Matt Smith Racing on the 2011 DH season
Finally! Wow, it has been a long off season! What with the 2010 race Calendar rammed into the first few months of the year to accommodate the World Cup and then only the club Championships to content with at the end…
The 2011 season seems to be running along the same lines. Not the Soccer World Cup but a much more prestigious event this time. I’m joking of course but 2011 does mark the return to International Downhill racing in South Africa in the form of the UCI Downhill Mountainbiking World Cup in Peitermaritzburg in April.
To allow riders to collect for UCI points and stand a chance to compete in the up coming World Cup, South African Cycling federation has moved a high points scoring event to the very beginning of the year. This event is the All African Continental Champs. We caught up with Matt Smith to see what he’s been up to in the off season and his thoughts on how 2011 will start out.
“I’m just raring to go really. I took some time off downhill at the end of last year to focus on work and also allow some of the old injuries that had been piling up over the season to recover. I knew the season would start around early February as it always does so I built my base training up pretty early on with a lot of road riding and cross country which has kept me fit and ready for the next level of training. I’ve finally been able to get in a lot of time on the MX bike. I’ve never really been able to work it into my training and my mad schedule but I made a concerted effort this time and the results are phenomenal. All the pros overseas swear by MX in the off season as a base for strength and core and boy are they right. I’ve hit the track almost twice a week along with my other road/mtb training and feel solid. It’s really helped with my arms and hands which have always giving me problems in the past.
I’ve been on the new Mongoose Boot’r since early December last year so I’m feeling good on the bike. Pretty similar to last years model but this time I’m running the new Manitou Dorados up front and an Elka rear shock. Got them dialed in early on so no problems there. The rest of the bike is familiar and I feel super comfortable on her. Been with Mongoose the last four seasons so it’s always easy to just go and get the latest model and tune her up. All the rest of the crew are still there as far as sponsors go. I’ve work hard in my professional career to build long term relationships so I don’t like bouncing between deals too much if I can avoid it. It’s a really strong package again for me in 2011 and the familiarity of it all puts me at ease so I can just go out there, train and hopefully bring home the bacon.
One really weird bit for this season is that we’re opening with a big Hollywood race in Capetown,…haven’t even done a club or regional yet so nobody knows what level they’re at. I’m confident though, knowing that I’m starting the year off in the best form of my life. I’ve won this event before two years agao when it was held in Mankele so I know I can bring it at a big event when I need to.
I’ll be joined this year by Ryan Frerichs who I’m mentoring and bringing up to speed. He will race the early regional and club races as part of my team and selected Nationals later in the year. He’s a massively skilled kid out of Moto-x and motard and has a crazy smooth style in DH so I’ll keep you posted on his progress too.
So it’s time to box up the bike and kit back and thumb a lift on a passing jet down to Cape Town and hit the season square on for Matt Smith Racing. Watch out for results in the local bicycle press as well as Super Cycling.
10th – 13th February 2011 – African Inter Continental Championships – Stellenbosch Jonkershoek Nature Reserve.
Matt Smith Racing would like to thank all the Sponsors for staying onboard for 2011!
Mongoose Bikes, Match Insurance Thor MX, KTM, Von Zipper, Liqui Moly, Mikes Bikes in Greenside, Frerichs Customs, DC Shoes and Leatt braces.