Watching Josh Bryceland sat in the hotseat at the 2014 Leogang World Cup, then eventually taking the top step of the podium after so much tension tugged at my heart strings a bit. It took me back nine years ago when I first starting writing this junk for the web and Dan White (of Royal Racing fame at the time) told me about these two lads Steve Peat had just signed. Big things to come he said. So we put together a bit of an interview with them. At the time Brendan was 17, Josh just 14 (the same age as our very own Joe Parfitt).
The interview is fairly cringeworthy and the questions are awful. But which 14 year old would you tip now to win a World Cup in 2023?
Without further ado…
First published 16th April 2005 – Interview by Jim Smith (age 16 at the time..)
Set to be big in Europe and the world when they get there, watch this space! Brendan Fairclough & Josh Bryceland are seriously fast, there’s no doubt about that. Take Brendan’s recent performance at the 2005 NPS first round at Ae he had a time which would have placed him 3rd on the Elites… fast? You bet.
With Peaty guiding them with Royal Racing/Orange sponsorship they’re heading for very big things.
We took some time to ask the guys a few questions before the season gets too hectic!
Q: As if it wasnt obvious, names? BF: Brendan Fairclough JB: Josh Bryceland
Ages? BF: 17 JB: 14
Location? BF: Ma & Pa’s, Headley, Hampshire. JB: Cheshire
How long have you guys been riding? BF: Years riding 6, years racing 3. JB: Since I was 3 so thats 11 years.
How was it you got into MTB in the first place? BF: Don’t know really, it wasn’t a conscious decision, I just loved riding bikes as a nipper, local, older riders got me into trials and that lead to riding proper terrain. JB: Through my friendship with Jason McRoy and Andy Kyffin.
Did you expect, when you first started racing, to be getting all the coverage in mags and being on the same team as Peaty? BF: Not at all, I was racing for kicks. I’m still blown away every time I get a picture in a mag or stand on a podium. JB: No way. I always looked up to all the guys, I couldn’t believe it when I saw them all one year at the bike show, although I already knew Steve through his mechanic and our good friend, Andy Kyffin.
2004 seemed like a pretty big year for you guys, winning pretty much everything in sight. What are your aims for 2005? BF: 04 was great for me, If I could repeat it this season I would be stoked. I would like to gain a bit of world cup experience. A podium @ the Euros. I dunno, maybe I should pedal a few more straights! JB: Well, now I’ve moved up a category into youth, the competition will be stiffer but I still would like to podium every race that I enter.
Do you feel you get a lot of pressure when racing because of having such a big sponsor and because people expect so much from both of you? BF: I did in the early days. Steve helps a lot. He says, “the only pressure is in your tyres kid!” I get quite stressed about college stuff, racing is a good release from that for me. JB: No, the only pressure I get is what I put on myself to win and do the best I can.
Steve is obviously a huge influence on you two, how has he helped your riding? BF: Steve is so busy we don’t get as much time riding together as we’d like. When we do all ride together we learn so much. Steve is cool when we’re at a national or the Euros last year, he has so much experience we can tap into. JB: He shows us lines, techniques and offers all the support we need.
Freeride parks are popping up in the UK and obviously Whistler. What do you think of the whole freeride thing? Do you ride NS style stuff at all? BF: Not really my style, I love to ride anything but would much rather see someone with a really nice pinned style than watch somebody huck off something big. Those guys have balls but its just not my thing. I’ve never ridden North Shore, but would definitely give it a go. Riding is all about going fast and popping through trails for me. JB: I don’t really ride north shore much because there is not much where I live but I think it looks fun.
What’s your favourite track in the world? BF: Couldn’t pin it down to one. In the UK it would have to be Ae Forest. Worldwide would be the Polish track at the Euros last year – partly due to what it meant to me being there and racing it. My personal top spots to ride are Milford Trials and my back yard! JB: Rhyd-y-felin (Bala)
Are either of you good at sports in school? BF: I loved sports at school and played a lot of cricket until riding took over. JB: I usually do ok in the cross country run and swimming.
Do you have any training programmes that you do? BF: Oh yeah, a really strict regime of trials, mini-moto, downhill and cakes, I never miss a session! JB: I ride my bike as much as I can as well as trials, motocross and the occasional enduro.
What’s the one thing that really annoys you about mountain biking? BF: Bona style – it really wrecks the sport. JB: When the weekend is over.
Whats the best race/event that you’ve had so far? BF: 04 National Champs at Fort Bill. The weather was great, and so was the company. Josh and I both won. Winning on that track is the best. If you win there it means a lot; you know you had it pinned top to bottom flat out. JB: Probably at the welsh national champs when I got seventh fastest time of the day and also at Bala when I got the 8th.
If you could run a race, what would be the main things you’d want it to have? BF: No pushing, no pedaling, mini bike session afterwards and party after that – Royal/Orange on the podium, and er…. did I mention, no pedaling! JB: I would run a triathlon…downhill, motocross and mototrials.
Who are the people you look up to in the sport and why?
BF: Steve for being a true racer. he ain’t giving up anything, its all about the win. Dan Atherton as he has so much more to come. Christian my brother for putting up with my shit and always being there, we always ride together and I wouldn’t have it any other way. JB: Jason McRoy because he was the first British rider to do well abroad on the world circuit, Steve Peat because the British downhill scene would not be the same without him and Andy Kyffin.
Big thanks for that, any thank you’s you want to say? BF: My Mum and Dad for making it all happen. Steve and all at Royal/Orange – especially Andy K and Jack, Tim Flooks, Maxxis, RaceFace, Rockshox, 5th Element, Mavic, Hope, Hadley, SixSixOne, Smith, Troy Lee Designs and all my riding buddies, but, above all my brother Christian for always being there and always ready to ride 24/7. Thanks and Peace. JB: Firstly, thanks to my family for putting so much time and effort into backing my riding, I appreciate it a lot and also all the guys at Royal, the kit and support is the best, Orange, Maxxis, RaceFace,
Rockshox, 5th element, Mavic, Hope, Hadley, SixSixOne, Smith and Troy Lee Designs.
Big thanks to the guys for answering our questions and Dan White for sorting it out! Pics: Royal Racing.
So there you have it – it takes an awful lot of dedication, hard work and perseverance to win a World Cup. I had no idea that nine years later the lad that was jumping his bike over his dad’s canal boat was going to step onto the top step of that podium in Leogang. Good work Josh!
Brendan equally would go on to become a regular on the World Cup circuit, smash the Red Bull Rampage and he’s not far off that elusive top podium step.
As for a 14 year old to tip for 2023, I’m not sure. Our boy Joe Parfitt is rapid of course, but a World Cup podium in nine years is a huge ask. A 17 year old? That’s fairly easy – ex Wideopenmag rider Laurie Greenland is smashing the hell out of the World Cup on Trek World Racing.. won’t be long!