Jim Davage aims at Pro Elite DownhillJim Davage had been riding downhill with a pile of attitude for six of seven years before he sacked it in to ride trails. Despite being 6ft 7 - I used to be 6-8, but I compacted a couple of discs - he wasn't so shabby at it:
"I won the King of Dirt at Croyde last year, and I was in the top three for the whole series. Being tall isn't a great disadvantage jumping, it makes my style look a bit shady, but it's not an advantage either which it is in downhill. And now Curtis have made me a proper downhill bike I'm going to give that a real shake in the next couple of years. Me and my brother Tom. It's what we like doing, we just got a little burnt out with it after all those years."
You reckon being stupidly tall helps in downhill?
"Definitely. You can throw the bike around more under you. You sort of hover over it and put your weight exactly where you want it. Think of the way Steve Peat rides, he's tall, I use the same style."
You used to be pretty picky what races you would ride I seem to remember.
"That's right. We didn't like the National Points Series - it was too expensive, too rule bound and too elitist. We wanted to ride our bikes because we wanted to ride them. Couldn't be doing with all that. We did the Dragons and things we liked. I was in the top five seniors in the country and Tom is much more of a natural rider. He can just get on a bike and be good."
So why the Pro Elite come back?
Jim laughs. "Well it's hard to be anti-elitist AND want to show everyone you're better than them at the same time.
And, of course, Curtis have made me this prototype downhill bike which we're just getting right now. Before I often didn't have a decent bike, I rode some shady things."
Curtis are really looking after you.
"Yes. I get everything except a wage. A bike for each of my disciplines which is exactly right for me".
It seems to me that riders who have never had big sponsorship are best adapted to survive the decline in DH support.
"That's true, we never wanted much, we never expected much. We just wanted to ride our bikes when where and how we liked. Nothing's changed there."