Josh McPar­land


It’s quite funny how things catch your eye or come up in con­ver­sa­tion, and this is how this ar­ti­cle came about on one of cy­cle tri­als young stars Josh McPar­land. Many items and ideas for ar­ti­cles come into the Trial Magazine of­fice, and then I spot­ted one with the name McPar­land at­tached to it. As I al­ready know Josh’s dad Tim, I thought it was time to catch up with this young cy­cle tri­als star.

What is your ear­li­est rec­ol­lec­tion of cy­cle tri­als?

I got a Monty 202 cy­cle for Christ­mas in 2008 when I was just two years old, and I re­mem­ber rid­ing it around the liv­ing room as soon as I’d un­wrapped it, and that was the start of many miles to come. I even re­mem­ber go­ing to the World Round in Ire­land that year with my Monty, awe­some.

When did you first start com­pet­ing?

It was mo­tor­cy­cles first when I was four years old. I rode an elec­tric one in a Yeadon & Guise­ley trial near Bin­g­ley in 2010 and con­tin­ued from there switch­ing to a Gas Gas 50 in 2012 when I was six. I also rode my first cy­cle trial com­pe­ti­tion in April 2012 at Ad­ding­ham Moor­side and con­tin­ued with both sports up un­til 2015.

De­spite start­ing com­pet­ing at such a young age, can you re­mem­ber what or how you got into tri­als?

Ever since I re­mem­ber I’ve been ob­sessed with cy­cles/mo­tor­cy­cles and even though I don’t re­mem­ber it mum and dad told me that I tried to get out of my pushchair to get closer to the mo­tor­cy­cle that was pulling Santa’s sleigh through Sils­den in York­shire! My dad also rode tri­als, so I am sure that had some im­pact too, al­though I didn’t need any en­cour­age­ment. Dad says I was most con­tent rid­ing through flags and over ob­sta­cles as flat ground was bor­ing.

One photo shows you on your Monty push bike at the Scot­tish Six Days back in 2008

Yes, I re­mem­ber that year too, I thought I was one of the rid­ers! I still have my Monty with the scru­ti­neer­ing paint on it would you be­lieve.

How old were you and where was your first in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion?

I was seven years old, and it was the sec­ond round of the BIU World Cham­pi­onships in Odena, Catalunya. We missed the first round the week be­fore in Spain as dad only de­cided at the last minute to have a trip abroad to see what it was all about.

I was so ex­cited when mum and dad told me we were go­ing to a World round!

I didn’t have any ex­pec­ta­tions or knowl­edge of for­eign events or the rid­ers as I’d never com­peted in one, but as I was Bri­tish Cham­pion at that time, I’d hoped I could at least not em­bar­rass my­self. I re­mem­ber dad say­ing “We’re off to en­joy our­selves, not to com­pete for places. I know you can ride, but these lads are some­thing else so any­thing bet­ter than last will be a gre`at re­sult".

The trip didn’t start that well as we had to queue for two hours for the hire car. Once we got go­ing, I was told I was nav­i­gat­ing and was given di­rec­tions to read that dad had printed off. All was go­ing well un­til we took the wrong exit off a round­about and had to re-join the main road. As we were do­ing this, we were hit by a car that was be­ing driven by an old man. It shocked both of us as we were ac­tu­ally sat still at a junc­tion, and the old man’s car car­ried on, out of con­trol, up the road be­fore hit­ting a bar­rier. Our car was go­ing nowhere, it was quite badly dam­aged, but no one was hurt, and I learned some new words from dad.

Our friend Kevin Duke came to pick me up and take me to the event while dad went to pick up our sec­ond car, he gave me €10 for food and drink and off we went. Dad got sorted a cou­ple of hours later and met us at the venue where I had bought my­self a new t-shirt with the money dad gave me just to get over the day's trauma. I can still see his face!

How did you do in the Trial?

The trial it­self went re­ally well. I was cop­ing very well with the sec­tions and en­joy­ing watch­ing ev­ery­one ride, and de­spite the 30ºC heat, I felt good. Dad had re­minded me that I would prob­a­bly be last and not to be dis­ap­pointed. 'Just do your best'. I went to look at the re­sults board af­ter the trial and saw that I had fin­ished sec­ond — I was buzzing! Had dad re­laxed me by try­ing to say not to worry? We were both thrilled with the re­sult.

What has been your favourite trip or com­pe­ti­tion?

I don’t have a favourite coun­try out of those I’ve com­peted in as they have all been amaz­ing, and I’ve been so for­tu­nate to visit so many, such as Spain, Czech Repub­lic, Slo­vakia, Aus­tria, Italy, France, Bel­gium, Sar­dinia, Den­mark, Poland and Ger­many. Along the way, I’ve made so many great new friends and mem­o­ries as well as shar­ing some trips with my good friends Adam More­wood and Char­lie Rolls.

Where do you train/prac­tice?

I prac­tice mainly at Ship­ley Glen, mostly on my own as there is no one lo­cally who com­petes in bike tri­als. I oc­ca­sion­ally bump into Jack Carthy (World Cham­pion) who al­ways takes time to help.

Re­cently, I’ve spent quite a bit of time over in Colne, Lan­cashire at a man-made bike park that my dad is help­ing to con­struct, and this has helped me to prac­tice cer­tain skills needed for UCI events. I can’t wait un­til it’s fin­ished. I also have a cou­ple of places in Sils­den that I’m for­tu­nate to have per­mis­sion to ride on too.

Are you in­ter­ested in any other sports?

Yes, I en­joy play­ing foot­ball and rugby at school, but out of school I just want to ride bikes, any time and any place will do.

You’ve com­peted in cy­cle and mo­tor­cy­cle tri­als too. If you had to choose which one would it be?

I get asked this ques­tion many times be­cause I’m one of the few rid­ers who has done both at the same time. I love both and would be happy do­ing both again, but con­cen­trat­ing on one helps you fo­cus and be­come bet­ter in that dis­ci­pline. The an­swer has to be bike tri­als as that’s what I’m do­ing right now and en­joy­ing it.

One day, sooner rather than later, I’d like to re­turn to the mo­tor­cy­cle as I miss rid­ing my Beta. It will be in­ter­est­ing to see if rid­ing bike tri­als have helped me in any way for a re­turn to mo­tor­cy­cles.

Who are your favourite Bike Trial rid­ers?

Bike tri­als have such a great group of peo­ple all over Europe who en­joy rid­ing with one an­other and shar­ing tips, but my favourite rid­ers are the best of Bri­tish. Jack Carthy, who has achieved so much at the age of 22, and two rid­ers, which I’m proud to be friends and ride with reg­u­larly, are Char­lie Rolls, who like Jack has a unique and dy­namic rid­ing style and Adam More­wood who I’ve prac­tised with reg­u­larly. I ad­mire Adam's ded­i­ca­tion to bike tri­als.

You’ve had a good year so far be­com­ing Euro­pean Cham­pion, Bri­tish Cham­pion and Na­tional Cham­pion, have you any plans for the rest of the year?

Yes, all the above have been a tar­get and as is usual in bike tri­als when you are in your last year of the age cat­e­gory you are ex­pected to win. The Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship win was very spe­cial and has driven me, even more, to give it my all at the UCI World Youth Games in Laz­zate, Italy, and the BIU World Cham­pi­onship in Sar­dinia this Au­gust. I am so pleased that it has been so hot in the UK as it of­fered for some tem­per­a­ture con­di­tion­ing ahead of the com­pe­ti­tions.

Who is Josh McPar­land?

DOB: 24/01/06 (Age: 12). Rid­ing Since: 2008 • Bike: ONNIT Mamba • Favourite Band: Oa­sis • Favourite Film: Kings­man • Favourite Food: Mums Spaghetti and Meat­balls • Favourite Car: McLaren P1 • Favourite Colour: Red • Favourite Drink: Wa­ter • Favourite Shoes: Adi­das • Favourite Magazine: Trial Magazine


Bri­tish Na­tional Cup win­ner x 3; Na­tional Cham­pion x 1; Bri­tish Cham­pion x 4; Euro­pean Cham­pion x 1; Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship run­nerup x 2; Euro­pean Cup win­ner x 1; World BIU Cham­pi­onship run­ner-up.

It’s not just cy­cle tri­als.

109 Rep­re­sent­ing Team Great Bri­tain.

With Adam More­wood, a reg­u­lar prac­tice part­ner and an in­spi­ra­tion to all cy­cle tri­als rid­ers.

Bri­tain’s got tal­ent: Adam More­wood, Josh McPar­land and Char­lie Rolls.

100% con­cen­tra­tion is al­ways given.

And re­lax!

Josh has made many friends in the world of cy­cle tri­als from around the globe.

All dressed up with tri­als leg­end Sammy Miller.

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