Graham Jarvis: Interview with one of the top Enduro Riders in the World

I recently was granted the opportunity to interview Graham Jarvis, considered as one of the top enduro riders in the world. To say I jumped at the chance is an understatement. Due to Graham’s busy schedule I was only able to interview him via e-mail, but it was well worth it. Many know I have been a fan of Graham and his ability for a few years now, so I considered this quite an honor. I did a bit of research and tried to ask of him a few things that had not been asked, and a few that have already been asked as well so that those of you who may be living under a rock would get a feel for just how good he really is.

So, without further ado, off we go!

At what age did you first start riding and who, or what, got you into riding?

I was 10 years old and watched some boys riding in the woods at the back of my house and decided to try it.

I know you are an accomplished trials rider, but what started the change to enduro style riding? Also, could you tell us a bit more about your trials accomplishments and what steered you to that format of riding to begin with?

I thought enduro looked fun and rode a few races while I was still riding trials. In trials I reached No4 in the world, I was 5 x British Champion, and I always liked the time and observation trial called the Scott in Richmond Yorkshire which is very physical, I have won this trial 9 times, more than anyone has in its 100 year history.

Do you think that trials riding helped you to be such a powerful enduro rider? Do you recommend trials riding for those wanting to better themselves in terms of control and precision?

Trials background definitely helps with technical ability, a lot of the Extreme Enduro races have very technical stages.

Accept for a few videos and pictures here and there, I see you on a Husaberg TE300 the vast majority of the time. Why is it you choose to ride not only a Husaberg, but a 300?

The 300 is ideal as you can ride at low revs on the technical stuff and it pulls really well up hills. The Husaberg is perfect for me as I can travel to other countries borrow a standard bike and still win. Like myself, you are not a small guy either, but you seem to throw your bike around like it is much smaller than it actually is. Is this due to your skill at trials or also coupled with practice and ability? A lot of the skills came naturally because of trials, I have had to adapt to a heavier bike and less grip, and technique makes it easier, but physically its more demanding so strength is needed. I have put on 6.5 kilogrammes since riding enduro.

I saw several pictures of your 2012 TE300 on Enduro21.com, and though I know what several of these aftermarket components are, our readers may not. Can you share what you do to upgrade the TE300, and already impressive machine, to your specifications? Have you changed much regarding your 2013 TE300?

I put protection guards on and make a slight modification to the suspension, and that’s about it.

King of the Motos. You came to the States and whipped up on so many riders in our own backyard. That had to be a fun experience. Can you tell us about that race and how it stacks up against its European counterparts?

It was a whole new experience. Riding in the desert something I’ve never done before, and it was a bit easier than some of the European events because there was quite a lot of grip. It was really fun going flat out over the dry lake beds.

Does the racing you have participated in here in the States differ much or widely from the races you participate in Europe? Are you planning more races here in the States for 2013 and on?

I’d like to do some more Enduro X and extreme events, and I love coming over to the states. As long as you keep asking, me I will return.

I read an interview with you via Dirt Rider that you had a TE250 lined up for X-Games. How did that work for you compared to your normal TE300? Also, you mentioned some “parts and bits” you had brought with you. Would you care to elaborate any on that aspect as well?

Parts and bits were my forks, tyres, and mousses. It was not ideal riding the 250 as it’s not my usual bike, but it was still really good.

Concerning X Games, how was the experience for you? I know you came in at a position out of the podium, but this was your first time at X Games, right? You did well and finished when three other very accomplished riders had DNFs.

It was a whole new experience to be in X Games, there were some really good riders competing that rode more Enduro X. I was very happy with 6th as I don’t do much Enduro X, and I was on the 250.

I would like to congratulate you on your recent win, and also being crowned King of Extreme XL Lageras. How was that race for you compared to other races you have been in that are similar?

It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. It was right up there with Erzberg and Hellsgate. It took me 5 1/4 hours to get round. It was very extreme!

Red Bull Sea to Sky is another race you seem to do so well in. Is this race different from others in any aspects besides the obvious?

Yeah it is a really fun race. It wasn’t too extreme last year if you hit everything right it was really rideable.

You dominated Roof of Africa, apparently on your first time out. What was that like for you?

It was a tough 2 days, it was a really long course the navigation is quite important, and there was a lot of fast riding as well. I was pleased to win 1st time as Chris Birch and some of the SA riders have experience in that type of riding.

Sorry, but we have to talk about Erzberg. What is it about that race that has supplied so much controversy?

I do not think the track is marked out very well, and other riders are always getting lost as well. I think they need to let you have a look at the track before the race or mark it out better with more tape etc.

Romaniacs. You do so well with this race too. Can you tell us more about this race and what draws you to such an extreme event?

Romaniacs is my favorite event as the terrain is beautiful with nice flowing tracks also it is different every year so you do not know what is ahead and every type of riding is required of you.

Though you are endorsed by Husaberg, Flite, Klim, and Adventure Spec, to name a few, you are also endorsed by Golden Tyre. Can you talk a little about them and how they help you perform?

Goldentyre is the best tyre for extreme racing without a doubt, they are working all the time to produce new products like the new x tyre which is really soft, specially designed for extreme racing.

Are there any other sponsors you would like to mention and elaborate on for our readers?

Red Raven are my goggle sponsors, they have a new wireless speedview goggle which is fantastic in the dirt.

Lastly, what advice can you give to our younger riders out there looking to get into riding and even enduro style riding?

Practise practise practise and be prepared for a lot of pain, extreme events are the hardest!

And, there you have it folks. From all I gathered outside of the interview questions, Graham and his management are very down to Earth people and it was great to work with them for the short time I had. I would again like to thank Graham and his team for the opportunity, and I wish him the best of luck throughout the rest of 2012 and on into next year.

Until next time, stay dirty my friends.

Ryan “The 300 Guy” Hackney

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