The Southcoasts own Harry Molloy talks 2020 crazy year, southcoast scene and his own Flow STyle
The year is halfway gone already. Riders and racers alike are getting out in the sun and dust honing their skills once again ready for the upcoming shorten race season. Whilst their preparation as racers involves training, riding and maybe even a diet, we couldn’t help but think about what the team managers got up to during the lock down to prepare for the upcoming season. We hooked up with UK’s Harry Molloy for a bit of an insight into the crazy-season.
Q: Let us start with who is Harry Molloy for those that don’t know?
Harry: Ok so I am closing the gap to 30 now, just turned 29 years old. I am from Kent, South East of England and also base myself in the Dolomites, Northern Italy. I have raced the UCI MTB World Cup Downhill Series now for 12 years.
Q: So, easy and classic start, how did you get into riding? // What was your first bike?
Harry: Ah so I was a pretty active kid… my parents kept me off the Playstation as much as they could and amongst all the sports I tried, I loved riding the most and it just stuck. My first bike I think was a Raleigh kids bike and was lucky enough to start riding just before reached 4.
Q: When did bikes, and more importantly, downhill start for you?
Harry: So I started in the local area with PORC (Penshurst Off Road Cycling) which was a great area for all disciplines. It had huge dirt jumps, a national level 4x track, a trials area and held downhill races and events. I really had a passion for jumping my bike and with being in the south of England… downhill tracks generally had a lot of jumps in too. The race scene was super friendly and everyone was involved to have fun and be around like minded people. It all begun here for me.
Q: Random one. Are you a biker or an athlete? For example, have you ever worked on the bikes you have ridden, do you find the mechanical side interesting or is it more about the riding for you?
Harry: I have done a lot of product development in my career and I am really interested in how things work and can improve. Its an honour to work with brands closely and I think I’ve learnt that they want to get the most out of me which means having to be connected to their products. I’ve developed clothing, protection, bike frames and most of the components before for various brands. I’m not sure of the exact definition of an athlete but my trainer, Alan Milway, gives me my program and I train everyday so fingers crossed that gives me the pass for that too.
Q: I It looks like we are slowly coming out of the lockdown (COVID-19), how were you feeling coming into the season before all this started?
Harry: It was a bit up in the air to begin with a sudden stop to a 5 year plan from our title sponsor having changed their marketing plans in November. That aside, we have great relationships with our partners and they have supported us through it amazingly. After the teams strength last year with Veronika on the Elite World Cup podium, we were all feeling great to start again. We went out to Lousa, Portugal for some World Cup prep and testing with EXT shocks just before the 1st World Cup and our times were looking positive too. The pandemic begun when we arrive back to the UK.
Q: So, FS Racing, how did this come about? You are a manager and rider for the team how do the two roles overlap?
Harry: After riding in quite a few teams, I wanted to show want I had learnt from a marketing perspective and form my own. We may not be the largest project on the scene yet but we certainly pack quite a podium punch. The roles certainly overlap, especially regarding close relationships with partners / sponsors. For us it is a more efficient way of achieving top marketing results although it certainly means I can get very busy at times.
Q: We know you are keen on the product development side of things, What about testing? // Do you like testing and developing?
Harry: Yes, love it… It’s fun to change something to find out what makes something better or faster. Funn throw us all manner of components to test and feedback along with most of our partners actually.
Q: Who is riding for the FS Racing team this year and how do you think they will do?
Harry: Veronika Widmann(Italy), finishing 3rd in the Elite ladies World Cup overall last year, is our top athlete. Despite the global situation she has been training very hard and her bike skills have come on again from last year. Only time will tell with what she has in store. Chris Cumming (Nothern Ireland) is our Junior and he is amped for the season ahead with his first World Cup season now behind him, he’s learnt a lot and wants to show that he can not only be a top junior but come into the Elite men next year strong. I am the elite male in the team and my goal is to get back into the top 20 positions. I feel I have done the right training and made some changes to allow me to hit the season confidently.
Q: What is happening within the team and the series at the moment regarding the current situation?
Harry: Well one thing is for sure, we are all gagging to get out together on the bikes. We have all been working on several other things for now. With guidelines all a bit different from our different locations, we have been doing photoshoots, media projects, coaching and bike camps etc. We plan to all get together soon to do some more testing and prep. Our new season is planned to begin in September and packed into a couple of months racing across Europe.
Q: What is your biggest goal for the upcoming WC? (personal and team)
Harry: My personal racing goal is to get back into the top 20 men with consistency. For the team as a whole I think its also realistic results wise to hit World Cup podiums in Junior and again in Elite Women.
Q: You grew up racing the British rounds; What are your thoughts on racing, and riding as a whole in the UK?
Harry: It is without a doubt that the UK has some of the best athletes in the discipline. We also have a very high skill level across riders and tracks with what we have to work with. There are not so many mountains compared to the rest of Europe but the tracks we do have really utilise the terrain. If you take Revolution Bike Park for example… its one of if not the best places to ride and race downhill in the whole of the UK but its not exactly a mountain. I’ve met people all across the continent that travel to or dream of going their to ride, along with many other UK venues too.
Q: As a southerner what are your thoughts on the riding scene on the southcoast?
Harry: Pretty awesome… now we are really talking no mountains and even the hills are fairly small but we have some of the best flowing tracks and strongest riding scene I’ve experienced across the world.
Q: Where is your favourite place to ride, excluding race rounds?
Harry: We have got so much variation and that’s the best thing about it so to pick one place just isn’t fair. I love riding around Surrey Hills and there are lots of little local spots in the South East that are loaded with fun. When in Italy, the local scene is a bit further apart, but I have just been out with Plose Bike Guiding and Academy and those guys know some great natural tracks.
Q: Ok so talking favourites, what has been your favourite past race venue/event so far?
Harry: I think it has to be West Virginia, USA, the final round of last year. I love the travelling that comes naturally with the job and this was somewhere fresh to me. We actually didn’t have a race without struggles or challenges but at the end of it all we came away with Veronika in 3rd place and also 3rd in the World Cup series. I was a complete mess there in my race run. I was warming up with the thought in my head that Veronika has just done what she had done and that was overwhelming to say the least. I did my best which was great fun and we began to celebrate.
Q: Which World Cup Race are you looking forward to the most? // And which one are you most in awe of?
Harry: I am really looking forward to them all… With the season starting in September I think its not a venue but how the weather will treat us that’s making me nervous. I guess Lousa, Portugal will be a solid shout of the favourite… final round where results all meets up and of course, I love the track.
Q: Those that ride at the BullTrack, down south, will be familiar with your company Flow Style. Tell me more about it, its more than just another clothing brand, right?
Harry: Flow Style is a clothing brand that acknowledges how damaging the apparel industry can be and produces responsible, eco friendly mountain bike specific apparel from beginning to end… farming cotton, factory conditions etc all the way to the product in hand. There are many stages to consider. Flow Style also takes pride in the performance and comfort of its products. For Example, many riders still use Motocross temple pants that aren’t flexible for pedalling and come up short without our need for boots. FS wants to push beyond tradition to give you higher performance and more fun when riding your bike.
Q: You use your platform to coach and pass on your knowledge to younger riders, tell me more about this.
Harry: Yes I do my own coaching sessions for both the young and the young hearted. I do some group sessions at the Bull Track but probably more 1:1 or smaller groups of 2 or 3 friends wanting to get more from their riding. I do it all over the country and have done some groups as far as Malta. The most common thing requested is how to jump and how to corner with confidence. I am a qualified and insured MTB coach and have clients starting from the very fun beginning to others that are competing at National and World Class events.
Q: Have you ever been coaching someone and thought “wow this person has serious talent”?
Harry: Yes, many times actually. At their beginning I coached the likes of Joe Breeden and Luke Williamson and a few other current up and coming world cup riders. I’ve seen that you’ve asked Luke some questions recently too. Check his out too if you haven’t already. I can tell you now, I am coaching a few more that we will see on the world cup circuit in a few years too.
Q: Brilliant, now who or what inspires and motivates you?
Harry: Obviously I’ve got my idols in the sport. If you are reading this then its very likely that you have an interest in sports and the outdoors and can relate to the feeling I get from cycling… that will motivate me for as long as I can do it.
Q: So this year the calendar has been pushed back and looks rather condensed. How do you think this will play out for you and the team? // Will the added time before the racing starts give you time to prepare the bike and team more?
Harry: We are adapting it to be our strengths. Alan Milway is widely known as one of the top personal trainers in the world and we are 100% confident in his plans to prepare us for the condensed season. We are also used to a busy schedule, competing at select national rounds, European Cups, World Cups and other events like Crankworx and Red Bull Hardline etc. I think we have the best chance of holding onto our peak condition for 2 months. In terms of bikes, we remain on the same set up with just a few positive changes for 2020.
Q: Outside of the race itself what is the hardest part at a race weekend for you?
Harry: hmmm, I think its reacting to what the race throws at you. In 2019 I was dealt with heavy rain in qualifying a couple of times where half the field had gone down in the dry. Its not so unlikely in the mountains that the weather turns without warning. Other than that if you crash and hurt yourself but need to carry on practising despite the pain… that can be a really hard day at the office.
Q: What does the future hold for you and Flow Style?
Harry: Stay tuned to find out!
Q: We always like our guests to do the sign off, so any last words?
Harry: Thank you for reading and getting this far. All the best to everyone out there and I hope we cross paths sometime in the future. Take care and live life to its fullest, cheers, Harry
A big thank you to Harry for his insight in to his world and his road so far, we look forward to following him and seeing how the whole team gets on this year. Make sure you follow Harry and the team and show your support!
Flowstyle – www.flowstyle.com