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Karl Chapman Enduro

So who is Wormy?

Photo Editor Jerry, and Social Guy, Phil Walton from Pedalnorth

catch up with this man on a mission

Phil Walton and myself (Jerry Tatton) caught up with Karl "Wormy" Chapman at Danny Hart's Descend Bike Park to find out exactly who is Wormy, where he's come from and what is his driving force.

Q: So how long have you been into biking then?

Well, I started biking around 5 years ago.

Karl seems to have no fear as he's seen here taking on one of the biggest drops at the bike park

Q: What made you take up this sport?

I had a incident where I fell 40 ft and I broke both my legs and back and couldn’t walk. My injuries were serious enough for the doctors to have consider whether I would ever walk again. I shattered both heals, broke all 10 metatarsals, snapped my achilles tendons, snapped my ankles and broke my lower back in 5 places.

Q: Tell us a bit more about how this affected you?

Well, I  was in a wheelchair for nearly 2 years and in 2 casts as I was undergoing operations. This meant I was a blue badge holder for over 2 years and under high disability. This was a tough part in my life as I've always been active, but I always refused to believe this would be my life longterm. During one consultation with one of the many medics I was under the care of, the doctor said a bike may help my ankles as they were fused.

Karl seen here giving the photographers a face full of roost at Ardrock Enduro

Q: So was it this doctors opinion that got you thinking?

Absolutely yes, I had a go at cycling on the road, but because I couldn’t walk or stand properly, when I would stop the bike I would have to fall off on my side to get off the bike, for this reason I had to ride clipped and still do. I realised this wasn’t a safe way of cycling and following doctors advice. So I then got a Mountain bike and watched some YouTube videos and decided that Fort William was the place to learn to ride a bike!

Q: Erm.....Fort William??

Yeah I know, I was wrong. With no cycling experience I entered the SDA and came 3rd to LAST at this point I was still unable to walk properly. But soon after this, things took a turn for the worse. Due to relentless rehabilitation and no money I had to end my cycling. It was a very short period on the bike but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Q: So what then?

For around 3 years I wanted to get a bike but couldn’t afford one as I had lost my company and I had nothing. Once my leg became a lot better through insane determination I managed to get back to work and the first thing I was going to do was get another bike. So I bought myself a used Lapierre Spicy Team for £1800 approximately 2 years ago. I bloody loved it.

Karl now riding downhill events

Q: So how's the race scene going?

I have done around 5 Enduro events normally coming mid field but I do struggle with the longer distances all the time due to my ankles. This is a result of having had numerous operations and sometimes suffering from stiffness. I then realised full time Enduro wasn’t for me as my body was struggling. So back in September 2017 I decided to give downhill a go. I got myself a specialized demo 8 s-works 2017 and love it. I have been practicing at local tracks like Havok Bike park which is my regular. Also booking uplifts.

Q: So what races are you lining up doing or have recently done?

I am entering most Downhill series this year. SDA, PEARCE CYCLES, GRAVITY, BDS and plan on giving it my all. I am quite new to the cycling world but currently a midfield rider. I think I had a 7th as well. Just need to learn to stay on my bike. I have built a Santa Cruz Jackal DJ bike to try improve my jumping skills as this is all that lets me down when racing. I hope to get up in the top 5 riders this season on a regular basis. I know I can do it. I just need some fine tuning and plenty of track time. I've also committed myself to some more enduro race, mainly the PMBA series in Kirroughtree and their final round at Lee Quarry and Havok Bike park in October.

Q: Man you're committed!!

Well I've got to say financing all this biking is hard work but worth it. I have given up smoking approximately 12 months ago for cycling and I attend the gym 4-5 days a week and ride weekends. I now have a new Santa Cruz Nomad 4 and I have been training hard and I have now managed to get myself up to a top 10 which I am chuffed about especially when you consider how little ride time I have had and experience. I have grown a strong following and a good Instagram presence and think 2019 will be my season.

I am a lot stronger and fitter than ever and will continue to train through the winter. I've also started to organise rides for fellow MTBers, a sort of social gathering. This gives a chance for riders to meet up with other riders, so far at Gisburn and Whinlatter. These are for all levels of riders. (I concur, even I went on one of the rides at Gisburn (Jerry)

Karl putting the new Nomad through it's paces at Ardrock

Q: So have you sponsors at the moment?

Ha yeah, just a few but I'm always looking. My 2018 season sponsors are Royal Racing, 7iDP @7protection, Peatys Products, Crankbrothers, Can't Quit Cartel, Joes bikes, Squad Pro Bike, Whitakers signs, Pedal North, Mtb strapon, Derailed, Fortitude Fitness LTD

Q: What's "Wormy" all about then?

I wanted to try and create something to help give something back, in return for what mountain biking has given me. I wanted to do this selflessly. As wormy was already known and established to me, I used this to create a little brand. My nickname wormy was given to me when I was young due to the fact I used to eat so much food, yet I was so skinny, hence worm, “tape worm” having worms. I have now created items that people can buy. From cheaper items like keyrigs and cups through to hats and t-shirts. All the money that is made from this will be used to help others.

This is totally non profit. It’s all a new venture, but my idea is to save up a set amount, who knows, maybe £500 at a time. Then when enough merchandise has sold I'll have a poll on instagram with a couple of options of what the money should be used for, kind of vote for your favourite. The things the money will be used for will be charitable, for example helping cycling related injury charities, helping air ambulances and mountain rescue teams. I'd like to help people who can’t afford to cycle to maybe get the chance to have a go. It really depends on how much it raises, and this is up to the people out there, and in return people get something cool from a rad t-shirt or cup and that feeling they have helped someone.

I also have started a little race team WORMY MTB RACING which now has 2 sponsored riders who I am helping get into racing and helping with the costs of biking. In time I hope this to progress and have larger numbers of sponsors for the group and help more people.

I have been very lucky in the last few years and I strongly feel the urge that I should be helping others to get lucky. It's all about my motto now #livingthedream

Karl racing the Alpinestars Trail attack at Hamsterley Forest

Q: So that's it, cheers for the chat. Keep your eyes open everyone, I think this Wormy lad will be going place!!

Cheers Jerry and Phil, I'd also like to say a massive shout out to my partner and family who have been solid through this period of my life and the ongoing physiotherapy. This would have been an impossible journey without them. I would like to say a huge thanks to all my sponsors in what they have done for me:- Royal Racing, 7iDP @7protection, Peatys Products, Crankbrothers, Joes bikes, Squad Pro Bike, Whitakers signs, Pedal North, Mtb strapon, Derailed, Fortitude Fitness LTD, Also to Can’t Quit Cartel, Sick Bicycles and Shred Hedz for inspiring me to get to where I have and for also doing things to help others. Giving not just taking! INSPIRATIONAL!! See you on the trails dudes!!

To follow Wormy's adventures head over to his instagram at @wormy_mtb

Extra info
Originally from the lakes but now living in Fylde.  

Going on adventures with my partner and dog Roxy

Construction Manager

Santa Cruz Nomad 4
Santa Cruz Jackal DJ