Will's been racing bikes since he was 7 and it's his life. Having to wait until May for the first Na

Race machine Will Longden tests sports psychology

Will’s been racing bikes since he was 7 and it’s his life. Having to wait until May for the first National at Combe Sydenham is keeping him wound up, tense and a bit stroppy to tell the truth. At least he isn’t riding MX to feed his habit like last year.


“I haven’t ridden a motorbike since I messed my ankle up riding at Steve’s (Steve Peat’s) do last year. I’ve raced my mountain bike a couple of times at Innerleithen…”

Yeah, the winter series. Didn’t I see Wardell beat you in the last one?

“As I was saying, I did a couple up there and the last thing was the Red Bull Downhill in the Dark. That was a strange experience, screaming down with a bunch of top riders in the rain and fog when the lights went out!”

So you’ve been sitting around watching the rain pelt down.

“Not much sitting around, more rushing about in it getting soaked. I had the Scott/MBUK downhill squad to pick and organise and there’s a load more to that than you’d think. Take today, I’ve spent most of it trying to find out if they really have to pay £30 a time to insure their bikes at the BCF races. That’s a shed load of money for anyone, let along young racers.It’s irritating. Everything you try to do to promote the sport ends up with someone somewhere wanting a big cheque”.

You sound a bit pissed off.

“Not pissed off, just a bit let down. I’m disappointed that the British bike industry, with a few glorious exceptions, is so unhelpful to racing.Especially downhill at the moment. Take me, all the money for the stuff my sponsors give me comes straight from America. The British Industry is ultra ultra cautious”.

It was the US industry that started the fashion of pulling out of downhill though. I suppose the Freeride comps are the new downhill. You don’t ride them though

“I’m not saying I won’t, but I haven’t.It’s not bike racing: People throw themselves off things without the slightest intention of landing the jump and riding away, then a bunch of other blokes award them points.It doesn’t suit me that”.

You’re on record as wanting to be in the World Top Ten in 4X and Top 20 in Downhill. But we’re sure you can do lots better than that. How many times have you been the fastest rider in practise in the World events?

“One of the fastest I suppose.”

So would you be willing to give a sports psychologist a try to see if you could post practise times on the day?

“Lead me to it!”


At the higher levels, victory is all in the mind. Looking for some techniques to transform your performance? Follow Will’s progress with Sports Psychology and nutrition in MBUK.