We were stoked to hear the WynTv Privateer award was set to return in 2021 as the boost in exposure and bank balance it provides for struggling racers that are funding their own season is invaluable. As part of the prize, we offer the winners an interview on the home page so our readers can get to know them better. The first winner of the award this year was Ronan Dunne, an Irish racer who finished 29th in Leogang then went even better in Les Gets when he cracked the top 20 with a 17th. This is Ronan's first Elite season and he already seems to be fitting right into the World Cup field. Here's some more information about the Continental Nukeproof rider.
I would describe myself as an Irish hillbilly or so I have been called.
Where are you from and where do you live?
I’m from County Wicklow in Ireland and I live in Ballyorney farm.
How did you get into mountain biking?
I’ve always had a love for bikes but I was doing moto trials at a young age and I was looking for something with a bit more speed so a mate of mine brought me out on his mountain bike and I was hooked straight away.
Who do you ride for?
I ride for Continental Nukeproof racing.
What bikes are you riding right now?
Do you have a job outside of mountain biking?
Yes, I work on my family’s farm.
What are your strengths?
I would have to say technical track even though I prefer fast rough tracks.
What are your weaknesses?
Anything that includes sprinting and cardio.
What were your expectations coming into 2021?
Mainly just to qualify in the top 60 and gain racing experience for the 2022 season, I wasn’t expecting anything huge from myself but now I’m aiming to get a top 15 as my goal.
How difficult was the step up from Juniors to I Elites? What was the biggest challenge?
It’s definitely a different ballgame compared to juniors as you racing against the best riders in the world. I only raced 3 junior World Cups in 2019 and none in 2020 and in those three I didn’t qualify so I didn’t really get that much experience racing World Cups. This season is definitely a bit of a shock but I’m definitely enjoying it.
What are some of the issues privateers face that people might not realise?
Money is definitely the biggest factor from the bike to the travelling costs and accommodation, it definitely adds up quickly, As I’m not working while I’m away racing is quite tough as I'm having to ask my family to fund my season, which isn’t cheep at all. I’m in the lucky position that I have the support of a team behind me, which definitely helps a huge amount and takes away a great deal of pressure so I can focus more on racing instead of how I’m going to get to the next race.
How will the WynTV Privateer prize help your racing this year?
The Privateer prize is definitely huge help not only for me but my parents as well and eases off the cost racing. I can’t thank Wyn and all those who donated enough for it.
What has been your worst crash over the years?
I probably have to say Crankworx Innsbruck I had a big OTB in finals run, but I’ve been quite lucky in the fact that I haven’t broken a bone or had a serious injury that has put me out from riding.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
So far it’s definitely Les Gets World Cup getting 17th was a shock and so good to get into the top 20 positions.
What is your biggest regret?
Not racing enough as youth or junior, as I’ve only done six races away from Ireland I feel like I still haven’t gotten a whole lot of experience coming into Elite as I wanted.
Where’s your favourite place to ride?
Morzine is 100% up there as one my favourites as there is so much to choose from like le Pleney and the town itself is good crack.
What’s your favourite non-bike website?
What’s your favourite motto or saying?
Ricky Bobby: “if you ain’t first you’re last".
What makes you happy?
Mojitos, bikes and my dog.
How do you want to be remembered?
As a person you could go for a pint with.
What does the future hold for Ronan Dunne?
I’m not sure what’s next, but I’m enjoying myself as it is so I’ll probably stick at that and continue to race and have fun.