Interview - Charlie Hatton and Andreas Kolb

Returning to Fort William with Atherton Racing

2nd May 2024

An interview with the champs...

The last time we were all together at Fort Bill for the 23 World Champs it was the stuff that dreams were made of.  Heading back on the long drive to Aonach Mor we asked Charlie and Andi to interview each other for a change, here’s what they had to say about 2023 and their feelings about what’s to come…

A clue comes in the picture...

2024 Race Calendar

Let’s start with a quick look back at the ’23  season, how was it for you?

CH: 2023 was a bit of a weird one really, there was a massive career highlight with the World Champs but also a bit of a low with perhaps the worst injury I’ve had. I broke my arm in several places which was quite a long recovery, definitely longer than I would have liked.

AK: True it was the biggest for you huh? I feel mixed about it too, winning my first World Cup will always stay in my mind as the best thing that ever happened to me, and I had some other great races, like Fort William coming second to you was insane, 2nd Les Gets was pretty nuts as well,  but otherwise I’d say I wasn’t consistent last year which bothered me a little bit. That’s my goal this year, be more consistent.


How was your off-season?

CH: The off-season has been a bit of a mix.  I had a bit of time at home then went out to New Zealand start of Jan, that was a proper sick time with a great crew. Then it was out to your place and we rode Maribor, then Portugal for our team camp, the wettest trip of my life,  it didn’t stop raining, super windy … throw in some days in Dyfi and a really good British National Race and I’m ready!

AK: Yeah you smoked them! I’ve mostly been in Austria at the beginning, mostly focused on physical training.  I’d had a couple of injuries last season and lost like 4kg and definitely a lot of strength so I had to train a lot. Then I went to New Zealand with the plan to get a lot of riding in, sadly I broke my wrist and had to leave early but luckily I healed up pretty fast and could ride with you at Maribor, Portugal and Dyfi, they’re pretty good places to get up to speed!


Training for World Cups...


Training – have you done anything different?

CH: Yeah I have, I’d say I’ve been more bike-focused this year than gym training, riding has been the priority.

AK: I think I did more intervals this year, though I had to pause them not to interrupt the healing process but otherwise pretty much the same. I feel like I’ve found my training sweet spot over the last 2 years or so, so just a few changes.

What have you been riding?

CH: The A.170, I’ve put in some good laps on that

AK: yeah it’s the absolute bollocks isn’t it? and your little 110cc…

CH: I got a pit bike motorbike – I’ve only ridden it once but it was a great day!

AK: I love training on the A.150, there’s some pretty sick trail riding around Gratz that I rode a lot, and my DH bike and motorbike of course…

See our bikes

What have you missed most this winter?

CH: Probably Andi, not seeing him every day.

AK: Good answer!! I better say Charlie too huh… or powder, there wasn’t much powder in the snow!! It wasn’t great this winter.

How good is it to be back with the boys?

CH: It’s so sick to be back with the boys! Ben Oakley my mechanic flew over from New Zealand last week and we’re all back together which is sick. Dom stepping up to Elites now will be cool,  all 3 of us can practise together.

AK: I look over at other teams and I think the vibe in this team is insane, we have a lot of fun for sure!  It will be sick to have Dom in Elites, it will help him and it might help us too!


Tell us about your ‘24 bike set-up?

AK: We tried some things on my bike, on the frame we played a bit with reach and head angle and I ended up on the same as last year which is a good sign I guess! The big thing is the new gold Fox 40s – I feel like it’s a little game-changer, it was really good before but when I over-jump stuff it helps my arms…

CH: Pretty much the same, like you, except the new fork we ended up going back to the great set-up we had last year!



How are you feeling now, going into the 24 season?

AK: I’m feeling pretty confident, considering the injury that I got in NZ, but I don’t know what to expect, hard to know what we’ll see in 2-3 days…

CH: yeah feeling good, a few very small changes from last year, I’m feeling fast on the bike so I’m ready!

How are you feeling going into FW? Compared with usual?

AK: I don’t honestly feel quite back on top yet but maybe I can be a surprise to myself, if I can get some confidence to go into Poland next round I should be back to 100%

CH: Very,  very excited, pretty relaxed as well. It’s always cool to start the season on a track you know well and are comfortable with.  Keen to get stuck in.

AK: this is the first year I’ve been glad to come up here, I remember driving up last year and I was like ugh!  I like Scotland but I hated the track before, you’ve helped me a lot to like this track and know how to ride it, I’d say now it’s one of my favourite tracks maybe …

What are you most looking forward to on track?

CH: I do love this track, the middle section of this track…

AK: I knew you were going to say that

CH: When you get a good flow on that, I just feel so sick, the first run you hit it and it’s so hard, so savage but as soon as you up the speed a bit and link all the corners it just feels like you’re floating down!

AK: For me, it’s the pinball section, just the big fly-offs and drop-offs, it’s pretty sick it’s always the same for so many years, pedalling onto the Tissot jump in your race run, it’s like “Ooh nearly there…” dropping into the finish arena is always mental and fun.


What do you hope is the same as last year? And what do you want to never see or feel again?

CH: Hopefully us two coming in One, Two again, that would be pretty sick! I don’t think there’s anything I’d change I’m pretty stoked about last year!!

AK: The top section, the changes last year were really good, I hope the taping will be similar on top this year.


And off track, what are you most looking forward to or dreading?

AK: I’m looking forward to the Bens, Ben squared!

CH: It’s super cool to have the pits, we ride all winter out the back of the van, proper sick to have the lorry their space to spread out, a place to chill out away from the crowds, it’s awesome.

Who's going to win at Fort William 2024?

AK: I think you are! Don’t want to put any pressure on you but the way you’re riding at the moment I can’t see anyone catching you; Pierron is a master of Fort William, but even him … my money’s on you.

CH: Cheers bro!  I dunno, I hope so, I’ll try and do your bet well!

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