A SHROPSHIRE LAD
The UK downhill scene is renowned for breeding some of the world’s top racers, and that’s a reputation that looks set to continue, with Matt Walker proving himself to be the fastest Junior in the world this year.
Not only did the 18-year-old pinner take home a gold medal from Cairns, but he also finished third overall in the Junior World Cup series, despite missing one round due to a crash, after a season-long battle with arch rival Finn Iles, of Canada.
As someone with a truly dedicated approach to training and racing, we were keen to find out what makes this lad from rural Shropshire tick. “I’m only happy when I know I’ve done the best I can do,” he says. “I live to win races, and when I say I want it, it comes from the heart.”
Matt has been riding bikes as long as he can remember. “I was always building sketchy jumps as a kid, before my dad started taking me out riding,” he recalls. “I hated the uphills and loved the downhills, so nothing’s changed there, haha! I was instantly hooked when I went to watch my first race in 2011, and since then it’s become my whole life, but that’s the way it has to be to get to the highest level.”
After Matt won the Juvenile National Champs in 2013, he was offered a place on Madison Saracen’s development team. “I bagged two [Youth] national series titles in the next couple of years, and I couldn’t have been happier when I was offered a factory team ride for 2016,” he says. Success quickly followed, with Matt winning his first Junior World Cup round that April.
So, what’s next? “My aspirations are to be right up there at the top of the sport in the future,” says Matt. “But for now, I just want to keep enjoying riding my bike!”