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Sam Hill (born 21 July 1985 in Viveash, Western Australia), is an Australian professional downhill mountain biker. He was two time consecutive UCI World Downhill Champion during years 2006–2007 for Iron Horse racing team. He won the 2010 world championships in Mont Saint Anne, riding for the Monster Energy Specialized team on a Specialized Demo 8 II. He also won the 2007 and 2009 UCI Elite Men's Downhill World Cup (Overall). In December 2012 it was announced that Hill had signed for the Chain Reaction Cycles/Nukeproof team. As of 2016, Hill has switched to racing enduro and won the 2017 Enduro World Series overall title. In the same year he raced the Downhill World Championships in Cairns, Australia on his enduro bike where he finished sixth.
Early riding career
In 2001, aged 16 years old, Sam Hill first came into the international mountain bike racing scene, attending his first overseas race travelling Canada and the US. He came third at the Vail World Championships in the Under 19 (Junior) Downhill event.
In 2003, aged just 18, Hill won both the Australian and Oceania Downhill Championships in the Elite category. He then went on to successfully defend his Junior World Champion title in Lugano, Switzerland.
He starred in the 2010 mountain bike movie Follow Me.
Sam Hill is known for his skill in riding steep, technical courses as opposed to flatter courses that require pedaling. He has regularly won on one of the steeper, more technical tracks on the World Cup Circuit, Schladming. His famous run in Champery (2007) is also testament to his remarkably high skill level on technical courses. Sam achieved a 2nd-place finish in Rd. 3 of the 2016 Enduro World Series in Ireland on a course that required significant pedaling strength and technical ability.
2003 Downhill World Championships, Lugano, Switzerland At the time Sam was only 18 years of age and still in the junior class (Under 19). He went into this race as the favourite to win the junior title. The track was also perfect for Sam's style, steep and technical. Eric Carter, the mtb legend saw Sam riding for the first time at this race and said of him, "He went through a section so fast, and it was so rocky and muddy and loose, that I couldn't understand... how he made his bike do what it did". During his race run he had a crash but still managed to walk away with the junior title, but somewhat surprisingly he came third out of all the times on the day. If he had stayed on he would have surely beaten Greg Minaar for the fastest time and the Senior Men's World Title at the age of 18.
2007 World Cup round 2, Champéry, Switzerland After placing fifth at round one in Vigo, Spain, all eyes were glued on Sam Hill in round two. The extremely steep and technical track seemed almost tailor made for the young Australian. All seemed to be going well for Hill when he qualified in first place early on race day, besting the second place qualifier by over 14 seconds! Hill was looking confident for Finals. However, with approximately 30 riders left to set off, on arguably the most dangerous course the world cup series has seen in many years, the skies opened up. It had rained every day at this time the whole weekend, but not this hard. Riders who qualified in the top ten, were seen finishing in the late forties, early fifties. When last man to down the track, Hill, set off, no one could believe their eyes. The World Champion at the time was ripping down the track faster than top riders were riding it in the bone dry, perfect conditions. Hill's split time was faster than second place (Steve Peat, who raced in the dry), but a fall later in his run meant the Aussie ended up in a very respectable third position, just 1.63sec off first place rider Matti Lehikoinen, who also completed his final run in the dry. Hill's run will go down in history as one of the greatest runs in the wet, if not one of the greatest ever. Dan Atherton later quoted "He showed us all that it ain't over, 'till its truly over". Further, eventual winner Matti Lehikoinen stated after the race "I played the tactics (referring to a 20-second pause in his practice run, ensuring a lower qualifying position to avoid any unfavourable weather changes), but Sam is the winner of the day. No questions". Steve Peat said "Sam is the King – give him the crown." Despite his remarkable and certainly unmatched talent for riding in unfavorable conditions, Sam admits that he rarely rides in the rain. In an interview with Steve Jones of Dirt Magazine featured in the film 'Earthed 5: The Law of Fives', when asked if it rained that hard in Australia and if he was used to riding in such conditions Sam replied "I don't even see a raindrop when I'm in Australia". Jones then asked "So you never ride in the rain?" Hill's reply was simply, "My bike gets muddy".
2008 Downhill World Championships, Val di Sole, Italy Sam Hill came into this race the reigning world champion. With four riders left on the hill Sam Hill started his final run. At the split he was five seconds up and no one could believe how fast he was going, even the commentator, Rob Warner, a former world level racer. Rob Warner yelled "Look how fast he's going!", "It looks like the film has been speeded up!". Sam was estimated 10 seconds up when he hit the final left hand turn at the bottom of the track. He pulled one of his classic drift turns around the corner but as he straightened up on exit his bike suddenly washed out from under him. He got straight back on his bike but it had cost him his lead and he finished 0.5 of a second behind eventual second place Steve Peat.
2010 Downhill World Championships, Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada