Living The Dream: Troy Brosnan

June 22nd, 2011

By Factory Jackson in Features

I’m not too old that I don’t remember being 17 and doing my first downhill race. I can vividly remember all the emotions and excitement that went with that day and the buzz of racing my bike. The thought of going pro and traveling the world was nothing more than a fantasy and one I’m sure we’ve all had pop into our heads at some point in our riding lives, but for most of us, some things are meant to be just that; a fantasy. Troy Brosnan is living the life many of us have only ever dreamed of. A pro contract on one of the worlds most high profile teams and with two of the best riders in the world as team-mates. Lady luck may play her part in the outcome of our lives, but natural ability and commitment are two things you really can or can’t count on.

Troy backs up his position in the world with just that, natural ability on a bike, the commitment to his trade, but also the attitude that separates him from many top racers and what has surely helped land him on the Monster Energy team. Late 2009 marked Troy’s arrival on the scene, popping up for the first time on a lot of people’s radars and by the end of 2010 had completed his first year racing overseas and with it, taking the World Cup Junior overall title and the World Championships title to boot!

The Monster Energy/ Specialized team became Troy’s home from home during the race season and by all accounts, not a team who mess around. Choosing Troy to join Sam and Brendan was a careful and calculated decision and one that has helped produce a rider with an approach to what he does that goes well beyond his tender age. Troy is still in the junior category for 2011 and after the first World Cup of the year, is once again leading the pack of fast and hungry juniors eager to make their mark and begin their rise into the pro league. But Troy isn’t just competing against those of a similar age; Troy is taking on the whole field. During the off-season, Troy hit the domestic circuit back in Australia, regularly posting times much quicker than more senior and experienced elites and is already preparing for the transition into the sports upper ranks. We caught up with Troy just before the second round of the 2011 World Cup series in Fort William, to find out a little bit more, about the young Australian.

Words: Olly Forster

Photos: Duncan Philpott and Jacob Gibbins

Photo – Duncan Philpott, Monster Energy/ Specialized pits and above, smashing the top section at the 2011 Fort William World Cup.

-Growing up in a place like Adelaide must have its benefits for a rider with the hills and the great weather. What’s the riding scene like down there?

It’s pretty good, there are lots of little pinners riding around the suburbs and flying down Adelaide’s downhill tracks although there aren’t many good steep tracks, but it does compensate in its really good weather!

-Who or what got you into riding and racing downhill?

Steve Marsh; at the time Steve was teaching a bike Education program for some schools and saw that I had a little bit of skill jumping off curbs and skidding around the place. Then I went to my first downhill race with Steve and just fell in love with the sport.

-Signing with the Monster team back in ’09 must have been pretty unreal, how did the deal come around and what was it like getting the offer?

I was in Whistler for Crankworx and racing in the U19’s and doing pretty well, I already knew Sam Hill before hand so I was hanging around with the team a little bit. Sean (team Manager) had been watching my progress and then spoke to my mum and dad that there might be a chance of getting on the team for 2010. A couple of months later the contract rolled thorough and my dream pretty much came true!

-Being on such a high profile team, do you feel any pressure to emulate the results and standing of Sam and Brendan, or does the pressure just fuel the fire?

All though my racing, the pressure has never gotten to me, but I’m just out there having fun and loving what I’m doing. But seeing Sam and Brendan doing so well, does make me want to step it up and go faster.

-Sam and Brendan are easily two of the fastest and most influential riders around and having them as team- mates must be an amazing opportunity for you. What’s it like traveling the world with these two?

It’s normal in a way, like so easy and laid back just messing around and to be honest it’s like having a second family.

-2010 was your first full year racing overseas and at 16, it’s fair to say it’s a pretty young age to leave home and for such a long time, especially being so far away. How was your first year on the circuit and traveling with the team?

Being so young, my mum didn’t want to let me go at the airport, but my first year was good and pretty easy; just learned so much about the sport and traveling with people that have done it for years, just makes it so easy.

-With all the travel, do you ever feel that you might be missing out on doing the regular things your mates back home get up to?

Ha-ha, I feel like there the ones missing out. I get to travel the world doing what I love for 5 months and they are stuck at school. Yeah, it’s good to be with people your own age, but all my life I have grown up with older people and I’m used to it.

-There are a lot of distractions at your age with girls, partying and everything in between. Is it difficult knowing you have a great future and career ahead of you and having to commit a lot of your life to this goal right now, or does Troy get a little wild in the off season and blow some steam off?

A little bit of steam comes out after World Champs but only for a short time. I tried to have a month off the bike after worlds, but had nothing to do, so I think it is in my blood and hopefully it will stay there.

Photo – Jacob Gibbins, 2011 Fort William World Cup.

-Lets briefly talk about last year: overall Junior World Cup Champion and the Junior World Championship title too, not a bad way to start things off. Were you confident that you could make your mark in such a way or did it all just come together?

At the start of the season my goal was to just qualify for a world cup and leading into the last round it had changed to getting a top 20, so it all just fell into place and was running pretty smooth.

-Who do you consider a threat going towards the worlds this year and are you looking forward to racing Champery?

 

Well last year Neko was injured for a while and missing out on a lot of World Cups, so I think he’s had something to show this year and it’s going to be a really good battle like last year. Champery is one of my favorite tracks, really technical and super steep. It can be dry or wild with all the mud and I will still have a massive smile on my face when riding down!

-I think you surprised a few people at Pietermaritzburg with a solid 23rd and a split up top of 9th, which realistically was where the track was a little wilder and more like a proper DH track than the pedal fest that followed. We all know you prefer the more technical tracks and were you surprised with your result here or was it just off the back of some solid off season preparation?

 

I did put in a fair bit of work on the off-season with my strength and it was really good to see it working. My goal was to crack that top 20 and to get that close, was all I could ask for. Then looking back at my split and being in the top ten was amazing, now, knowing that my speed on the more technical tracks is pretty fast, I can not wait till later on in the season when the MAN tracks come out to play.

– Are you feeling confident that there’s a more than likely possibility that you could regularly break into the top 20 this year and is this an achievable goal?

That is my goal for this year, just to try and get into that top 20 at every race, I know I can do it and really just have to make it happen. It really comes down to who ever wants it the most!

-Coming off the success you had last year and with this being your last year in Juniors, have you changed the way you approach your training and preparation?

Yes and no. I’m still just having fun with it this year and learning a lot; I have been stricter in my training and trying a few new things, which seem to be working. Also it would be good to make a bit of an impression leading into next year when I move up to elite.

-Your regularly keeping some of the top seniors in check now. Do you see the transition from Junior to Elite going smoothly or do you have any concerns battling with some of the more experienced riders?

I really like racing faster riders, cause then I have to step up my game and push myself to the limits. That’s what makes a rider faster and as I’m still yet to grow and getting stronger will only help me improve and get me going faster in the future.

-Being one of the smaller guys, you seem to excel when the tracks get steep and technical. Do you think your size helps get you through the tight spots that much faster or is it just technique?

It is a bit of both; being small has it good points, like in tight turning woods, but then it can hurt me on a massive pedal where someone like Peaty can lay down way more horse power than myself, but in saying that, there is fitness and a big one is dealing with the mental strength. If your head is not with it on the day, then you might as well pack your bags early.

Photo – Jacob Gibbins, 2011 Leogang World Cup.

-You’re also a ‘clips’ rider, which is pretty unusual these days with so many riders running flats. Have you always ridden in clips?

As I started racing BMX, I have been running clips and just kept using them on my downhill bike. Being so used to them, it just feels so normal for me and occasionally the flat pedals do come out on some tracks, just to have a little bit of fun.

-What tracks are you looking forward to this year and where has been the most memorable to date and why?

Well this year all the tracks are good but Mont St Anne and Champery are my two favorites by far and have treated me very well. Champery is just so sick and everyone knows that it is the best world cup track. I think when you win a world title at a track like that, well, you seem to really love that particular one.

-Having the backing of both Monster Energy and Specialized must be pretty amazing and the new Demo is one sweet bike. How important is the support structure of a solid team around you, to getting the job done on the race-course?

The Monster Energy/ Specialized team is so focused and having massive companies behind them, which makes it almost a walk in the park for us riders. Sean (Team Manager) has been on the world cup circuit for 10 years now and knows what he is doing! They do a really good job so that Sam, Brendan and myself only have to focus on racing. Jacy (Team Mechanic) is one of, well I think he is, the best mechanics out there and has my bike ready to race every run; with the whole team getting along, it’s just smooth sailing.

-Aside from Sam, Brendan and the team, who else do you hang out with at the races?

I have gotten to know a few people from last year and have been punching runs with Will Rischbieth from Adelaide, Australia and we ride a lot together back at home too. Ruaridh Cunningham also helps me to get up to speed and has a fair bit of experience.

-Earlier, chatting about how every young racer dreams of making it pro, do you ever just sit back in the Monster pits next to Sam and Brendan and just think, “Shit, this is awesome!”

Everyday I am just getting blown away getting product, riding on the sickest tracks and traveling all over the world. Which, from the very first day I raced my first DH race, I dreamed of.

-What do your mates back home make of your new life as an international DH racer?

Most of my friends back home ride and are into racing local DH races so they are all very into watching the World Cups and have traveled over to watch a few already. Friends from school, well they thought I was stupid leaving school to just ride a bike but now they are all just jealous and are sitting exams while I’m overseas living it up!

-Where do you see the sport going in the next few years and where would you like to see it go?

I’m hoping for the sport to get into the Olympics or something big like that, but I would really like to see it grow as big as Motocross and have massive pits with massive RV’s everywhere. It defiantly can be done but it would take fair few people and a lot of money to get any where near Motocross.

-Away from bikes and racing, what else do you like to get up to in your spare time?

5 minutes from my house is a nice beach for the summer when we get some raging heat. There are no waves but it is always fun to go jetty jumping of skim boarding, just to cool off. And if it’s a really nice day I can drive down to a beach with some nice waves and go surfing and chill out with some friends.

Photo – Duncan Philpott, 2011 Leogang World Cup.

-Okay, random question time. Tell us something we wouldn’t know about Troy Brosnan?

That I have never road a proper Motocross bike…

-If you weren’t racing bikes around the world, what would you be doing instead?

I would still be in school and probably getting ready to try out to be a firefighter

-Who does the best ‘moto-whips’ on the World Cup circuit?

Brendog can throw them out – there pretty good sometimes…

-Who’s the wildest at the after race parties?

I haven’t really seen many but from what I’ve heard, Cedric.

-Thanks for taking the time Troy and all the best for the season ahead. It’s time for those interview shout outs!

Massive thanks to Sean H and Jacy for every little detail and the whole team at Monster Energy/ Specialized! Plus Mum and Dad for letting me go traveling overseas!

Troy is still leading the points race in the Junior category and after a solid 23rd place finish in Pietermaritzburg, went on to qualify 8th at Fort William and taking a respectable 30th in the finals. This was nothing compared to the next round in Leogang, where Troy qualified in 11th and finished 15th and to then win the iXS Cup there the following week end and solidify the fear of many of his peers; that he is “on the hunt” and it won’t be long until he’s standing on that Elite podium. You can keep up with Troy’s adventures here on Facebook!

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