A Chat With Morgan Willams

A Chat With Morgan Willams

We've been treated to some amazing racing at the Cycling World Championships in Scotland, there's been some amazing racing at some iconic Scottish venues. J-Tech Suspension supported rider Morgan Williams got a last minute call up to the biggest race of his racing career. 

We have a quick chat to Morgan and hear about his experience, his year so far and what he's got planned for next year. 

You’ve just got back from Fort William after racing your first downhill World Champs, how does it feel? 

It’s quite incredible to have that experience of racing world champs at home although Fort William is quite far away from my home it’s one of the tracks I’ve ridden most and am most familiar with so in terms of riding in the uk it feels like a second home to me. Only 6 junior boys got to race and the fact I’m one of them I feel so lucky to have gotten to have this experience.

When did you get the call up to go? How much time did you have to prepare? 

I got the call up the Wednesday after national champs so I had just under a week to get ready and go as track walk was on Tuesday. So I didn’t really have a lot of time to think about it and prepare although I’ve done so much riding there in the past it was second nature in terms of preparing for that track.

Tell us how the race went, from getting the call, the build up, your practice runs, quallies and your final run, how was it? 

When the team was initially announced and I wasn’t on it, I wasn’t all that fussed as I really didn’t want to ride that track after the BDS there earlier in the year where I had a terrible weekend. I didn’t enjoy the track, was a long way off the pace and to top it off I got a flat in my race run. But when I got the call up I couldn’t have been more excited and ready to risk my life in front of a home crowd. Once I got out on track I couldn’t believe it, it was a completely different track to before and I couldn’t have enjoyed it anymore. My qualifying run was smooth and clean, but was quite far off where I wanted to be so I had some work to do the next day.

Seeing the crowd on race day and hearing my name shouted at me on the way down my last practice run fired me up more than I’ve ever been I couldn’t sit still waiting to head up for my race run. With enough caffeine to kill someone I finished my warm up and was ready to risk my life in this one race run and that’s what I did went hell for leather and crashed my brains out but I got back on the horse and kept pushing just as hard all the way to the bottom.

How did your suspension perform? Did you make many tweaks? 

I changed my spring rate in Val Di Sole up to a 457 from a 434 and I decided to keep that for Fort William as the tracks are quite similar in fundamentals along with opening the HSC up on the fork and adding 5 psi into the ramp up chamber and 5psi in the main chamber.

What suspension setup were you running (what fork, what shock)?

I had a Ohlins DH 38 M.1 fork

~118 psi (main chamber)

~240psi (ramp up chamber)

~8 clicks (rebound)

~#1 setting (HSC)

~2 clicks (LSC)

Ohlins TTX22 m.2 shock

~ 457 spring

~ 4 clicks (rebound)

~ #2 setting (HSC)

~ 2 clicks (LSC)

GB Downhill Team Picture

How was it riding in front of all those people? 

The first day of practice was pretty standard and was quite quiet although on qualifying day people started to roll in and when I put on the Great Britain jersey it started to become a bit surreal as I was getting lots of kids asking for high fives lots of people saying good luck which was a great feeling to have so many people rooting for you.

Race day was a different story as practice was quiet as it was early in the morning but just before our race runs we get one practice runs which an experience. I remember getting in the gondola and turning around and looking at the finish arena and seeing a packed full grand stand and the finish surrounded by people, thinking I was going to have to drop into that was daunting but an incredible feeling. Seeing the crowd of people lining the top section was unreal, I’ve made that gondola ride hundreds upon hundreds of times so to see it like that felt surreal and is a feeling I’ll never forget.

What was your biggest learning experience from your first World Champs? 

The biggest thing I learnt from Fort William is to enjoy these one off races that I won’t get to experience ever again getting to represent my country infront of such an incredible home crowd is the most incredible thing I’ve ever done in my life and I’m so glad I was able to switch off from the race a few times and look around me and appreciate what was happening all I can remember from my race run was lying on the floor after a massive crash and having people screaming at me to get up and keep going so I got up as quick as I could and kept pushing as hard as I could until the bottom.

Do you have any more races planned for this season? 

I’m headed out to Les menuires for European champs in a weeks time and after that we’ve got the last 3 European world cups Andorra, Loudenvielle and Les Get then it’ll be back home for the national at Antur Stiniog to finish off the season. I’m almost as excited for this off season to really get stuck into training again I know what I did wrong throughout the previous off season and how I can be better so getting back to being able to train consistently and push myself is exciting.

What are your plans for next year? 

Not sure what 2024 will look like but what ever happens I’m positive I’ll be competing in my last season of juniors at the world cups and British national rounds.

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