Getting to Know - Matt StuttardMatt Stuttard has been plugging away on the EWS since he made the switch from downhill back in 2016. His first big success came at Snowmass in his first year of racing after he was the only rider to take a stage win off Jared Graves. This year, riding as a privateer, he broke into the top 20 overall for the first time. We caught up with him to talk about his successes and his plans for the future.
I'm Matt Stuttard, 26, a privateer enduro racer, ranked 19th in the world.
Where are you from and where do you live?
Burnley, born and bred. A little town in the northwest of England.
How did you get into mountain biking?
I've had bikes all my life but we actually went skiing on the glacier in Les 2 Alpes one summer and saw everyone riding the DH trails in the afternoon, so that's where it all started for me.
Who do you ride for?
I'm a Privateer but get support from Hunt Bike Wheels, Öhlins Suspension, M65 Vans LTD, Hope Technology, 100% UK, Michelin UK, Muc-Off, Rimpact, AVS racing, ShackWrap, MotoFit_pt, Mudhugger.
What bikes are you riding right now?
Pivot Firebird 29, Privateer Bikes 161, Husqvarna FX350.
Do you have a job outside of mountain biking?
Yes, luckily for me my parents have their own heating engineering business, so I can work, train and race as needed.
What are your strengths?
I love going super fast, as well as hitting big jumps! I feel I'm mentally strong and have a good base fitness.
What are your weaknesses?
A bit of explosive power, but that is work in progress over the offseason.
What made you switch from downhill to enduro in 2016?
Doing the DH World Cups being a privateer was tough. I felt for what we were paying to get to the races, we weren't getting much riding in or much in return. So I dipped my hands into enduro racing.
How has the EWS changed in the past few years?
The level of competition has grown to an all-time high, and the trails we race are getting tougher. The 2018 EWS was brutal, it was almost like every race tried to be bigger and better the last, whereas the 2019 EWS they seemed to listen to the riders and put on a great show at every race. The best season to date.
Have you been approached by any teams for a ride next year?
I've had a few chats with potential teams back in Finale Ligure. Nothing is on paper yet, but hopefully. I'm still looking for support.
What are the struggles of being a privateer that people may not realise?
Obviously the hardest thing is money to get to all the races, buy your bike and a few other parts, then all the expenses. But what most people don't see is the hard work and dedication you have to put in whilst working to raise funds. Also having to cook, clean and work on your bike every day at races.
What’s your involvement with Privateer Bikes?
Privateer Bikes is owned by The Rider Firm, which has Hunt Bike Wheels who I'm supported by. The lads came to me with an idea of building an enduro bike and wanted my input on geometry and testing. It has been amazing seeing it grow from a drawing to racing it at EWS Trophy of Nations.
Were you expecting to do as well as you did in the EWS this year?
Yes, I set my goals for a top 20 overall after coming back from injury in 2017. Going into the 2019 season I knew I was fit enough to achieve this.
What support would you need to be able to attend every EWS round?
Any support helps, whether it's product or money. In 2019, I budgeted myself £15k GBP for the full season.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
I will never forget my first EWS stage win in Aspen Colorado, the only person to beat Jared Graves that weekend. As well as multiple top-five stages since then.
What is your biggest regret?
I wouldn't say I have regrets as such, as everything I have done has got me to where I am now. But maybe I would've made the move to enduro racing a few years before I did.
What has been your worst crash over the years?
2017, Madeira EWS. Dislocated my hip through the back of my pelvis. I had one month laid up in a hospital bed, fixed up with 2 plates and 10 pins.
Where’s your favourite place to ride?
The European Alps have my heart. Whistler is up there as well, but it is always good to get home and ride the locals.
What’s your favourite non-bike website?
VurbMoto, RedBull TV.
What makes you happy?
Riding/racing bikes, riding moto, skiing, my girlfriend, family, friends, food and my M65 Vans Ford Transit custom van.
How do you want to be remembered?
A legend and the same humble guy I started off as.
What does the future hold for Matt Stuttard?
Hopefully, a career in mountain biking and a wife, kids and Range Rover.