Christian Pondella/Red Bull Content Pool

60 seconds with… freerider Nico Vink

A quick catch-up with the wild Belgian

You only have to look at Nico Vink – with his long hair, missing teeth and propensity for wearing motocross roost guards – to know he rides hard! The Belgian rider first appeared on our radar at the DH World Cups back in the early 2000s. Our earliest memory of him is seeing Nico ripping down the hill on a black and orange B1, alongside his teammate, the legendary Dutchman, Bas de Bever. Despite 15 years of top-level racing, it was always Nico’s all-round bike skills that made him stand out and, since retiring, his name’s become synonymous with building and hitting monster jumps. As well as being a Red Bull Rampage veteran, Nico’s a core member of the FEST Series tour and the crazy mind behind Loosefest XL in Belgium and its insane super-booters.

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Who is Nico Vink?

A 36-year-old professional MTB rider from Belgium.

Where do you call home?

Belgium! But I’m only there for a maximum of one month a year. I live on the road a lot, going from project to project.

What’s your current go-to bike?

I just signed with Transition Bikes, so it’s the TR11.

What gets you excited to ride?

A day out with friends, building a fresh trail and putting the first tracks down it, or getting away with big, scary stuff that makes me feel like I’m progressing.

Where’s the best trail or location you’ve ridden this year?

Probably Vinny T’s home trails, near Évian in France.

What’s the scariest thing you’ve done on a bike?

The jumps at Loosefest XL.

Who’s your favourite rider to watch?

There’s a few… Brandon Semenuk, Andreu Lacondeguy, Vincent ‘Vinny T’ Tupin, Jaxson Riddle, Kade Edwards, Loïc Bruni, Brendan Fairclough and Josh Bryceland.

What’s your favourite bike film?

Anthem II [a renowned BMX film from 2010].

What’s been your worst crash?

That drop at Red Bull Rampage in 2015. I can’t really say I rode it – ‘blowing it up’ would be a better description! [Nico’s line included a steep cliff ride/drop and, while test-riding it, he overshot onto flat and went over the bars.]

Clips or flats?

Flats.

650b or 29in?

It used to be 26in, but I’m running 650b now.

Bike park flow or natural gnar?

I like all kinds of stuff, from gnarly DH to bike parks.

Dream non-bike sponsor?

CAT Excavators.

How far can you wheelie?

As long as I want, provided the front wheel’s spinning.

What would be your desert island luxury?

A motocross bike to cruise around the island on.

What would you tell your 13-year-old self?

Not sure. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t do anything differently!

What would you be doing if you weren’t hitting massive jumps?

I like riding bikes more than anything else. I really can’t imagine myself not doing it.

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This article was originally published in MBUK 379 (March 2020) – on sale now.