Literally hours before he boarded a flight to France to get his 2022 World Cup season underway we caught up with the newly crowned Aussie Champ for a chat about his rather mega off-season, his new bike, team, and his plans for the year ahead.
Photo (cover) // Jack Fletcher Photos (this page) // Matt Staggs
[R]: Firstly, congratulations on becoming the new National DH Champion! Has it always been a dream of yours to raise that #1 elite trophy?
Connor: Yes, for sure, it is awesome to finally tick that big one off the list. I think I’ve played placed second six times at the elite national championships, so it’s been a long time coming!
It such has been a big off season for you switching teams after so many years at Kona. Was it a bit of a surprise/shock when you heard that they were shutting down the team and you’d have to look for a new ride or had it been in the pipeline for a while?
It wasn’t a big surprise for me. Kona were honest with me and I understood their reasons for pulling out of racing. At the same time, it was time for me to try something new, so it all happened at the right time.
You’re riding for Forbidden now which is rad. Did it take long to get used to the new set-up and the high pivot and idler?
The Forbidden is completely different to any bike I’ve ridden in the past, so it did take a while to get used to how the bike worked and how the different design requires a different suspension set up to what I’ve been used to in the past. From the get-go I realised how capable these bikes are.
The bike you raced at Champs is essentially a trail bike because Forbidden haven’t had a DH bike in their line-up, however we’ve heard that they’re rushing to have a prototype DH rig ready for you to race World Cups on this season. Is that true?
Yep, I’ve been racing the Dreadnaught which is a 154mm enduro frame matched with a 180mm travel RockShox Boxxer. It definitely performs way better as a DH bike than people realise. I had no problems racing Thredbo or Maydena on it. There is certainly a Downhill bike in the works from Forbidden! I wouldn’t say they are rushing it though. It’s going to be done right the first time and when it arrives, I have no doubt it will be the best bike I’ve ever ridden.
Racing wise what is your focus this season, World Cups or EWS?
I’m focusing 100% on World cups this year. There are too many races in each series and the riding standard too high to try and compete at a high level for both disciplines.
You’ve got a new bike, a new team and now a National Champion sleeve to go with it, what’s your head space and your motivation like right now heading into the new season?
I feel more confident and generally more stoked about going racing than I have for a long time! I’m looking forward to meeting up with the crew over in France to get the season finally started!
Well good luck with it all mate. We’re stoked to have you back on the front cover. It’s been a little while between drinks!