An international circuit regular, Mick Hannah AKA Sik Mik is a stalwart of the MTB scene. Starting in BMX and moving to MTB at an early age, for over a decade he’s been representing Australia in downhill racing across the World Cups, Champs and even Rampage and Hardline events. Known for his signature move of a Suicide No-Hander during a race run and with an impressive history, we wondered, how does he keep the fire burning? And how has this season been? Read on as we catch up with one of Australia’s biggest names in MTB…
The short answer is I just love to challenge myself on 2 wheels.
There was a time, maybe a few times, in my career that it was a real effort to train and race, but now I’m enjoying it more than ever.
The more I really get to know myself and the more I learn to trust that who I was created to be is enough the more enjoyable my days are.
Where did it all start for you with bikes?
It started about the same time I was learning to walk as far as I know. I don’t remember a time when I haven’t been a bike rider. The first pictures we have are of my little plastic 3 wheeler. Dad came home one day with a Honda QR 50. I was somewhere between 3 & 5 years old. He said I could ride it as soon as I take my training wheels off my bike. I never rode with training wheels again.
How did the decision to switch to mountain bikes from BMX come about?
I was introduced to MTB. We as a family moved from Victoria up to North Queensland. I went on a Christian youth mountain bike camp. I took my BMX. Dan’s Mountainbike tours came in and took us riding on that camp. I became good friends with his son Stephen and they took me to a few races. They lent me a bike from the tour business for the races. I fell in love with it instantly! The attitude in the MTB community is so welcoming and everyone just loves riding their bikes. I very quickly lost interest in BMX. I have great memories from BMX, but I’ve never missed it.
Your first big Elite team was Global Racing, on Orange bikes with quite a few names like Greg Minnaar, Missy “Missile” Giove, Andrew Neethling. Was being on that team to start off with a good introduction to the world of elite racing?
I will always be grateful for my time with Global racing. Martin Whiteley has such a passion for MTB and he put together a team of people who all shared that passion from all corners of the globe. It felt unreal to get a free bike let alone be part of the biggest team on the circuit. That was such a valuable experience for me.
With so many different venues and events raced over the years, what have some of the best locations been in your racing?
That’s a difficult question to answer. I truly enjoy all the races. There are some that suit my strengths more than others, but that’s never been a factor in whether I enjoy them or not. The only real standout for me was the opportunity to race world championships in Cairns. I’ve had so much support from home my whole career and to be able to have my favorite race 5km from my parent’s house was indescribably special.
To have my favorite race 5km from my parent’s house was indescribably special.
Which venue do you wish they brought back into the normal rotation?
Of course I’d love Cairns to be a permanent stop, but I’d mainly love to see it become more of a well rounded World Cup. I know it’s a challenge, but it should be a true World Cup with venues all around the world. The only round outside Europe is Monte Ste Anne and that’s not far from Europe anyway.
I’ve noticed you’ve raced a couple of races over in Indonesia, how is the atmosphere at those races and how is the scene growing?
The atmosphere over there is incredible. They are really passionate about life and it shows in their support of us. It certainly helps that we ride for an Indonesian brand, but I really love to spend time over there. I’m not sure if the growth in Indonesia specifically, but there’s definitely a lot more people riding mountain bikes in general.
You’ve been on a few bikes over the years including Orange, Cannondale, Mongoose, GT, Morewood and most recently, Polygon. What’s been some of the standout bikes and how were they different to other bikes at the time?
I’ve definitely had the opportunity to ride a lot of different bikes. Until recently the biggest differences came from geometry really. Brakes and suspension (fork/shock) improved a lot, but the geometry was what helped the most. My Polygon Xquare 1 is the first bike that’s blown my mind.
How has the season been for you so far?
The season has been interesting so far. I was disappointed with our National Champs. Then Crankworx was one of my best ever which gave me good confidence for the season. Then I had 2 big crashes in 2 weeks and that shook me up a bit. Now I’m steadily building step by step. Trying to ride my bike and find the flow.
What’s next for Mick Hannah?
Next for me at the moment is just putting my head down and working hard. Also really enjoying my family. Our daughter has just started crawling and the boys are growing into great young men. It’s an exciting time in life.
Thanks to Mick for taking the time to talk to us. You can of course catch him over the season racing Crankworx, UCI World Cups and hopefully pushing hard at the World Champs in Lenzerheide. You can follow on Mick’s Instagram
Words: Ben Sykes / Mick Hannah
Photos: Ben Sykes, Matt Rousu, Fraser Britton, Dave Trumpore, Boris Beyer.