Man On Fire // A midseason catch up with Jack Moir
The saying ‘Man on fire’ refers to someone that operates at a functioning level much higher than most.
Jack has come into the 2021 EWS displaying amazing form, winning 2 of the 4 races so far and finishing in second at the pair of races that he didn’t win. His speed and consistency right now is quite simply staggering! [R]evolution recently caught up with the young shredder from NSW…
Photos // Sven Martin, Boris Beyer
[R]: Mate you’ve come out of the gates absolutely blazing this season. What’s the secret of your current success?
Jack: Yeah, I’m obviously really happy with how the season has started! I’ve been asked this a few times this year and I remember getting asked the same thing in 2017 when I started getting on the podium at the downhill world cups. I feel this has been cooking up for a while now, but have just had so many obstacles along the way and everything is just starting to come together now. I have been working my ass off! And for a long time now in fact, on just about every aspect within my career, from physical training and technical skills, to the effort I put into my social media channels. I have had some real tough times, with injury early on in my career and more recently team stuff. It’s hard to explain without seeming like I’m whinging, but a lot of stuff goes on behind the scenes in an athlete’s life that no one knows about. People just see the happy/good times on Instagram and see the success all of a sudden and think that you uncovered some secret recipe in the last offseason now that you’re killing it. But really it has been a lot of struggle, sacrifice and growing up over the last 10 years to get to this point and only really close family and friends see this.
Soooo I guess I should’ve just answered your question with persistence, hard work, surrounding yourself with good people, and never giving up on your goals!
Given that this is only your second year of focusing on EWS racing (rather than DH), and the fact that last season was massively scaled back due to COVID, have you even surprised yourself a little with how quickly you’ve become started winning consistently and become the guy to beat?
Yeah it is a bit of a surprise, but I’ve been pretty confident at the EWS races from day one. That longer, multiple stage style of racing just seems to suit me better. I’ve got good technical skills from downhill, but I’m more of a diesel engine, I take a while to get going ‘ya know. I was always really good at long distance running in school as a kid and not as good at the more explosive short sprinting races. I also found it a lot easier for me to do well on longer downhill tracks like Fort William. I guess it is just how I am built. I have worked really hard adapting to the new style of training the last couple years (way more road riding then I ever would of liked/imagined haha) and after last year’s podiums, I knew I was only going to get better with another off season to build on my training. I was hoping to better my results from 2020, but hoping you can be a consistent podium rider and maybe get a win, is a lot different to doing it, so it feels amazing to tick that life goal off the list!
We can’t recall an EWS season, or even a World Cup DH season where 2 riders have been so close at the opening 4 races. What’s going on with you and Richie (Rude), you’ve both won 2 rounds and both came second to each other at the 2 races you didn’t win. That’s nuts! How come you guys are inspirable and riding on a whole different level to the rest of the field do you think?
It is really crazy how close we are… I don’t actually know. It makes sense at a downhill race when the times are that tight, as it is just one track that everyone has practiced over and over again, but to be that close over 4 races each with a number of stages with such variation in terrain and style of track, it is hard to explain. Especially since we have such different approaches to racing, different riding styles and builds. For some races it was even dry for a couple stages and raining for a couple and we were still within a second. So pretty much the same on all types of stages in all types of conditions. Unheard of MATE.
We are definitely pushing each other every stage which makes for some exciting (but stressful for me haha) racing, so I hope it’s good to watch!
Talk us through your mindset when you wake up in the morning of a big race day. Are you totally focused without distraction or are you trying to shake some nerves, etc?
I just do everything I normally would, good breaky, some hecctticccc tunes on the way to the track and then keep to myself and focus on the day ahead. There are always going to be nerves, but you just learn to deal with them and use them in a positive way. You’re never going to push yourself to the absolute max, if you don’t have those nerves and adrenaline.
I was watching some footage from the pits after one of the races this season and you made a comment that really struck me. You were being asked if you carry your phone with you through a race day so that you can check the leader board after each round (Ed’s note: in EWS racing often the riders leave the pits in the morning and spend the entire day out racing multiple timed stages which then add together, so it’s common for riders to keep an eye on the leader board to see how they’re going) and you said “no” and then explaining “I don’t usually look at the times as we’re going because it’s not going to make a difference to the way I ride. It’s not as if I can push harder or go faster than I already will be.” That’s a pretty strong and mature sentiment mate!?
Yeah, it really doesn’t bother me if I know or not because of that reason, that’s how I have approached it since I started racing EWS. Maybe when you have a huge lead it’s good to know, like at that last race I came into the last stage 7 seconds up, it’s good to know you have a lead that big so you can maybe dial it down just a tiny bit and have a safe one. You have to be good either way though, as people in the crowd, or other riders are always telling you how you went each stage.
For those of us that have never seen a EWS track in real life, can you explain just gnarly some of the sections get? Like, should you be on a DH bike rather than a trail bike for some of the sections?
I don’t think people understand how crazy steep and technical some of these stages are. Downhill is super gnarly in the fact that the racing is sooo tight, so you are going soooo fast and have to be insanely committed to get a good result and one little slip up means you are probably going to have a huge one. Whereas EWS is gnarly in a different way. At some venues like Lathuile, you have some super steep fresh loam sections with lots of rocks and roots becoming exposed. These bits are more technical than anything on a downhill world cup track, then throw some weather in the mix and you have wet roots and rocks and that’s after a 1.5 minute sprint that just blew your doors off so much that you can barely see, annddddddd then throw in the fact that it’s a 15 minute long stage and you have done one practice lap and can’t really remember where you are going haha. Oh and on top of that, this is the last stage of the day and You are smoked from pedalling around and racing for 6 hours haha. It’s actually pretty brutal.
Hard to explain to anyone that hasn’t been out of Aus riding in the alps, but for anyone around my area back home, they always ask if the EWS stages compare to Awaba downhill track. You should be able to ride Awaba downhill on a hardtail with ‘ya eyes closed before thinking about racing a Euro EWS….
So yeah I guess it does grind my gears a little to be honest when I go out to do an EWS qualifying race back home at Awaba, NSW, and they don’t run the full downhill track in there? Seems a little odd, eh!
At EWS’s do you guys really only get 1 practice lap of each section before you have to race it at full speed?
Yeah this is part of the fun! And sketchiness! It is a totally different approach than downhill racing and I’m getting better at it as I go. It’s impossible to memorise the track, so you have to be good at riding and picking good lines on the fly.
How the hell do you memorise where the trail goes, what section is coming up ahead of you, etc?
In short, you don’t. We do a practice lap with Gopro’s and you re-watch those, but when you got a bunch of really long stages to try memorise it’s impossible. I just try to remember key sections that caught me out on my practice lap. Most of the time this doesn’t go to plan and I’m still always getting mixed up thinking one section is another section and blowing it out etc.
One of the quirks about Enduro racing is that the rider must be totally self-sufficient without getting outside help if you break something on your bike, etc. That being the case what kind of spare parts, food, etc do you carry with you during a race day?
There hasn’t been too much emphasis on this for this season. We have had relatively short races compared to previous years and have been able to go back to tech zones a fair bit. I run a strap setup with a tube, crank brothers multi tool, Muc Off Co2 setup and tyre levers. Got a chain link on there, a plug kit in my crank and a hanger cable tied up under my seat. You also have the stickers on your wheels suspension and frame, so if you you break any of that stuff you get a time penalty. This is another thing that completely changes my approach to the race. I never really use that all out downhill speed, as it is too risky…
If you get a flat, break a wheel or smack your derailleur on a rock and rip it off, the race could be over. Shout out to my mechanic Tommy for running a tight ship!
Okay enough talk about racing for now, one thing I’d really like to chat about if your awesome YouTube channel. You’re really active on there, posting stacks of great content. POV clips from the races and awesome edits that you shoot with a heap of filmers. Tell us a bit about your drive to make that channel blow up?
The main motivation behind the channel is to give people a bit more of a look into the behind the scenes of my life and to have another way to promote my sponsors. I want to do everything I can to give back to the people and companies that support me, as they are the reason why I am able to do what I do every day. The Youtube channel is something I have wanted to do for a good few years now and just didn’t really get around to it for a few reasons. I wasn’t a fan of the whole influencer/vlog YouTube thing haha, and it’s a lot of hard work and money to tackle on your own. But last offseason I just thought f**k it, put the ego aside and made the effort to start filming some dumb videos riding with my mate Steveooo.
Turns out people are super interested in watching me be an idiot and this has slowly progressed into Moi Moi TV.
I have a pretty weird sense of humour and I think my personality comes out a lot more on the Youtube VLOGS. The race run Gopro POV’s from downhill world cups and Enduro World Series rounds are as close as you get to the action really. These are cool to see what trails we are actually racing and the conditions we have to deal with. Also get some real emotion from before and after the run whether that be good or bad. I have always enjoyed making proper edits, of just sick riding, with good tunes, that make people want to get out and ride their bike! I get inspiration from other sports that I love like surfing… I can always remember watching the sickest surfing edits with my brother Brucey and then we would go hunt for waves for ages, because we were so keen get out there and rip.
Massive shout out to my boy Matt Staggs for getting involved with this, he has given me a lot of his time helping get this started and I know I’m an absolute pain to work with. I’m super picky when it comes to filming and making these edits haha. Also big thanks to the crew at Brixton for helping me out with a small budget to do some videos this year. I’m super grateful to have these guys involved and it’s looking like we might be able to go a bit harder with this for 2022.
It’s clearly gaining a ton of fan following for you mate. Are a lot of your sponsors loving what you’re doing on that front and keen to be a part of it themselves?
Hmm, yeah I’ve had a couple sponsors reach out and say they are frothing it, so that’s nice.
With your POV clips you’ve been editing those together yourself over there in your spare time, eh? That’s awesome. Has it been tricky learning how to do all that stuff and is it something you enjoy?
Yeah I have been editing stuff for years over on my Insta’ though, so already know what’s going on there, it’s literally just the time I struggle for. My schedule lately has been: Go training with the Gopro, come home, stretch/roll, eat dinner, edit video, have problems trying to upload it with shitty WIFI, spend bulk $$ on data to get it up, then go to sleep. Pretty much been repeating this most days this year. And it gets even tighter on a race weekend with trying to re watch Gopro’s etc. I hope that it continues to grow and I can hire Staggsy for most vids in Aus next year. The end goal is to have a filmer follow me all over the world to every EWS race and film a behind the scenes video of the whole race weekend. But I need a fairly big budget for this so need to build the channel up a bit more first. As tiring as it is, it has been pretty rewarding. So many people have come up to me on the trails or at races and said they love the videos. So thank you to everyone who has supported the channel! Really appreciate it. If ‘ya want to get involved, like, subscribe, comment, share with ‘ya cousins aunties sons friends partners kid, you know all that YouTube stuff. WATCH THIS SPACE
So, we’re at the midpoint of the ’21 season right now. Do you already know what your program is going to be for the next few years? Have you signed an extension with Canyon, will you keep your focus on EWS, etc?
I actually don’t know what my program will be just yet. See how the rest of this year plays out. Downhill world cups are not off the cards, but I’m really enjoying myself at the World Enduro’s at the moment!
It’s either going to go one of 2 ways, I’m going to win the overall, or I’m not. If I win I’m going to want to try and back that up next year, and if I don’t, I’m going to want to have another crack at winning it next year….
It was recently announced that Australia is going to host back-to-back EWS rounds early next season down in Tassie. That’s pretty epic. Are you looking forward to lighting it up in front of the home crowds?
I’m so excited for this! My best memories from racing are Fort William, and Cairns 2017 when all the crew from back home came out to watch. I haven’t been to Maydena yet, but Derby is so sick, I love the trails there. It’s going to be insane racing in front of the home crowd and I will be giving it all the berries!
Last question: you’ve just nailed your second [R]evo mag front cover within a year, is that your absolute career highlight to date or what? Haha only joking. Congrats though mate, stoked to have you on board!
Haha it’s up there! Honestly though this was the magazine that I always frothed on super hard growing up, so it really is pretty MAAADDD to be on the front cover again. Thanks, I really appreciate the support! [R]
Check this interview and a whole lot more gold content in the latest copy of [R]evolution. Available right here.