THE VINI DIARIES THE MAKING OF A CHAMPION
Instalment no. 1
Ok so I’ve been back at this magazine stuff for a while now, hooked back up with bike industry people of old and linked up with some great new contacts in racing, products and riding; things are going pretty good. The Idea I had pretty much from the start, was to help an up and coming rider out, let’s face it I’m a Veteran rider now, not getting any younger, so with my current and vastly growing array of industry moguls I thought, why not use it for something other than blagging shit for myself! The classic case I sort of base it on, is back in the day, when Steve Peat and Nick Bayliss (co-founders of Royal Racing) used all their cycle world contacts to help out two top british junior riders to get world recognition, those being Rich Barlow and Neil Donoghue. I remember thinking what a great idea it was at the time and how it was pretty decent of them to help these youngsters out. Unfortunately the incredibly talented Rich Barlow has now retired from MTB’s but Donny, well, need I say any more!
So who was it to be, there are tons of talented riders out there, but not too many who have all the ingredients, of which I feel are essential to become a top publicised and successful racer today. Well there was one rider, Vini Crighton-Poli, who had been coming out riding with our group and had been getting noticed by my mates a fair bit, with lots of them bending my ear about helping him out. I took notice and the more I rode with Vini, the more it became apparent he was up for the job, he just had all the ingredients, let me explain what these are.
A flair for riding
Vini has raced and ridden BMX, Motorcycle Trials and a bit of Motorcycle Enduro for a few years now, not bad at the age of 16! he has some serious riding talent, seeming to take to any two wheeled machine with ease and showing riding skills of a potential Donny.
The right approach
He is extremely appreciative and very thankful of any help given to him, with his good up-bringing showing through with manners of a gent.
His parents are 100% behind him, with no crazy family distractions to veer him of track of his goals, they encourage him, don’t molly coddle him and aren’t the usual pushy motocross parents screaming orders from the side of the track.
He listens and doesn’t complain
After 2012 UKGE vets winner Rich Lewis told him leg squats are important for training, he has been doing them flat out ever since, and up till now riding a real beaten up old Kona that always breaks, he just kept going on it without whinging.
He has the look
One of the current problems with Enduro in the UK is a lot of people don’t see it as cool, due to it being based around the older rider. The sport needs younger role models, to bring in the fresh meat, Vini has the cool-guy look the ladies love and the young riders can aspire to be like.
He knows how to work the internet to his advantage with the whole self publicising thing, using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep his progress out there for future potential fans.
Vini, even on the old Kona, has managed to work his way up to second overall in the current UKGE Under 18s ranking, showing he knows how to put down a good day’s racing.
So the first steps were put into place, One Industries very kindly agreeing to send him a load of race clothing over. We hooked him up with Empire Cycles for a proper factory team deal and a nice new bike, plus local firm Rockguardz have agreed to help him and he had a great day out with Donny, being coached and experienced his first bit of a photo-shoot. His first race upon the Empire with his new attire, I have to admit didn’t go down too well at the Caersws Mini Enduro, where he came down in 1st on run one, only to push too hard (trying too hard to impress) and crashed stages 2 and 3. This really wasn’t a bad thing, he learnt a lot, realising he just had to back off a bit to have taken the win. Currently he has just been on a riding family holiday to Morzine to hone his DH skills ready for the next round of the UKGE at Dyfi.
Watch this space for Instalement no. 2
Big thanks to Empire Cycles, One Industries and Rockguardz
Words: Jim Buchanan | Photos: Doc Ward (http://www.doc-photography.com/)
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