Andrei Burton avec Echo en 2012

Andrei Burton with Echo for 2012

Monday 6 February 2012
by Ben Swales
popularity : 8%

PNG - 283.2 kb Andrei Burton is one of the top competitors on the UCI circuit – he’s the top ranked British rider in the 26” world rankings. He’s also one of the most laid back, yet dedicated, riders. An enormously talented rider and the manager of one of the most dynamic demo teams in the UK, Andrei nevertheless manages to remain one of the most down-to-earth people you will meet in the sport. He recently officially announced a new sponsor for 2012: he will be riding for popular Chinese brand Echo, representing them for the first time at the highest level in trial competition. We recently had a chat with Andrei about this new partnership, a 2011 that was marred by injury, and his plans and goals for 2012… Here’s what he had to say:

Tribal Interview:

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Hi Andrei, you’re riding for Echo now - can you tell us a bit more about this new partnership? Are you sponsored by Echo themselves, or by a UK distributor?

I am riding directly for the factory. I am really happy to be riding for Echo in 2012. They are building a new competition frame for me to ride this year. I think the quality of their bikes is superb and when the frames are designed with competition style riding in mind, the bikes will be the best.

What are your first impressions of your new bikes? Echo are known for the quality and strength of their products, but until now they had only really been popular with street riders. It’s a bit of a novelty to see a top rider like you representing them on the UCI circuit! A new challenge for them and for you!

Yes, they would like me to show that their bikes can compete at a high level, not just on the streets. The SL I am riding now weighs just 1.4kg and has already lasted longer than any of my previous frames. I think that speaks for itself! I will be working closely with Echo to produce a top bike for this season, and will train hard to give them the results they and I want.

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Who are your other sponsors?

I have still to confirm my other partners for 2012. It is still very early in the year and I don’t want to give too much away but I am looking at a very exciting 2012!

JPEG - 988.5 kb Let’s talk about your 2011 season… You finished in ninth place in the European Championship, 11th place in the UCI World Cup, with a seventh place finish in Pra-Loup. Not bad for a season that was marred by injury?

2011 was a very bad year for me. As you know in 2010 I placed 5th in the rankings. I trained very hard early in 2011 and my riding was far better than ever. Unfortunately, I fractured my ankle just ten days before the European championships in Biella. I shouldn’t have really ridden, but when you train so hard for something it is hard not to. The stress fracture plagued me for most of the season. It was only towards the end of the year that I started to get back on form. 2012 will be different! I am focussed and driven and most of all, I love riding trials more than ever!

That’s good to hear! The World Championship didn’t exactly go your way either. You finished 15th and didn’t qualify for the final. Ben savage repeated his 2010 performance with a new qualification, what are your feelings about the event?

After such a bad season, I decided not to prioritise the world championships. You may not know, but on the Thursday night before the competition I rode a show, at midnight in Sheffield, for the UK school games. It was a big show and important for my career. I had almost no sleep and only arrived in Champéry 10 minutes before the start. The fact that I was there was pretty amazing in itself. I actually rode quite well considering the previous few days. Ben Savage rode perfectly and I congratulate him for that. I still think he is the UK’s number one rider. But maybe not in 2012! The sections were also very disappointing. When I arrived at an event like this and saw those sections, I lost all of my motivation to ride. I really hope this season there will be more events like Pra Loup and Champvent.

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Definitely! What are your best memories of 2011? You had some good times with Rick Koekoek didn’t you?

The best memory was without a doubt riding Downhill in Pra Loup after the World Cup. Hannes Herman, Janine Jungfels and I all had an afternoon hitting the black runs up on the mountain. We had such a great time! That is why this year I am planning to spend more time having fun on my bikes. After all, that is why we all ride them isn’t it!? Rick was a great help through the year, especially with my injury. Hopefully we will be doing the same this year and having a good season of travel across Europe! Fun times ahead! JPEG - 805.2 kb

We wish you all the best! We saw you riding with Jack Carthy after the Antwerp World Cup; he’s a phenomenal rider and Kenny Belaey told us that “he will be the next World Champion. I’m sure of it. I see a bit of myself in him, he has a real hunger to win…” What do you think of him as a rider?

I agree with Kenny. I also trained with Jack at his own practice grounds. He is a very talented rider. I hope that he will do very well in the coming years. It will also be great for the other riders like Savage and me to have someone to push us as well!

What are your goals for 2012 on your new bike?

My main goal for 2012 is to have fun. For the last few years I have almost forgotten about why I rode bikes in the first place. When it is your job, it can be very serious. I want to make some really fun videos and further my professional portfolio, and hopefully take trials in a new direction and area. Of course I will train very hard for the competition season and I hope to place in the top 5 again. I just hope I don’t have any more injuries!

You’re a professional rider and you make your living from riding shows. Tell us a bit about the structure of Andrei Burton Events.

Andrei Burton Events is the company I formed three years ago. As my shows became so popular and I was in so much demand, I decided to start using other rider and athletes in other fields to do shows while I was away at the UCI events. It has been fantastic. In 2012 I will Have Jack Gear joining my team with a brand new set up. This is going to be a huge impact on my shows and will also help Jack with his competitive career along the way. JPEG - 209.5 kb

I will also be organizing my own competitions in 2012. I think trials needs to be changed slightly to make it more entertaining and exciting. Trials will not get bigger unless it finds its own identity. I think a good start would be to ban lycra! Haha!

Yes, trials could do with being a bit more media friendly! Thanks for your time anyway, keep us up to date on all your projects!

Can I say a huge thanks to you guys at Tribal Zine. You are doing a great job for the sport in promoting it and giving everyone a website to get all the info on. Definitely my favourite site!

Thanks Andrei! We’re all passionate riders like you, that’s what drives us! Thanks for the support, see you soon!

Photos: Marco Patrizi, Peter Stephens, Andrei Burton.

Video:

Andrei’s first video on his new Echo Mark II SL, filmed on the streets of Plymouth, where he shows exactly why he is the top-ranked British rider!

Photos:

Three photos of Andrei in showman mode, taken by Peter Stephens->http://www.peterstephens.co.uk] at a show at the University of Exeter on the 31st October 2011. Check out the interactive version of the panoramic photo here!

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