Unlike a lot of riders that pick up the Wyn Tv Privateer of the week award, Slawomir Lukasik isn't an up and coming young gun but instead a veteran racer who has found a new lease of life. The Polish rider has been racing World Cups at Elite Level since 2010 but, much like Jack Moir, Sam Hill and Tracey Moseley, has now found a new vein of success in the Enduro World Series. Lukasik's best-ever World Cup results was 16th at Lenzerheide but in the handful of EWS races he's competed in, he's already had two top ten finishes. We fired him over some questions to learn about his transition from Factory rider to Privateer and what's next in his enduro career.
I'm a 28 years old guy living a dream life, lucky enough to do what I love.
Where are you from and where do you live?
I'm from Poland and I live in a small city called Wieliczka (near Cracow).
How did you get into mountain biking?
I was maybe 12 when my neighbor took me close to the woods where some older guys built trails. Back then it was a great thing to do after school, I spent all days there. After some time and bike upgrades, it turned out I'm really fast and did my first race on a hardtail back then, placing third time among Elite at 16 years old. Later on, I came across really great people who helped me to get my first full-suspension bike and go to European races. Riding a bike happened to be my passion and a way to spend life.
Who do you ride for?
When it comes to bikes, I'm supported by NS Bikes, I work with Polish distributor of Ohlins as well, Polish distributor of Maxxis tires, brands Leatt Poland and Galfer brakes. I'm very grateful for all the support I get from all of them!
What bikes are you riding right now?
I'm riding NS Bikes Fuzz 29' and NS Bikes Define 150 29'.
Do you have a job outside of mountain biking?
During the autumn and spring, I do mountain biking lessons, last year when there were no races I also worked as a MTB teacher during youth camps. I'm trying to put everything together to train and ride as much as I can. It wouldn't go this easy if not for my girlfriend as she runs our home by herself and she's helping me out to close the racing budget.
What are your strengths?
I'm really well trained, I feel comfortable in uphills. I love technical tracks with roots, loam and rock gardens. After years of experience, I'm also good at setting up the bike properly.
Outside riding I'd say my biggest strength is perseverance - when I set a goal I'll do everything to reach it. I'm very hardworking and I put all my heart into what I do.
What are your weaknesses?
Long steep sections are not my favourite.
Outside riding my biggest weakness is chocolate for sure!
How hard was it to go from a team rider last year to a privateer this year?
I've been a privateer before so I knew what was coming. There are many things that are really hard being a privateer but it's also a position that gives you independence and freedom.
What are some of the issues privateers face that people might not realise?
I think all the hard work that comes outside of racing. It starts with logistics before the race finding accommodation, setting up the transport, preparing the bike. It's also all the work during the event, doing bike work, cooking, finding a place to park (it's really hard on big events). It's really hard to close the racing budget as a privateer, especially when I need to pay everything in Euros.
How will the WynTV Privateer prize help your racing this year?
For sure I will be able to travel for the next EWS races ( Loundenvielle or Tweed Valley) as they are really far from Poland. That's a huge amount of money so I will use it properly to ride and race more.
What has been your worst crash over the years?
Luckily I didn't have any huge ones. I think the worst one was the one just behind my house on the home trails. I thought I'd go on my bike just for a few easy laps. I assumed nothing could surprise me, but unfortunately routine caught me. I hit the tree with my shoulder, badly breaking my collarbone. After the surgery and a few weeks of rehab, it was all good but the situation was really frustrating for me.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
The latest results at the EWS are my personal bests. Apart from that, I took 16th place in the Downhill World Cup in Lenzerheide in 2017.
What is your biggest regret?
I regret that I started racing a little bit too late. I think if I would have started earlier I would achieve more. But I'm not done yet so I hope I will keep up the good work.
Where’s your favourite place to ride?
My favourite place to ride is Schladming for sure! Love the tracks and the landscape there. I've got some really good memories connected with this Austrian city.
What’s your favourite non-bike website?
What’s your favourite motto or saying?
It is what it is! I've learnt to take life as it comes.
What makes you happy?
Doing laps! I'm quite simple as all I need to be happy is health, time spent on my bike, and fulfilling my goals.
How do you want to be remembered?
For sure as a good person. In sports I'd like to be remembered as a complete athlete who gives it all.
What does the future hold for Slawomir Lukasik?
Hope that I will keep up the good results in Enduro racing and then I will be able to get into a professional team. That would give me the opportunity to show all I have. That's the goal for the near future.