at the same age as yourself is Kyle Strait, how do you rate him and do you expect yourself and Kyle to be fighting it out for the top spots in the future?

BF – Yeah, I respect Kyle a lot, but I don’t think he’s the big threat.

Fort William World Cup IL
Mini Bike Cross Training - Battle Royal 2005 FP

SF - Whenever we have seen you at races you always seem to be grinning! How does this positive attitude help your speed or are you just grinning because you have just finished a run and whooped everyones ass?

BF – I’m always grinning at races cos I’m doing what I love most – riding my bike ……..or somebody elses bike!

SF – What’s your favourite track in the world?

BF – Pila in Italy is a wicked track, a bit of everything, and has happy memories for me. Schladming in Austria was also very good - long and hard.

SF - Favourite track in the UK?

BF – Got to be Bala in North Wales.

SF – What’s your favourite beer?

BF – Got to be Stella. (is that the right answer Steve?) ……….that is of course when I’m old enough to drink!!!!!!!!!

SF - We all know you’re bloody good on a bike, though what are your weaknesses?

BF – Physical fitness – I’ve got to start training properly soon.

SF - How does it sit that the Scots and Welsh are always claiming that they have the best tracks on real mountains etc.. Though it's up to the lowlanders to cut it at the top?

BF – What can I say?? Maybe they just train too much or are spoilt with their terrain choice! Not jealous honest!

SF - How good do you think that you have to get before you have to push in the queues at the Dragon practice days? Is it a question of World Cup podium positions or just age and respect?

BF – I don’t think it’s down to any of that. We all pay the same race fees. I may have pushed in a few times – haven’t you?

SF - How did/do you juggle racing and riding generally with all your schoolwork and work?

BF – You just have to find a happy medium and get the school work done and out of the way so you can ride.

SF - How do you feel about coming in Silver at your first Worlds? Were you disappointed at all with silver having qualified in 1st? Still, very impressive, well done Brendan!

BF – I was really disappointed with myself. I just lost it in the final and rode like a faggot! But it’ll make me even stronger for next year in New Zealand.

Ours thanks go to brendan for making this interview possible, Chris Fairclough & Dan @ Royal.

Fort Bill - up top with nae clips IL
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