TribalZine interviews the Rider of the Year 2013: Jack « Clean Machine » Carthy!
Sunday 29 December 2013
by Jebegood

PNG - 246.3 kb No need for an election of any sort to designate the RIDER OF THE YEAR 2013… That’s Jack “Clean Machine” Carthy, hands down! Atop his 17 years of age, he achieved the feat to overthrow the supremacy of three multiple world champions: Gilles Coustellier, Vincent Hermance et Kenny Belaey, something deemed unthinkable before his arrival. When one of these three men shows up at the starting line of a UCI 26” stage, no one can reasonably hope to beat them and the question is usually, who will get the fourth place on the podium. That’s been the deal for several years now. Same in the 20” world with Benito Ros et Abel Mustieles...

Then comes a young Britt, disrupting this worldly law and order, seemingly unchangeable, of mountain bike trials. In 2012, at his first World Cup participation in Belgium, he climbed on the podium besides two sacred monsters, Gilles and Kenny. First shot by the young “Clean Machine”. This year, still in Belgium, he achieved the challenge: he won the World Cup in Antwerp, sweeping off his three famous adversaries. This happened at the very same place where he made a noticeable appearance in 2011, even though he wasn’t 15 yet and therefore was not allowed to compete (see Jack Carthy in Antwerp). You met this dude on TribalZine and we followed him since his first successes on the UCI Youth circuit, where he was crowned three times in a row; his appetite for victory already fascinated us. He was interviewed by TribalZine a few times to introduce himself and to reflect on his first battles on the UCI Elite scene, and on his ambitions. (see Jack Carthy, "Beat Gilles while he’s still at his best" & Jack the Ripper after his incredible 2012 season... “I still want to beat him !”)

JPEG - 55.2 kb Jack has achieved several of his objectives and Tribal Zine talks with him today as he’s crowned with a Junior World Champion title and has a first Elite World Cup win under his belt. He’s offering us a pretty good Christmas gift here. He’s discussing with us his fantastic season and the incredible sensations he lived with us, and he talks to us about what’s next, at the handlebar of a Crewkerz Cleep of course… Happy reading and happy holidays to all! Thank you Jack for your availability and spontaneity. Photo credits: Enter-Bike,  Jack Carthy, Pierre Retief  / SportsPics, Marco Patrizi / Tribal Zine, Mr Ti / Tribal Zine.

Tribal Interview

Hi Jack, you announced one month ago a big change for 2014 : after riding during two years the Koxx Sky, you changed your bike and are now riding a Crewkerz Cleep ! A few words about this new partnership with the young French brand that comes from shadow to light ? Tell us how this came about, what motivated you to choose Crewkerz, we know that you were also in discussion with Rockman , Ozonys , Trialtech , etc ...

Clearly, what motivated me is the bike: as soon as it came out I wanted one but I never said anything because I was riding Koxx and I didn’t know about what would happen to them. And the people at Crewkerz are amazing, very hands-on; there are loads of new things coming out as well. It’s very exciting.

You signed with Christian Gugliotta for the next three years?

Yes I signed for three years. We wanted it to be something good and worth doing. I truly think it is going to be awesome!

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I think you were looking forward to receiving your new bike; the end of Koxx was a big disappointment for you as well, as this brand has always been the great reference of the trials competition and literally disappeared overnight. How did you live the disappearance of the brand for which all the greatest were riding or rode during the past thirteen years and which led major technical developments in the trial of modern competition ?

Yes it was a disappointment that Koxx has gone; the Sky was a very good bike but after seeing the Cleep I wanted to leave and ride that bike as it is a much better bike! Like I said, the Koxx was a good bike but there was never anything new coming out … or I had never seen it? I think the brand was dying for a long time.

How do you feel on your new bike, which has a kind of British spirit, with its 12mm bolt rear through axle, an AS 30 integrated bottom bracket, chain tensioner, etc? A top-of-the-line comp bike made in order to deal with the most extreme use, and which must be particularly suitable for a powerful and well built rider like you ?

I really do love the bike: it is crazy stiff, and I have more power on this bike. I have been riding the bike for about one month now and it still feels like I just took it out of the box... It is the bike to be on !!

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Your main sponsor is still Enter-Bike, the Kenny Belaey’s structure , which actively supports you and manages the interests and career of the junior world champion ?

Yes I wouldn’t be where I am now without the Belaey family. We truly work well together I think.

JPEG - 404.5 kb You’re currently the only junior rider 100% dedicated to trials, the only professional rider, tell us how it is possible to be so young and already pro ? Support of Kenny Belaey must be essential, isn’t it? You do lot of shows during the off season, and for instance you went with him to Qatar before the opening of the 2013 season.

Yes I am the only Junior pro rider I think. I went in a few shows. Kenny has opened many doors for me! The financial support of all my sponsors enables me to live my passion to the fullest. Let’s not forget my mum and dad who help me with all the rest I need help with.

Early January, you’ll ride in Sheffield on this big British indoor organized by Martin Lampkin , known as the largest indoor in the trial world, which will launch again the international moto trial indoor season ... How big and exciting is this for you ? You will ride it with Kenny Belaey, won’t you ?

Yes I will be riding there. I can’t wait for it! It is going to be a big night and I get to ride it with Kenny so that should be good fun.

JPEG - 379.4 kb You missed the Junior World Champion title by a tiny bit last year, but now you got... There you are, World Champion... Bravo ! How happy do you feel ?

Yes I wanted it last year but it went wrong. This year I said to myself, “I have to win“. All year I hammered it in my head that I wanted to clean the race. I made one point so it was good enough for me.

In the Junior category, you literally flew over the European and World Championships... The world title had eluded you last year, but this year you have crushed the competition : PMB qualifications with 5 points while the others behind ended with 40 points and more / you made a near-perfect score in the final with only 1 point ! You really impressed the South African organization, which saw you clean the race so easily! Tell us a bit about your world championship; was it like a check in the box?

It was more like a relief. All year I was worried about the world championships because I was hoping that it wouldn’t be too easy; I was afraid that the course would be better for the other riders as they don’t have as much power as me, so I was training on a lot of small stuff all year and I hated it... But now I really enjoy it it’s fun!! It was the best feeling in the world knowing that I was going home with the world title, this year I worked very hard for it!

Back on your 2013 Elite season... For your second international Elite season, your goal was to further improve your performance from 2012 (No. 5 worldwide) but also "beat Gilles Coustellier while he is still at his best" and you have achieved the feat ! You won the last race of the season ahead of the three multiple world champions: Gilles, Kenny and Vincent. You realized your dream and for over ten years you are the only pilot who was able to win a world cup in front of these multiple world champions ! You ended the season at the third position, at only 17 years old. It’s fantastic and it must be a big satisfaction?

JPEG - 157.8 kb Yes it was crazy; I dreamed about it since I started riding trials! I really wanted to win a World Cup this year and when I arrived in Antwerp, I hadn’t done it. So I really wanted it to happen for me soon. As I had seen the sections, I knew I could win this round and the big “A” made it easier for me. That Sunday was an amazing day!!!

This Antwerp final was a very intense race ... Back on your race: you won the final ... Gilles was leading in the first lap and then made big mistakes in the second lap. Then you managed to overtake Gilles, Vincent and Kenny... It was a crazy race, wasn’t it ?

I love it when it’s intense! I really liked the sections. I was behind on the first lap but rode very good in the second lap, only making three points and that was from time.

Then the crazy super final..... Kenny did a great performance, really amazing, while the two French collapse. You go last and right out of the first concrete section you are already the winner. But you keep up to give the best of yourself, just making a small error on a small rock and cleaning all the big difficulties... Big front to up before the big “A”, ending in manual, there was a great atmosphere in the place, what did you feel at that moment ?

Kenny opened the super final and rode really good, moving up from 4th to 2nd position, a great performance! And as for me, after the first section I had one so that was nice to know and the win was acquired! Yet I wanted to still try because I wanted to win by as many points as I could. The big “A” was the best thing in the competition, it was so fun!! And when I got up, everyone went crazy! That was such a good feeling.

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JPEG - 248.9 kb For you Antwerp is a special place, isn’t it? Your first time there at a World Cup was as a spectator; that was two years ago. Now you win ! Crazy ?

Yes it’s the first opportunity that I had to see these incredible riders live... And now I win in front of them, it’s amazing. Regardless they are still like gods to me.

When we said in 2011 (and even earlier), the day that you would land on the Elite World Cup, you were going to shake the world rankings, many people laughed. Other elites didn’t believe it, as it looked impossible to overthrow the domination of the Coust / Hermance / Belaey. But you did it. Congratulations, you’re a hero for all of us stock trial riders. Now you too are an icon of the discipline, just like the multiple elite world champs. It is something incredible, isn’t it ? No need for an election to designate you as the rider of the year!

Ah ah, thanks a lot, that means a lot to me. Yes I understand that people laughed; not many people new who I was and what my level was; I was an unknown and it was cool just coming and getting 3rd. I don’t like to think I am a hero. I just like to ride my bike. One thing I do like is that I have fans and that really motivates me.

You finish again in third overall position of the world cup behind Gilles and Vincent, firmly in place on the top of the world elite hierarchy, let’s talk about this 2013 world cup edition ? It started badly in Germany, but the beautiful French and Belgian races came up the level with exceptional organizations and beautiful and very impressive sections...

I really hated the first two world cups; I will be training hard on this style for next year! But I loved the Pra Loup event; I always look forward to this race and this year I got on the 3rd spot so I was truly happy.

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A key factor of your success is the UK Biketrial competitions, they’ve helped you prepare for the world circuit, your family help run some events... This year you’ve still making a lot of races, and won of course all of these races... Tell us a bit about your UK 2013 season, and the importance of these races in your training today and yesterday ?

It is always good to do a lot of competition for training and yes my family helps out with the events. At present in the UK I can say I don’t have much competition with the other riders but I always try hard in the sections. It is great for my progression.

JPEG - 334.3 kb Any plan to come and train in France in the winter to ride with some UCI top riders before the 2014 season opens ? In the forest of Fontainebleau or elsewhere?

I would like to travel about a bit. For the time being I think it is best to stay at home as I have lots of really good places to train.

What is the typical week of a Jack Carthy ? I am guessing all is planned according to trainings and physical preparation?

I don’t really know at the moment because I am mixing everything up a bit to keep it fun for now. I will say I am in the skate park a bit now.

You ride more street or natural in the winter?

Natural, it’s more fun!

Your favorite place to train?

Shipley Glen!

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And to ride in the world?

I don’t know... I just love riding my bike :)

As a pilot you are physically impressive: at 15 years of age, you already were 1.88 tall and 80 kg. How about today?

Same! 80 kg still feels right for me.

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Tell us a bit about the tattoo on your left arm?

Yes I have a sleeve on my arm its all religious stuff as I like the look of it. But at the top I had to get « Life’s A Trial »...

JPEG - 78.6 kb Amen. Are you always playing rugby?

No I stopped rugby, because I was always tired and hurt from it!

Your personal bests on the bike: last year you were at 1.50m sidehop and 1.80m hook. How about today?

Yes the side hop is still the same and I hook bigger now.

Your goals for 2014? This is the year you turn 18, and you’ll have to make a third year in junior class, then you already have the potential to claim the world title! Do you feel frustrated about that? So you will defend your European and world junior titles?

I would like to move up but I think it is good to stay in the same class so I have more time for the year after to get to my best for then.

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On the Elite circuit, having shown that you can win a World Cup, what are your ambitions?

As soon as I went in the Elite I wanted to try to win. I will do my best to keep up with wins and we will see.

Christmas is coming, tell us a bit about the Christmas of Jack Carthy, is what he will also enjoy on a festive Christmas dinner full of stuffed turkey and Christmas pudding? Or will he be reasonable because he has to train on the next day?

Yes I will be enjoying myself but I will make sure I can ride the day after haha. But I am looking forward to my dinner!!

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The father of the British trials released a few days ago a new video of trial riding a bike race , joined by Chris Akrigg and Danny MacAskill ..... An incredible vid’ ... Martyn is now in a wheelchair, the whole British scene is very affected by this tragedy... What do you think about this crazy vid, this tragedy?

First I would like to say I hope Martyn will be back okay soon as possible!! But the video was amazing. I loved it and I watch it a lot.

Are you interested in making such a vid, something in the truly fine tradition of UK, something streety, freeride, fun...... or not ?

Yes me and Alex from Trial’N’Error have been talking about some cool stuff!!!

JPEG - 101.5 kb It has been a long time since we saw you in a good trials video, such as those you could do with Trial’N’Error ... Hope we could see you soon in a natural or street vid, riding your Crewkerz ?

Yes I think this will be happening. You will have to wait and see...

Is there any people to whom you want to dedicate your first victory on the international Elite circuit and this incredible season?

Yes there are a few people without whom all of that would not be possible. First my mum and dad; a big thanks to the Belaey family and all the sponsors as well. And thanks to the guys that gave me my indoor place!!

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