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Mountain Biking

25 Years of Downhill | Rob Warner Just Unleashed Some Ridiculous Stories About Mountain Biking Parties in the 1990s

Downhill after-parties in the 90s, particularly with Shaun Palmer, were quite genuinely insane...

Rob Warner. Photo: Dirt Magazine Screenshot / YouTube

It may not seem like it but the first official downhill mountain bike world cup race was now a full 25 years ago – on a hillside in Monaco in 1993, where a young Frenchman called Nico Vouilloz would take the first win and kickstart the legend.

Our friends over at Dirt Magazine have released a limited edition book that charts the first quarter century of world cup downhill racing to commemorate the occasion, and as well as the physical book they’ve been dropping some insane interviews online with legends of the sports and the people that made it all possible.

Of the lot so far, our favourite has to be the chat with the inimitable Rob Warner.

“There was fucking guns pointing at us. It was like being in a fucking movie…”

We’ve all heard the legends of the parties on the downhill circuit through the eras, though without social media to document them, a lot of the moments have been lost in time (or kept deliberately quiet, of course), something we’re sure that Rob and co. are probably quite pleased about.

In his ‘25 Years of Downhill’ interview with Dirt Mag though, Rob releases a few stories that show just how crazy it was back then. It’s no exaggeration to say that these stories are genuinely absurd. We’re talking police blockade, gun-pointing, bottle-smashing absurd.

Rob Warner. Photo: Dirt Magazine Screenshot / YouTube

Asked about some of the parties from the 90s in the video, which you can watch in full below, and in particular about partying with Shaun Palmer, Rob says:

“We were pretty good at partying and then Palmer came along and showed us what we were really capable of.

“We had a lot of fun at the world cups. UCI apparently even employed undercover police – there was undercover people watching us for sure. We used to know who they were! We’d have to drop bottles and smash shit without them seeing.

“We had a party at his [Shaun Palmer’s] house. He had this big fucking house. Built by some architect. You could see the fucking pier from The Godfather where fucking Al Pacino got married or some shit. It was high end. He had a mini bike track round it – fuck knows what his neighbours thought. And we had a party there. Went there for July the Fourth.

“We got fucking bollocked at the house and the police turned up – this was early on – and one of the lads, his mates, one of the snowboard mates, just walked up to the policeman with a bottle and smashed the bottle over his own head. Blood just started pouring out. You’d almost want to have been wearing a helmet. People came up to you and just cracked a bottle over your head. It was fucked. It was another level.”

Then, talking about getting away from that same party because of “all the aggro at his house”, Rob continued: “We got in one of the Cadillacs with three seats across the front. I got in one side, Palm sat in the middle and poor old Òscar [Sàiz] drove it because he was an athlete and didn’t drink – like now.

“In the back was Peaty [Steve Peat] and maybe [David] Vasquez. Anyway we fucking set off. We were going to Tahoe to get away from all the aggro at his house. Palmer fucking goes – move your feet! – to Òscar and Òscar is basically just steering a runaway mine cart with Palmer leaning over doing the throttle and break and fuck me dude it was terrifying!

“Then they told him to go in the glove box and get his driver’s license and as he did that one of them just stopped and cocked his gun.”

“We were going like fuck, overtaking cars down this windy road on the wrong side and when we got to Tahoe there was a police roadblock. Someone had rung ahead. There was fucking guns pointing at us. It was like being in a fucking movie.

“They couldn’t prove that Palmer has been doing the throttle and break so they breathalysed Òscar I think. Palmer wouldn’t stop winding them up. He was like “what’s wrong with you man? You’re old lady not been giving it up?” and all this shit! Then they told him to go in the glove box and get his driver’s license and as he did that one of them just stopped and cocked his gun.

“I remember it’s the only time I’ve heard Peaty scared. Out of the back there was this meek, northern feeble whisper and I just heard him go “easy Palm”! He got his driver’s license out but they couldn’t nick him for fuck all!”

As for the parties now? Well, Rob is less than impressed. Check out the video above for the hilarious full interview, and head over to Dirt for more on the 25 Years of Dirt magazine.

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