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Cycling with champion

Earlier in the summer the Eastbourne College Cycle Club was privileged to spend a glorious afternoon in Friston Forest with OE and professional cyclist Sam Shucksmith (Pennell 2005-2010). They were fortunate to be riding top-of-the-range full suspension off-road bikes kindly loaned by another generous OE, Guy Farrant, Managing Director of Whyte Bikes (Blackwater 74-78). 

Sam provided instruction to the pupils on safety and handling skills, with particular attention to maximising output by exploiting the terrain. Conditions were challenging with tight twists and turns in narrow forest trails, unlike the open terrain of the South Downs where the boys usually ride.

The group discovered three bomb holes en-route and the riders had great fun challenging each other to pick up speed on entry in order to maximise ‘air’ on exit. No surprise that Sam made it look easy as he exited the bomb holes gaining four feet of air in total control. The best achieved by others was less than a foot.

During Sam’s time at the College he played 1st team hockey and during the Summer Term he was released to train on his mountain bike at Paradise at the foot of the Downs. During this time he was responsible for building much of the Paradise circuit of jumps and trails which our current pupils enjoy. He won a Downhill race whilst at the College and represented GB in the Downhill World Cup as part of the junior squad. Sam studied A level Design Technology, maths and physics before moving on to read Mechanical Engineering at Cardiff University. During his time at university he spent a year with Red Bull Racing and continued to race Elite and World Cup Downhill. 

Sam’s racing career switched to Enduro Racing after a serious knee injury. However, every cloud has a silver lining, as he became national champion in 2015. He now has his dream job which combines his love of cycling with his engineering qualifications. Sam is currently a design engineer for Whyte Bikes and he races for the Whyte Team in the Enduro World Series and in national events.

The College is very grateful Sam for his instruction and to Whyte Bikes for the two-week loan of their demo fleet which the pupils and accompanying staff enjoyed enormously.