179 – Funding The Privateer Journey with Fergus Ryan
Privateer EWS Elite Racer, Fergus Ryan
On episode #179 we are chatting with Fergus Ryan about racing full time on the Enduro World Series circuit, why he decided to be a pro racer as a career path, how sponsorship helps, what his goals are for the 2021 race season, what it takes to be competitive at the pro level and how the DirtFund Project helped put some much needed cash in his pocket.
After chatting with Daniel O’Shea for a past podcast about the great stuff he was doing with The DirtFund Project helping fund privateer racers following their EWS and UCI dreams, we chatted a bit about Fergus as he was the third racer the project funded. So Daniel put us in contact and I not only got Fergus on the show but I found out our paths had crossed a couple of years before, but more on that later.
The first time I saw Fergus was in his movie ‘Stylish UK Trail Shredding in Bristol’, and it didn’t disappoint. He does shred and he does ride with style, but I think you also need to sprinkle a tonne of speed in there and a bucket load of skill to make the picture right. The dude is fast.
So join us as we chat beginnings, funding your racing dreams, motivation, passion and why the EWS race scene is so awesome.
Enjoy the show!
- How Fergus got into mountain biking
- Why he was attracted to mountain biking over other sports
- How Fergus fell into the race scene
- Why he was hooked after his first race
- How Fergus got his university degree shaped around his love for MTB
- How his degree has helped him become a better rider
- How Fergus landed a job with MTB BEDS
- Why he loves Whistler so much
- When and why he decided to become a full time racer
- What the EWS scene is like
- How difficult it is to fund yourself as a privateer
- The issues besides money for the average privateer racer
- How his sponsors have helped over the years
- How Fergus got funded £1000 by The DirtFund Project
- How difficult a EWS event can be
- His goals and plans for the 2021 race season
- How to get in contact with Fergus
When chatting with Fergus before we recorded the podcast, I found out that he was the marketing man behind introducing me to Richard Wilford from MTB BEDS. I had Richard on the show back on Episode #120 chatting about his successful business MTB BEDS (listen here). It’s pretty crazy how big this industry is, but how the community is so small that you can easily run across each other and build a really great network of fellow bikers. Fergus worked for Richard over a number of summers in Morzine, building up his racing funds and gaining great experience in the mountain bike hospitality sector.
After university Fergus ended up working for Richard for a number of years before deciding to take his racing to the next level, attack it full time, race in as many EWS events he could afford and see where it took him. Unfortunately covid hit and really put an end to his 2020 plans. He did race in the events that went ahead, but he really wasn’t mentally in the right space and decided that 2021 was going to be his real attempt at making this thing happen.
He put plans into action and teamed up with Ben at The Strength Factory to work on his fitness and overall mobility on the bike, which has helped him out, not only with the mental and physical side of things, but also at surviving crashes and spills (Fergus’s words not mine!). But, in all seriousness Fergus is taking this to the max, he is 100% committed, putting everything he has into this opportunity and going to leave nothing on the trail.
We chat about this and how difficult it is as a privateer to compete at such a high level on the EWS tour. Not only are you self funded which is hard enough, but you have to cook for yourself, get your trail food ready, do all your own mechanical work, sort accommodation, race entries etc etc, the list goes on. It is only for the determined and most passionate of riders to put themselves through this type of commitment to race their bikes against the world’s best athletes and the world’s best trails. Anything less will fall short.
It is amazing what privateer riders like Fergus will put themselves through to achieve their goals, but they do require help. We chat to Fergus about how none of this would be possible without help from his sponsors and non-profits like The DirtFund Project and of course the continued support of his parents.
So join us as we jump into the world of the privateer mountain biker with Fergus Ryan.
Thanks for being here and for your support!
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Thanks so much to Fergus for coming on the podcast and sharing his journey in the world of privateer racing.
And thank you once again for tuning in!
Join me next week for another MTB TRIBE Podcast show!