Interview: Darren Berrecloth Talks About Crankworx

Aug 12, 2014
by Simon Nieborak  
Darren Berrecloth needs no introduction. In fact, this man is an introduction to mountain biking. I am sure that I am not the only who discovered big, freeride mountain riding thanks to him. But descending down massive lines on a mountain isn't the only thing this extremely talented rider can do. Nowadays, we take slopestyle comps for granted, but the truth is that it's only a little bit more than one decade old. The Claw, amongst a handful of other top riders has created a new discipline, "slopestyle," and thanks to Crankworx, it is booming these days.

Catch up with Darren, who is in his early 30s now, and doesn't even thinking of giving up the field to younger riders. He still has loads of interesting things up his sleeve.

Darren, tell us how 2014 has gone for you so far.

This year started out pretty slow with being out all winter from my back injury - 8 months total. So, I spent a ton of time in the gym getting my strength and mobility back. I focused on all-mountain riding and got back on the DJ bike over a month ago and ended up with 8th place at the Les Deux Alpes competition.

Have you achieved your main goal for this year or is it still waiting to be fulfilled?

My goal this year is to get on my bike a bunch and have fun. Film projects and other big things will come in the fall.

Bearclaw
Darren s gear

What was the biggest line you rode this year and... the biggest fish you caught?

Biggest line I rode this year was in Peru and the biggest fish I caught this year was a 25 lb / 11.3 kg Lingcod

Seems like fishing is a great passion of yours... Where are the roots of you interest in fishing?

Ya, I love fishing, because it's a great way to relax and hang out with friends. I also love the ''eat what you catch'' part.

Coming back to mountain biking - there are pretty serious rumours about the sequel to 'Where The Trail Ends'. Can you tell us more about it, please?

Yeah, we are just waiting to get budgets approved from the big guys!

Darren

Let's go back to the year 2002 - you just made up your mind to leave your BMX days behind and started riding 26 inch wheel bikes. You went to the first Rampage as a totally unknown rider, with no sponsors or even your name on the official list of registered riders... and you finished as 3rd. Those were some of the craziest days of your life, am I right?

Yes, those were insane days for me! It was all so new and fresh and everyone was wondering where the sport was going. We just kept shredding our bikes on whatever we loved and it was awesome that people were so into it and still are.

One year later, you were deservingly the winner of the first ever Whistler Summer Gravity Festival's Joyride Slopestyle, beating Eric Porter and Richie Schley. Are those days still fresh in your memory and heart?

Yeah, it was a long time ago but I remember it like yesterday.

So what does Crankworx mean to you?

Crankworx is the Super Bowl of the mountain biking world. Its super fun, super rad and always going to be a great show.

High Peak
  Welcome to Les Deux Alpes

11 years later, Crankworx Joyride is going strong and since 2012, it has a stop in a beautiful alpine village, Les Deux Alpes. For the first two editions, there was always something that stopped you from going there. However, this year you finally made it! I think your expectations were high. Did the place and the event meet them all?

Yes, I was always building my course for Bearclaw Invitational in the past and this year I had time to fit French Crankworx in. I thought the event was great.

Mountains
Mountains
  One look at those peaks and you know instantly why L2A has been chosen to host the French edition of Crankworx

What were the first thoughts and impressions about the village and the whole place of the event?

I love the European alpine villages, the goods, the culture and friendly people, too.

L2A
Darren
  Despite slight jet lag (or maybe thanks to it), Darren was one of the first riders who showed up on the course

Fine tuning
Fine tuning
  Slopestyle isn't World Cup Downhill - you have to totally rely on your own mechanical skills

Boring briefs
  Boring briefs are boring...

Darren s gear
Walking up
  Enough talking, it's time to check out what Yanick has prepared!

L2A slopestyle course has introduced a new obstacle to us all - the Open Loop. Opinions on this feature are divided in half - some riders hate it, others enjoy and pull big tricks on it - on which side are you?

I'm easy... It has its place, but I am good either way.

Flipping The Open Loop
  Darren flips for Ale's photos

Flipping The Open Loop
  The first few attempts were sketchy for all riders, but once they were used to it, it was actually a fun experience to ride this obstacle

Thinking about tricks
Drop
  "This step up / step down was my favourite part of the course designed by Mr. Granieri," says Darren

Talking with Cam Zink
Joking with Cam Zink
  Talking and joking with Cam Zink

Who you like hanging out with when not riding?

Hometown buds, friends I've made in the industry or simply whoever is around.

Chilling with friends
  Chilling with friends is always a good thing to do

I am pretty sure that you're stoked with your fellow countryman, Anthony Messere who took the win.

Yes, for sure Anthony killed it. I love watching all the guys ride actually, everyone has such different styles.

360

It can't be easy to compete against so many skilled and younger riders, but it does not stop you from doing it. Where do you find all this motivation to keep going big?

Yes, it is tough to compete against the young guys, but I am not trying to go out and throw crazy tricks to prove myself. I try to just have a good time and do tricks I know I have fun doing.

Hanging out with Sam and Sam
  Hanging out with English Brothers in Dirt

I guess being in place like Les Deux Alpes bike park was extremely tempting to ride at and you definitely had some awesome descents down the local tracks.

Ya, I was loving the tracks there, I'm a big fan of DH racing so I gave it a go.

Wesley Interviewing Darren
  Wayne from RedBull Media House speaks with Darren about the future of slopestyle and FMB Diamond Series

Farah interviewing Darren
  Farah interviewing Darren for Pinkbike's daily updates on the event

Taking care of the bike in SRAM tent
  After all his media duties, Darren was taking care of the bike at SRAM's tent to make sure all it was dialled for the finals

You have been involved into slopestyle comps since literally day one. How did they change over the years? Surely they're bigger and more popular, now, but what is your personal and inside take on it?

I think it's awesome to see how far we have come and even though there have been some growing pains, I think we did it all the right way.

Uplift
  Whoever goes up, must ride down

Tailwhip
  First, a big tailwhip in and than...

360
  A stylish 360 out of a whale tail feature

Flip in the open loop
  Flip in the open loop is next

Shoulder buzzer
  Shoulder buzzer? - Easy!

360
  360? Why not...

360 drop
  A perfect spin off a drop - one of many signature moves from The Claw, one of the handful of guys who practically invented slopestyle!

Without a doubt, you're looking forward to Crankworx in Whistler. Who are you going to put your money on in slopestyle this year?

My money is on whoever wants it bad enough! Hahahaha

Mountain
  See you in 2015, Les Deux Alpes


Words and Photos By Simon Nieborak


27 Comments

  • 28 0
 Just a top bloke. No bullshite.
  • 22 1
 Not the most in-depth interview.....but I liked it.
  • 9 0
 Darren is the man
  • 17 0
 Les 2 Alpes is not really the cute village in the alps you're trying to depict! It's a resort built from scratch in the mid 20th century where (almost) nobody lives year round. Not exactly what I would call a typical village but they still manage to keep an alpine flair to it. That's it for my useless comment of the day Big Grin
  • 4 0
 It's still a thousand times nicer than Alpe d'Huez. Although I didn't like either - for slopestyle, it's OK (in fairness, any hill with a 100m elevation difference will do for a slopestyle course), but the mountains there seem to be very dry and dusty, and the regular trails were rocky as hell and not particularly interesting. A cool slopestyle course for the pro's doesn't change things much for me... but the backdrops are nice, no doubt.
  • 9 0
 There's going to be a sequel to where the trail ends?! Can't wait for it
  • 4 0
 Stoked that the Claw is doing well! I still remember him from the opening segment of Roam, that was one of the first bike movies I ever bought, it changed my life! Probably watched it hundreds of times over the years.
  • 5 1
 One suggestion. Let the guy at least have a sip of his morning coffee before interviewing him. This interview reads like Darren is half-asleep.
  • 5 0
 Claw is always motivating. No matter how little he says
  • 4 0
 Hopefully that's his betty behind him there...
  • 2 0
 Darren is so talkative, took me most of the morning to read that! Good insight though Smile
  • 3 0
 Never read......such a.....relaxed.....interview,,,,,,
  • 3 0
 good interview, the claw seems like a cool guy and very down to earth Smile
  • 3 0
 nice interview
  • 1 0
 He always has that smirk on his face like "yup I'm a legend". haha such a cool guy
  • 1 0
 The beautiful woman behind Darren with the interview with pb lady, wow she's gorgeous
  • 1 0
 If you didnt like the interview, just take a good look at the pics, epic...!! Claw is the man..!!
  • 2 1
 Maybe a new 'where the trail ends' that's what I like to hear
  • 1 0
 I think I was just sold a pair of IXS armpads. Those look comfy!
  • 6 7
 That was a horrible interview. Claw is awesome, questions were not.
  • 20 2
 Feel free to ask for your money back.
  • 2 0
 it's the kind of conversation you'd have on a lift. what would you prefer, him being asked shit like "how do you feel about your mother?" f off.
  • 1 0
 The interviewer was answering the questions within the question, very bad style.
  • 2 5
 What so you think about oppo tricks as winning factor?

P.s : 10th pic from bottom, did you hit on the girl at the back?
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