Youth is one of those things that passes you by pretty swiftly if you don’t make the most of it. Before you know what’s going on you’re juggling a job, family and the realization that your body cant take the knocks like it used to. For many of us, the best times are those spent riding sweet trails with our buddies – being a talented Junior rider is perhaps the most enviable position a young rider can find themselves in
The UK is a hot-bed of young talent, with a strong presence of Junior riders who can mix it up with the big boys with consummate ease. Phil Atwill is one of these riders: young, fresh-faced, quiet and unassuming yet possessing an impressive talent. Since joining the Madison Saracen team in 2011, Phil has been Youth National Champion and last year managed to secure the Junior British Downhill Series, as well as come third overall in the Junior World Cup rankings in his first year of trying.
Woburn Sands is a haven for UK riders of all disciplines and being one of Phil’s local spots, is his venue of choice when it comes to mixing up his training schedule. Sure, it may be more renowned for its huge dirt jumps, ridden and crafted by the likes of Phil’s Saracen cohort, Matt Jones, but there is still plenty on offer for the big-bike crowd.
Whilst it may not be the ultimate DH training spots, its still a great place to extend your skills with its mix of big jumps, flat-out senders, roots and opportunity for sheer speed.
You don’t become a Woburn regular without picking up some pretty nifty skills and this is clearly evident with Phil, who can happily mix it up on his dirt jump bike or BMX. This kind of varied riding really has its benefits when transferred to a downhill bike and is one of the reasons that Phil possess style beyond his years.
Phil is a rider who is yet to reach his full potential. His first year on the World Cup circuit was a mixture of rookie nerves in the early part of the season through to impressive success in the latter part of the year. Phil performed flawlessly on the domestic circuit, taking the Junior series title, as well as taking the fastest time of the day at the series finale.
With the announcement by the UCI that the Junior riders would have their own series in 2013 came the very realistic notion that Phil will be one of the true contenders when the World Cup series kicks off later this year.
Photography & Videography: Laurence Crossman-Emms