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When I started pulling together questions for Shaums it became clear that he has been on top of the game and inspiring people to ride for a pretty long time, never mind your Kyle Straits or Sam Hills, this guy has been there or thereabouts in most sides of the sport for a good few years now, versatile sums it up. When he isn’t on the bike he spends his time helping other people to ride their own, though I am sure he finds time for the odd beer.

From his adopted home in the wilds of Canada, we give you Shaums March.

DW: Start the interview by telling us something we might not know about Shaums March?

SM: Hmmm… Well there's a few things that people might not know, I'm right now talking with BC Cycling about accepting the job for Jr National team Coach, and if you know that then what about; with this season I'm planning to only hit a few NORBA nationals (west coast) with attending all the BC Cups some Canada Cups and going to as many Redbull events as possible. I know people may not know I'm working on an off road project for competition just a (400hp 4x4 mini truck).

Shaums with Norco in 2004

DW: Its going to be strange to see you on Norco in 2004, how did the deal to move away from such a long time sponsor like Chumba Wumba come about?

SM: I'd like to say that Norco came and out bid Chumba but as it was Chumba has made the decision to pull out of the race team and only go to select races for 04, to support there frames. Just not enough after this last 03 year. I heard that they are working on more custom automotive contracts.

DW: Have you had much time on the Norco bikes yet, how are the comparing to the old Chumba?

SM: With the first test on one of the race bikes from 03 bike I was thinking I was going to be changing my riding style to make it work, but with the new 04 bike they have really made some great changes and it feels like I'm right at home. Last week I was doing runs and had lent my old Chumba to a friend and as I was riding behind him, watching him ride I was amazed that I could not feel the difference as the bike ate up all the hits just the same and the cornering was just as smooth with that cat like quickness I realized that I didn't need to ride any differently, the 04 Norco felt like home.

Cross Up - not an "eX" up! foto: scott hart

DW: Norco have always done a great job signing grassroots racers, however you are the first signing they have made that will really give them exposure outside Canada. Is there direction in the sponsorship game changing slightly?

SM: I'm not sure about there sponsorship game, but, I do hope they will be reaching into the States for more riders in the future as they start setting up distributors, But I would like to say with the talent that I'm seeing up here they really don't have to look outside of BC, just glad to be part of there team.

DW: What about the rest of your team mates, there is a pretty good roster of riders on Norco this year.

SM: I'm really stoked to be with such a diverse team and I hope to make some real friends with some of them.

DW: What about Jay Hoots, have you met and ridden with him yet?

SM: I know Jay a bit and from what I know he's a fun lovin guy that just like to ride and mess around, that's not saying much that's what most riders do, but Jay's got his own following and he's making a name for him self and his company, Hoot's wear.

DW: What’s your schedule like for this coming season? We would love to see you over here in Europe more often, in particular our home World Cup at Fort William.

SM: With the Norco deal I'm going to stay up in Canada more and with coaching I'm working on our Mad March Racing ranch that will be opening for camp and coaching for the 04 summer with two rooms to rent for the weekends and trails that are shuttle-able right from the ranch. With Squamish being right in the middle of North Shore and Whistler we have the best of both worlds with some great race trails not to mention the best XC riding for mile around. With steeps and skinny's, Our dirt jumps were hit hard from the fall floods, but there being rebuilt and there just happens to be a growing mounds in the back yard here.

DW: The video "Plush" was an all time classic. Do you miss your old San Andreas with ZZYZX?

SM: Hmmmm...NO, But I still watch Plush. (Plush 2 is coming back watch for it) If people remember I was a new comer on the scene and the bike was at the time. One of the best but we all know it was out dated real quick with Rock Shox and Answer Manitou. The San Andreas was a great bike, as we see now 7 years cycle has come around full turn with the single pivot then and the same single pivot now with Orange, the only thing that has changed are the shocks.

DW: We have to talk about some of your crashes, it seems you have had some to even rival our own Nigel Page, have the two of you ever compared stacks?

SM: No not yet but we should one of these days.

Shaums Big Busted Leg!

DW: Do you cringe when you see this ../images/shaums_ankle.jpg ?

SM: Not any more but I did get the video and it shows the whole thing in slow motion, and that took a while to watch without cringing.

DW: How do you motivate yourself to get back on the bike after a big stack?

SM: With most of us there's no other thought than getting back on the bike. But as Nigel and I know there's moments that make you doubt that you will be able to even get back on, but what's really hard is just getting up in the morning day after day with all the contract problems and lack of money out in the industry that's the hard thing, that's what makes you leave the bike on the hooks longer each time. Sorry back to the questions I would like to think that what motivates me to get back on the bike is knowing that accidents happen and that's it don't read into it any further and just knowing that I'm a great rider and accidents happen.(in our sport it not if, just when).

DW: You have been up in Canada for a while now, why choose there over somewhere sunny like Cali?

SM: I guess there one more thing that people don't know about Shaums, Is my wife that I married at Mammoth in 01 "Aleisha Cline" is one of the World fastest skiers and she has won 4 X Games Gold's, one Silver. But she is the world best skier Cross racer and has just won the last World cup in Japan and is heading to Europe for the Finals. So to answer your questions, we looked all over North America looking for a place where we could live that would work for both of us. And that place just happened to be Squamish.

DW: Can you handle proper beer yet or do you water it down to US strength?

SM: I spent many hours working on it. I refuse to water my beer no matter what anyone says.

DW: Living away from the US do you still feel patriotic pulling on the stars and stripes jersey at the Worlds every year?

SM: Yeah I guess I do even though I may not believe in the way the US does things.

DW: For those over here in the UK who might not be so familiar with your kids camps, can you tell us a bit more.

SM: Well what I'm trying to relay to people, not just kids, is that riding your bike is a simple thing and to ride well and go fast it take some know how and with 10 years of race experience and a lifetime of being a rider. I've come to realize that my teaching back ground and knack for figuring things out have given me a great Curriculum for teaching all levels. With my company Mad March Racing (MMR) we are able to take the time to show you some of the skills you'll need to avoid accidents and have great success with your riding weather just for freeriding and racing or just casual riding.

DW: I heard you used to teach college for a bit, how important is it for you to do more for the sport than just ride, promoting the sport and schooling new blood.

SM: I was teaching for 2 years, a short time. Riding is what I love, it makes me feel alive and with all the progression in the sport in the last ten years it's taken it's toll on me but I will always ride my bike. It could do the same to others. Riders today need to have the advantage of learning the basics earlier and easier without all the learning mistakes to get it right. With the right promotion our sport could be as big as Moto-X but what we have here is a failure to communicate ... anyway I believe we need to have schooling like at ski hills but not at ski hills, but in actual schools and it's starting with the Collegiate bike racing teams but we need more with the schooling. It will help everyone understand the basics and let them feel the freedom of riding (not having to stop and pick up there bikes at each corner). With the way gas prices are going it going to be to expensive to drive anywhere, we need to ride and to ride for the love of it I believe schooling will do that, which will in turn boost our industry?

Promo shot for Mace Gear

DW: With the state of play in the sponsorship game at the moment, do you think your commitment to projects away from your own riding has helped keep you supported?

SM: Yeah I think so.

DW: As a rider you are one of the most versatile out there, Bike Battle, Rampage, World Cup, you are there or thereabouts in each style of event. Why ride such a wide range of competitions, very few people have so much variety in there schedule.

SM: Now days I only do events that move me (kinda Cheeze but true). I do believe I'm one of the best all around riders in the world. In one of our XC races here in Canada, a local fund raiser for a rider who was paralyzed and is on his way to recovery, the GK Ripper, where all the big boys come out to ride. I actually finished 7th on the uphill climb with a 40 odd minute hill climb, 30 odd minutes was the fastest I believe.

DW: Honda in downhill, good or bad?

SM: Well I know Honda has some great programs for the Moto-X and if they can make our sport more main stream with there involvement it a good thing

DW: In the 10 years or so (I think!) you have been riding, a lot of things have come and gone in the sport, what sticks in your head as being the best and worst, and what will come and go in the next 10?

SM: Hmmm... Bad things ZZYZX Forks, air shifting & bar ends

DW: Shaums, thanks very much for taking the time out to answer our questions, anyone you would like to thank?

SM: Redbull for keeping me in the sport and Norco for supplying me with bikes and there support and to my brother who is always there to give me good advice from a neutral position.

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