Karim Amour – Interview
Karim Amour is one of the godfather’s of DH and Enduro he has been competing for almost 20 years and still loves riding MTB even today. His riding skills show his wealth of experience and physical resistance with him continuously placing high in the rankings at all the events he competes in. I-MTB managed to talk to him at the end of his recent Super Enduro race and find out what makes him do what he does and still want to ride.
Where are you from and when did you start riding?
I started in 1992, a long time ago! In my first years I was amateur, my first year as a pro was 1994, I from from Vence near Nice which is a great region for riding.
How long were you in DH for?
My last world cup was Maribor in 2007, just before the race I said to myself, “ok that’s it..” Nobody knew, it was a decision I took deep in my heart, it was a good weekend for me and I was very happy it was my Last World cup, and I finished with a good result. After for 2008 I coached MX for Bud Racing, I am a great fan of MX. However I prefer to be an actor not a spectator.
Now you ride Enduro, why Enduro?
I have a natural physical capacity for DH and fitness for riding, and it is completely different, you need to have good resistance, I lost 6 kilos since stopping DH. I hope I can loose 2 more kilos for the Mega in July?
Where are you going to loose it? You are already thin!
My stomach and maybe “love handles”… also my bike…I also don’t want to wait for the chair lift, I want to ride a long DH and in enduro you are always on the bike, like today, we started at 9.30, and finish at 4.30pm.
Is the pressure of everything for 3mins fun in DH?
It is more pressure, you have fun, when you push your limits, you might go back to your car and say, “Oh shit, I am a little bit afraid, but you had fun.” You are not happy when there is no pressure. In DH you are always on the edge. It is good to feel this limit. But in DH it is all on one run and if you make a mistake it is almost the beginning of the end. To be in the top 50 you have to make no mistakes. It is very hard to be in the top 10.
Would you say the top 10 DH riders today are the same as when you started?
You can’t compare, in this time the bikes were similar, like now, but I knew people who came from all different types of sport, no one had any DH development. Now riders start young and develop their skills over many years. The roots were not long originally. Now kids can easily have the DH bike and exploit it straight away at the maximum. Between 1990 and 1996 it was only the guys who had the good hands on the handle bar that made a good result. After 1996, the racing became more physical, and more focused on DH, before we rode everything. If though you have a good level though you can do well.
Is Enduro now as difficult as DH was 10 years ago?
It is like 15 years ago in DH. It is hard though to do everything including pedalling up, plus you have 4 stages, it is very tiring and hard to stay focused for a whole day.
Will the sport grow more with events?
I think the sport has many edges and you can do many things. You can come with your friends and be sure of riding for a long time, and afterwards a lot of souvenirs in your mind. If you want to come for the competition it is good to have the professional riders. It is good to have different spots so riders can learn and adapt and not just have people who know the trails. It is hard to win on trails you don’t know so well. I like to come to Italy as the tracks change all the time.
What about riders like Jerome Clementz?
There are a lot of good guys that have been developing their skills for years. Jerome was one of the first guys to be developed in the sport with professional experience over the last years. He is one of the fastest in the world at the moment. He rides very well where he doesn’t know the trails.
What about the Enduro of Nations?
This year as well at the Enduro of Nations it will be interesting to see what the french team can do as the Italian team last year were very strong…
Your bike how is it setup to help you with Enduro?
I have a special bike from Kona with some modifications including cable routing, double shock on the magic linkage. I also have a different rocker arm, it is one piece. Apart from that it is standard.
Karim also showed his shoulder injury from Enduro, strangely he said, “I have only been injured in Enduro, never DH…”
Video of Karim