Along with fellow Aussie World Cup racers, Dean Lucas has been one of our greatest podium threats in the last couple of years, most recently taking the podium at Losinj, Croatia for Intense Factory Racing. Now signed up for a new deal with Scott DH Factory team, alongside free-racer Brendan Fairclough, Reunion Island’s Flo Payet and France’s Marine Cabirou, he now has a new team, new bike, new suspension and a new focus coming into 2019.
Fresh off the back of his first race in the new team colours at Mount Buller yesterday, we chatted with Dean over the phone about the upcoming year, the news, #teamrumours and being an ambassador for the sport.
First up, here’s the launch video:
GDU: First of all, how did this deal with Scott come about?
Dean: It all kind of started off because I obviously had a relationship with them through their goggles. At the end of
Cool, A handy relationship to have!
Yeah Yeah, it’s such a small industry, I always think that you don’t really want to piss anyone off,
Who broke the news to you when it all was confirmed? Was it somebody in particular?
I got an e-mail from the now-team manager, Patrice, who used to run Voul-Voul racing, a European Mondraker-backed team. He just approached me halfway through the season saying, “Hey we’ve got plans underway, and we can’t share too much information about it, but if your contract’s up, would you be willing to possibly ride for a new brand?”. As the season went on they released more information and it obviously came to light that it was a new Scott team. It went from there, he was the first one to get in contact with me.
A bit of a while in the works which leads me to the next question… Has it been hard keeping a lid on the news with so many team
I’m actually quite surprised how many people knew about it (laughs). I went to Cannonball and I swear that half the people there knew about it. I hadn’t told anyone besides my close mates, but
I was trying to mess with people by commenting on the Trek Instagram and on other guy’s feeds that I’m not in the team with and tried to have some fun with it. I think though
I saw a bit of that on the Trek
I thought the sleuths reckoned it was actually Flo wearing Brendan’s jacket wasn’t it?
No, it was Brendan, and they’ve gone and googled all this stuff, they get Brendan’s shoes and screenshot them in there, put it all together. You can’t help but say f**k, it’s cool you’re interested in it and at the same time, damn. I don’t think you need to get that involved. I guess with mountain biking it’s a lot more interesting than say motocross news, as all the new signings there happen straight away and there’s not really that much build up, but with
Yeah, that’s right and now we’ve got that delay between January 15 (UCI team deadline) and when it actually gets released.
Yeah yeah. I think it all builds suspense and I think it’s a good thing.
So now that everything is dropped, how does it feel to be on
It’s good, I’ve known Brendan pretty well. I’ve seen him around at the races. I haven’t seen Flo and Marine as much, but Flo’s really chilled and relaxed. Everyone’s really easy to get along with and once you’ve had a slight relationship with someone it makes it easier to join the team. It’s not like getting along with a complete stranger. So I was only over there for a week we all already knew each other and all gelled pretty quickly which was good. I think I can work on my French a little bit and ‘cos its pretty much a French team on one side. I wouldn’t really call it a downfall but a small obstacle, hopefully by the end of the season I can speak some French.
I guess then you can go wind up Bruni in French…
Yeah I got a translation app for my phone, I’ve been practicing but I’m not very good at it. Hopefully, by the end of the year I pick some up.
It was at the bottom of France, it’s called Nîmes, near there. We went over there for four days, two days of that is filming and photos and then two days of testing with Fox and testing in general. Played around with the bike in the first couple of days and it was a bit slower as we kept on riding, stop, backup for the photo shoot and it was quite hard because it is so cold. Literally, one degree and we take off our jackets, do the shoot, put them straight back, pretty much doing that all day which is pretty full on.
It’s always hard testing everything because of the cold, all the suspension is slower and stiffer. So we did all the testing and
Did it all have a different feeling to the Intense team camps?
Definitely going to Europe was a lot different. The cold was the biggest difference, also it was a bit more serious than the past camps at Intense where there was more of a feeling of fun and, what’s the word, flamboyant in how they do and present everything which is definitely cool. This was a bit more serious and just straight to the point and get the bikes straight out and all of that which is also good. But definitely, there’s two different teams.
How does it feel leaving Intense after three years there?
I was quite sad to leave actually. It was quite a family there. I didn’t it wasn’t my first intention to leave but after I got my Scott offer I went back to them with the offer but they didn’t quite match it. But I wanted to stay so I weighed it up,
They came back with a few other little things, videos and goggles
But I believe that in the long
I can imagine…
Everyone’s got the idea that they just got rid of me and Chuck to make room for Gwin.
I think that was the impression that a lot of people have from the way it’s played out.
That’s what everyone thinks and it was actually the complete opposite.
It’d be a good thing for people to know how it actually went down.
Definitely, it’s interesting to know that there was an option of you actually staying there, it just wasn’t quite the right fit for the time.
You know, the thing was that they wanted me to stay. I did want to stay, it just became that way. Scott came and made an offer and could do things that Intense couldn’t do. It was a better way to go at the time. But yeah, definitely not what I wanted to do at first, I made it clear that I wanted to stay. Made it very clear to them, but I think they might still think I wanted to leave anyway but that was not the case. Just the way it ended up going.
You just never really know how things are going to play out sometimes.
Yeah, that’s the thing. I think it’s worked out well and I think I’m pretty confident with the new bike that things are going to be good.
You’re on the new Carbon frame Gambler and the Gambler looks a little bit more traditional than we’ve seen before. How’s it going so far?
It honestly took awhile to get it all set up properly but that was mainly because it was new wheels, new brakes, new suspension, new frame, new everything kind of thing. So new bars, new seats and everything. So for me it took a little bit of time to get used to. Like with the Fox suspension, just to try and set it up is a lot different, the air pressure the adjustments are all different. So I’ve been on SRAM for the last eight years I think, so go to back to Fox and get used to that was a bit of jump. But already especially having Darcy at races makes it easy to kind of track everything takes some of the guessing out of it. He’s got it all written down and sorted, he’ll help to play around with it. That makes the process a bit easier but straight away at Buller a few things needed a tweak but I feel it’s in a good spot now.
And he’ll be following you around for the World Cup as well won’t he? It’ll be good t
TRP brakes, derailleur
With the TRP Gwin-spec brakes basically, the four pistons?
It’s good to see some new manufacturers moving into the different segments there.
Yeah, obviously I was a bit wary before we tried anything. I signed before I’d tried any of this stuff, I heard good reviews and started to talk toa lot of people. But until you actually try it you don’t know if you’ll be happy using it. But as soon as I used it I realised we were going to be fine here.
Good. I always try and go to the Vic Downhill Series races. Some I’ve missed because I’ve been in America but this year obviously a change so I was able to go which was good. I’ve been wanting to do a track-walk with younger kids since the races at
Yeah definitely there’s always a role of the ambassador for
Yeah, I think even just in the last year or so I’ve kind of opened my eyes more to it to try and help. That’s where it all started for me anyway and I try and get across to younger kids that, you can start by racing the Vic series and then you can make it to Nationals and can make it to the World Cup where they can get it right. I think a lot of the
You keep at it and you will get there. Try and bring that across to them, which hopefully is coming across. We’re listening and working towards it.
Well I think it also helps this year that all the National Cup Tier1 events are down in Victoria.
Yeah yeah, I think it’s certainly a good thing and it’s run really well, it’s such a good event. Easy to go to and easy to deal with.
Speaking of racing, you talked about doing Crankworx, are you going to be doing any EWS any other kind of events?
No, I think that’s it. I was thinking about doing Derby but I don’t think with everything going on, I don’t really have the time to do it. I might try and get over there just to do some riding, just to go ride at Derby and Maydena but I don’t think I’ll actually be doing the race.
It’s already a pretty tight schedule. Maybe you could do Rotorua EWS…
Even with that, I think if I did that it’d take away from Crankworx a bit. I just want to focus on the Crankworx race. With training and everything, you fly over there to do the race you’re not actually doing that much riding. Just say I go to ride, I could ride all day every day but if you go to
Sitting in the pits for six hours a day…
Yeah. Leading into World Cups I’ve gotta be riding as much as I can, more than what I’d get racing enduro. It is really good training, it’s physical and hard. But it’s a bit tight at the moment so I think I’ll give it a miss.
Fair enough. Now you’re racing with Brendan are you going to be getting any tips for Rampage?
Ahh, don’t think so. Someone asked me that the other day on Instagram whether I was but I don’t think I’m ready for that yet. I don’t think I’d ever be ready for it so I’ll give it a miss ! I think Brendan’s going to be the guy that does media, backflips and hucks himself down hills but I’m just going to try and be the fast guy.
Maybe just go over there and just try to keep the judges in line…
Yeah, maybe i’ll just judge it. I judged Whip-off at Cannonball, and just drunk beers and judged whips all night. I thought I was the worst judge, so maybe I could just get good at that.
Try to push him into making Deathgrip 2 and you can be a star
I think he’s got four big films coming up this year, not sure if it’s going to be Deathgrip. I think they’re trying to work something where it’s like a Netflix series or something. They’ll be pushing for that which will be pretty cool if it gets across.
Look forward to seeing that! Alright, last couple of questions here. 2018 season, full of changes: Pierron dominating, Maes almost becoming world champ, a new track in Croatia, some controversial rule changes. For you, a bit of a mixed bag. There was a third which was great and some injury, still a couple of the top 15 results to finish up in 18th overall. Talk us through it?
At the start, I felt awesome and felt good. We did all the work. Came out swinging, got third. I honestly felt like I’d backed it off a little bit, I feel I could have won. It’s funny, I crossed the line, I got third, I was excited but at the same time shaking my head. Felt like I just let that one go.
Came off of that, and went to Fort William and obviously had the injury and that just set me back for a while. That was a write-off, Leogang was a write-off, came home, back over and I still wasn’t 100%. I’d do my race run and feel tired and dizzy. It obviously takes a while for
With the rule
Overall it was a pretty crazy season and it was good to see a new guy (Pierron) come up and dominate so much. As you said, also crazy to see Maes the wildcard come in and do so well, I think that’s always good. I don’t always like to see the same person winning but it is cool when someone comes out of nowhere and does do it a few times, it definitely makes everyone have to pick up their game.
Now I wonder if Maes will end up doing any more downhill this year?
Yeah I’ve heard he’s interested in doing a few, it’s just deciding how many he does. He is a very fit rider and very skilled. Let’s see if he actually races more enduro or downhill, but he’ll be a hard man to beat if he is doing downhill.
So for your 2019, what’s your focus? Where are you aiming to make improvements and is there any big events that you’re aiming for?
I think this year I want to work of my endurance, I’ve got plenty of power but my endurance needs to get lifted up a bit.
It always seems
Then I just want to be consistent in the top 10, weekend after weekend. I don’t want to fluctuate too much as a result and then a couple of podiums will just top it perfectly.
Sounds like a good plan. Thanks for taking the time with to chat with us and best of luck for 2019.
You can find out more about the Scott DH Factory team on their website: https://scottdhfactory.com