Donny the racehead

What's happening Donny? You're starting to do well in downhill. "In the Nationals, yes. I got a four

We've always thought of Neil Donnoghue as a dirt jumper, but he's got his racing head on now...
What's happening Donny? You're starting to do well in downhill.

"In the Nationals, yes. I got a fourth a fifth and a second which has left me third overall. Before this year I couldn't have dreamed of that, the most I aspired to be was in the top five."

Not so good at world level yet.

"I qualified at Fort William and then crashed two or three times. I've done that quite a few times. It's a big event and I got too excited and went flying off the track. My manager calls it red mist syndrome. And I was especially nervous at Fort William, of course, in front of my home crowd."

I always thought of you as a bit of a loner who really loved dirt jumping above anything else.

"It's true I didn't like racing much, I mostly rode my jump bike. But I got more serious about racing last year. I didn't expect success. I just enjoyed doing it. It was too hard to give up mountain biking just to study."

You dropped out of Manchester University so you could ride.

"After three months, yes. I work with timber - I do decking to work my way through."

Do you never get second thoughts about it? I mean you're putting your life into racing and there's no sure reward.

"I try to not to think about that. My ambition is quite simple really: to be paid to ride my bike and be in the top ten at world cups."

What else are you into? "Snowboarding, MX and jumping. I want to have fun more than anything. I don't get stressed if I don't do well. I'm lucky. My parents are really supportive"

. When you see all the little kids out there, riding around, do you think 'that was me'?

"Oh yes. I think we all think that, from Peaty and Lopes on down, everyone".

What do you say to them when they ask your advice?

"If you enjoy it keep doing it..."
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