Neil Chatham: how mind over matter helped me become an international enduro star

by Caiti Beattie

Neil Chatham, the unassuming-looking director of an Edinburgh property maintenance company, is also a former Enduro and no doubt future Motocross champion. He sounds like a talented guy on a bike, but let’s see what Neil Chatham had to say when we gave him some quickfire questions …

So for some background information, what sort of riding do you do?

Motocross and enduro.

And what bike do you have now?

KTM SXF 350.

Looking back, what would you say is the highlight of your motorbiking career?

Coming 7th overall in the Enduro World Championship Youth Cup 2010, winning two gold medals representing Scotland in the International 6-day Enduro (2011 and 2013) and 2x British Enduro Sprint Champion (2011 and 2013).

Wow! There is a whole lot going on there. What countries have you raced in throughout your career? And what would you say is your favourite?

I have raced in all parts of the UK, France, Italy, Sardinia, Finland, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Portugal & USA.  My favourite country to race in is the USA.

Let’s throw it back, how old were you when you got your first bike? And what kind was it?

I got my first bike when I was four years old. It was my brother’s handed-down Honda QR50.

How times have changed! If you could, what advice would you give yourself at 10 years old?

Create a regular training programme and track your results and progress. All of your weaknesses can be turned into strengths by focusing on improving them slowly and consistently over time.

And when you were growing up, who were your biggest heroes?

Rick Johnston, Jeremy McGrath and Ricky Carmichael. 

If you could do it all again, is there anything that you would change?

My attitude and approach to training and racing.  When you are so emotionally involved with racing it’s very easy to be blinded to what needs to be done and improved upon.

You have achieved a lot over the past couple of years, what have you learned about yourself over the course of your motorbiking career?

More than anything, I learned that current and past failures can be turned into future success if you take personal accountability for those failures.  To achieve success, you must never blame external factors or people as these things cannot be changed by your influence, but you solely have the ability to change and improve yourself.

Do you have any exciting plans on your bike coming up?

I’ve recently changed sport and started competing in motocross. In my first full year of racing motocross I finished 2nd overall in the Scottish championship (2016) whilst racing the 2nd half of the season with a snapped left ACL in my knee.  It’s my goal to return to racing at the beginning of 2018 and pursue the overall Scottish Motocross Championship.