Mountain Bike

Introducing our new recruit: Sam Hodgson

01 Feb

New year, fresh blood

We’re excited to introduce to you a brand new recruit to the Animal team: Sam Hodgson.

The talented 18 year old has learnt all his tricks from former Animal ambassador turned GMBN presenter Blake Samson, and is without a doubt the next big thing coming out of the Isle of Wight.

As we look forward to seeing how the kid develops over the next few years, we thought we’d catch up with Sam and do the proper introductions.

Introducing new Animal MTB team rider - Sam Hodgson

First off, who is Sam Hodgson? Describe yourself in three words.

Mad For It!

When did you start riding and what inspired you to do it?

I started when I was about 4; you know classic learning to ride a bike, but I was totally inspired by my mum telling me I’d have to walk everywhere otherwise. 10 years later I got into serious trails, building and riding big jumps.

A moment I can really remember is seeing my mate Harry Steele (now owner of Steele Industries) riding a massive jump at a local spot; I was 13 and it was the first time I’d ever seen anything that crazy. I remember thinking “I want to be like that”.

  • Introducing new Animal MTB team rider - Sam Hodgson

  • Introducing new Animal MTB team rider - Sam Hodgson

  • You grew up on a farm on the Isle of Wight, how has that shaped you as a MTB rider?

    In terms of jumps, if I want to ride something, I have to envision it and build it myself, as I’m one of few on the island MTB scene. Where I’ve had my own land and built my own jumps, my limit of how big and how crazy my jumps are is just as far as my imagination will stretch… Or as much as the mini digger can handle!

    Growing up on the Isle of Wight, the opportunity isn’t always there so you have to make sure you go out and seize every potential opportunity that comes your way, even if it is a ferry ride and car journey away. It’s definitely taught me perseverance and commitment.

    Introducing new Animal MTB team rider - Sam Hodgson

    My mum and dad have always given me creative freedom, even giving me a plot of land and woodland trails literally 400m from my bedroom, which I guess is a huge perk of having a farm.

    You seem to have a great relationship with Blake [Samson], when did you meet him and how has that inspired you to pursue the MTB dream?

    I met Blake when he came to the farm to build a pump track for our MTB Centre. At this point I was very inexperienced at riding bikes and he was already a well-known pro.

    Ever since then he has inspired me to build jumps for myself to get better at riding. It’s not like I didn’t have the space! I got better over time and ended up riding with Blake a lot more. After a year or so, we built a massive slopestyle course on the farm, which helped my jumps evolve loads year on year.

    Introducing new Animal MTB team rider - Sam Hodgson

    Being so close with someone who had really ‘made it’ in their MTB career really inspired me to keep at it, and not let people dismiss my passion as a pipe dream.

    What are you riding and why?

    I’m riding the Saracen ALX, hard tail frame; it has a very steep head tube angle, which makes it really short and lightweight, perfect for manoeuvring whilst doing tricks.

    I ride the 100mm Marzocchi Bombers suspension; great for absorbing those heavy landings when you need them.

    I generally ride 26” wheels, single speed, short cranks (165mm), short bars and one brake with a massive hose for bar spins and tail whips.

    Let’s not forget; a Lazer helmet and Bliss pads to stay safe, which is the most important thing. With all of this I ride massive jumps to small skateparks, topped off by black skinny jeans and a rad Animal tee!

    Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

    I was recently told to control my inner ‘chimp’, which I guess translates into keeping calm and focused. That sort of mentality really helps me not getting angry when I can’t do a trick or something, and maintaining focus when riding.

    What are your plans heading into 2018?

    Riding my bike as much as possible and travelling at the same time. I’m planning on going to La Poma, Whistler, and competing in as many competitions as possible.

  • Introducing new Animal MTB team rider - Sam Hodgson

  • Introducing new Animal MTB team rider - Sam Hodgson

  • Most importantly, making sure I continue ‘seshing’ with all the boys. I really aim to get into regular vlogging and I also want to film a few big edits with some videographers I’m keen to work with. Watch this space!

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