Exclusive | 15 Questions with European Champion Rob Williams
On the 25th and 26th of April the eagerly anticipated European Enduro Series will kick off again on the rugged trails of Punta Ala, and a host of super fast riders will be looking to race for the overall title. We caught up with last years winners Robert Williams to find out what it felt like to win the title and his hopes for 2015.
Robert Williams is yet another fast rider to come out of the valleys in South Wales. The 25 year old has been racing DH since he was 16, but last year was his first year of enduro. After a solid 34th at the opening round of the EWS in New Zealand last week he looks to be in good form and is looking forward to starting his 2015 European Championship campaign in Punta Ala.
What did it feel like to win the European Enduro Series and take the European Champions crown?
It was such an awesome feeling, I have never won a series before, a lot of preparation went into each race and to come out on top was hugely satisfying. It’s given me massive motivation over the winter to try and do it again.
What was your favourite race from the last season?
The EES in Reschenpass was awesome, there were some fresh tracks cut for the race which were long and technical and were perfect for enduro racing, and some really physical ones which I think is good
What did you think of the series as a whole?
It was a great series, every round was different and it was really well organised
Talk us through your winter, have you been getting some overseas training in?
Yeah I’ve been to Spain for 10 days on my road bike (I love hill climbing), and just before NZ I went to Portugal and stayed with Wheelers MTB holidays to get some quality DH time in
Have you changed the way you approach training after your great results last year?
Not really, I started much earlier, pretty much got straight into it after the season. I really enjoy training on the bike and have definitely worked a lot harder and feeling stronger than last year. I don’t have a trainer or anything, I just go on feel. If I feel good I train hard.
How did the first round go for you over in NZ that’s a pretty solid result?
Yeah I’m happy with the result, I really enjoyed the race. I didn’t think it was going too well, and had quite a few crashes and some mechanical problems. But I guess most people had some issues in that race.
What did you think of the format of the race, especially the staggered practice?
I much prefer the ‘one big day’ race, and I am not too keen on staggered practice. It’s good when all the stages are open, there’s a lot less traffic and it makes it interesting as everyone has a different approach to practice. I’m not a fan of uplifts; I think part of the race is being able to manage practice, learning the tracks while still staying fresh for the race.
Will you be riding for a team this year?
Not at the moment(open to offers!), I have some support from Mojo suspension, Foxhead Europe, and my local Leisure Lakes which keeps the bike running sweet.
What about your bike, do you have any custom mods or setup in there?
Nothing custom, just a bit more travel upfront
What changes did you make for the NZ round?
I only took one spare tyre out with me, so I didn’t really have much choice. I ran quite low pressures because it was so rooty. I had about 19psi in the front, 20psi in the back.
What are your main goals for this coming season, will you be riding the full EES rounds?
I will definitely try and win the series again, I’m also looking to get some solid top 30 results in the EWS. I have also signed up to race the Epic Cymru, and possibly the Megavalanche.
Do you have another career outside of the bikes?
No, I’m going to give 100% to racing this year
Where do you think you do best as a rider?
I like tracks you can really charge on, and are quite physical
What round are you most looking forward to this year?
The EES in Reschenpass, I loved it last year and I’m looking forward to going back. Also I’m going to quite a few new places this year which is always exciting.
Interview: Trev Worsey
Photos: Trev Worsey and Hanno Polomsky