Australia Day might have been reason to celebrate for a nation, but guaranteed there was one Australian more amped than all of us. News dropped that Graeme Mudd had signed with Trek Factory Racing DH for the coming season. His 2016 results and straight up dedication obviously making the winningest family in MTB, the Athertons, take notice. 8th in Cairns and a solid showing at the mega-gnar Hardline event showcasing his potential to the team at Trek. Rather than just dropping the press release, we hit up Muddy to get an insight into the whole, epic deal. Read on.
So, it was Australia Day and we awake to the epic news that you’re joining the Trek Factory DH Racing Team? You’re obviously stoked beyond belief?
It wasn’t until Australia Day morning that I realised what a perfect day to drop the news. I have been struggling to keep in my excitement for the last few weeks. Especially once I received my shiny red Trek session 9.9.
From 4X to DH, you’ve pushed hard for more than a few years, it’s gotta feel good to know you’ve made a mark on the international scene?
Bloody oath! I feel like I’ve been chipping away at it for a long time now. The four years I spent doing my apprenticeship were tough never being able to throw everything I had at it but to be a qualified tradesman and now kicking goals in my dream job is an incredible feeling.
How many seasons have you made ‘trek’ to the northern hemisphere chase the WC dream now?
My first World Cup was 2009 in Fort William. I was 17 years old, my dad and I packed up my 4x bike and went to see what it was all about. This is when I first met the Athertons. My bike got lost in transit so I was lapping the pits hoping to borrow one. 2010 I raced the entire 4x World Cup circuit before that fun little sport was laid to rest. Ever since I’ve been a committed downhiller. Each year I made a trip to at least a coupe of World Cups mainly just to gain some experience for the day I could give it a proper crack. That was last year, I stopped working, got stuck in, managed an 8th in Cairns, a 24th in Fort William and a whole season of experience to land me where I am now, about to head off on my first season as a factory supported racer.
And up until now you’ve done it all pretty much on your own coin?
That was where my apprenticeship came in handy.. I’d train, work, save up and go race. That was the set up for a solid four years. I also have a lot to thank my old boy for (the real Muddy). He has had my back right through from when I was a six year old racing BMX.
“We’re always alert to emerging potential and there were some flashes of brilliance in Muddy’s 2016 season, it was obvious that he is our kind of hard-wired racer. At Hardline we got the chance to spend some time with him and the whole team became huge fans. We’re really looking forward to seeing how the increased support impacts on his 2017 results.” Gee Atherton
When we think of Trek Factory Racing, it goes without saying that they are easily one of the most successful teams on the WC circuit? Aside riding with the fastest family MTB has ever seen, what else has the team got to offer you?
I am blown away with Atherton Racings set up and their passion for quality. It is unreal to be able to set my mind on riding fast and know the rest is in good hands. The team director Dan Brown has steered the ship there for many years now with a team of other staff all with full on jobs keeping everything in order with Gill looking after comms, Joe making sure the bikes are fit for work and as fast as possible. This year the teams training is set up by Nick Grantham. A man with a swag full of experience in high level sport. Not to mention the riders, Gee, Rach and Dan have a lengthy list of achievements. These are the guys and girl that know first hand what it takes to be the best so even just being in their presence will be a huge learning experience for me. I feel very well looked after and confident I have the best support a first year pro rider could ask for.
You’ll be out of Australia and based in the UK from here on in yeah? Whereabouts?
Before I jet off for the year I will join Gee, Rachel and Dan Atherton In California for some training and product testing then back home for March to race the Australian National Champs. Once I get over to the Atherton headquarters in Wales I will be full swing putting the finishing touches on training and set up to rock up to World Cup round one in Lourdes more ready than ever.
By the sounds of it, the Hardline event was the one that opened both team Director Dan Brown and Gee Atherton’s eyes to what you’re capable of? How did it all go down?
I had a bunch of fun at RedBull Hardline! The rear end of my 2016 World Cup season was a bit of a tough time battling fatigue and injury so I was stoked to finish on such a high. Kicking off my OS trip last year at the BDS at Fort William I got to know the Atherton trio a bit better with my numerous visits to their pits searching for half cooked rims I could replace my smashed ones with. They were so welcoming and helpful throughout the whole season. I noticed so many similarities in how we went about our racing never thinking we would ever actually one day be working together. Spending the time with the whole Atherton family and race team at Hardline was where I think we clicked, getting to know each other on a more personal note. I literally got to meet the whole crew through my struggles. Joe helped me with bike mechanicals and physio Laura done a mean strap job on my ankle after bailing off the Jeep Renegade kicker.
So when does the training and racing kick off? You’ve got a massive calendar ahead I bet?
Even in the down time of an off season the training keeps rolling in some way. I have been flat out back into it since Christmas now and am getting keen to hit up national round 2 in Thredbo next weekend. My main focus this year in the World Cups and making a lasting mark there but I have a few other events on the cards along the way. Including the Aus national champs, a couple of British DH series races and a Crankworx or two. I think I went a bit over board with trying to do a lot last year and got burnt out in the end. Especially being a one man band doing the gypsy privateer thing, it’s hard to rest living that lifestyle.
Man, again, so stoked for you, on Australia Day too, we’re wishing you all the best and some big results this year!
Cheers [R]evo, amped to top up the Aussie rider count OS.
“2016 felt like a real turning point for me and I gained a lot of valuable experience but I know that with some more resources behind me I can be sitting at the pointy end of the results lists a lot more often. I am totally stoked to be riding with Trek Factory Racing DH, I’m beyond excited to join a team whose passion and desire for success is everything I’ve dreamed of.” Greame Mudd
Interview: Matt Holmes
Photos: Richard McGibbon