Among the many superstars of downhill mountain biking, Jim Monro may not be a name you recognise instantly. Jim, however, is on a meteoric rise through the ranks and last year officially joined the Atherton Racing downhill team, having caught the eye of Dan and Gee Atherton while putting in the hours with the Dyfi Bike Park and Red Bull Hardline dig crews.
2022 turned out to be an epic year for Jim, riding the Atherton AM.200.M downhill mountain bike, he notched up his first UCI World Cup top 50, a seventh in Red Bull Hardline, and three UK National downhill mountain bike race wins.
Jim is a Red Bull Hardline fanatic. Having first viewed the gnarliest race in downhill mountain biking when he was 15, he decided this was his calling and after school relocated from Devon to Wales and became a founding member of the Dyfi dig crew. While putting in the hard work during the long winter months and perfecting his riding talents, Gee and Dan joked that he'd ride Hardline one day, but he never took them seriously. In 2021 he got the nod to ride Hardline and with a borrowed Atherton bike he took 13th place on race day and the rest, as they say, is history...
Having had the pleasure to ride at Dyfi later that year with Jim and a little known rider by the name of Rachel Atherton. You'd have never known that Jim had recently had such an incredible result at Hardline. Quiet and unassuming was my memory of meeting him and wearing the same Atherton race shirt, I also recall thinking "that me wearing the same shirt would be the closest I get to his skills". I was very grateful for the tips and patience from them both that day as I attempted to hang on to their wheels on the "Super Swooper" at Dyfi. Seeing Jim up close, his style and speed was clear as he styled out some jumps as we created content for the article I was writing on Atherton Bikes.
Jim and race team mechanic Ben Lovell, who is one of the top technicians on the World Cup Circuit, have been away from the long Welsh winter and have been hitting the summer sun of the southern hemisphere in Queenstown New Zealand.
Jim spoke about his time in NZ. "We stayed in a lodge at the top of Coronet Peak with a group of riders and creators all passionate about riding and having a good time. It was a good crew and having the Coronet trails just out the front door is ideal. I didn’t set out with any objectives for the trip other than to ride heaps meet new people, and have a good time. Luckily I’ve met a bunch of legends that have helped me out a lot, so it’s worked out mint; there are so many underrated riders here and so much talent.
"My Atherton downhill bike rides so well at Coronet and the dirt here is like nothing I’ve ever ridden before, especially after the rain, it’s primo. I also rode at the Queenstown Bike Festival which was a blast. It was so mad with so many people there, I think around 1000 people were watching the Dream session so the atmosphere was insane! It’s not that official so you kinda turn up and ride with your mates which makes it super chill and fun."
With the new downhill World Cup season fast approaching we can't wait to see how it goes for Jim and the rest of the Atherton squad. I'll be front and centre at the Fort William World Championships, I'll maybe even dig out my Atherton Racing shirt still unwashed and covered in Dyfi mud to cheer them on.
Meanwhile, check out Jim slaying Coronet Peak in New Zealand below and find out more on the bikes at Atherton bikes.