Written by the Everyday Bearded Mountain Biker (also known as Jake Phillips)
Photos by Ben Donoghue @bendonoghuephoto and Jake @jp_photographyuk
Stephen Fenner has a glint in his eye…a glint of mischief. He’s all 5 feet 8 inches of riding mayhem! Having said that he has a super mellow side and I’ve been lucky enough to see this when I’ve been around him, but I’ve seen photos of nights out in where he has led the unwary (or the stupid) astray.
This is Stephen Fenner, AKA FENDOG.
LET’S START WITH WHO IS STEPHEN ‘FENDOG’ FENNER?
Who am I? Haha sometimes I wonder that as well. So my name Stephen Fenner or as most people call me ‘Fendog‘, don’t know how that nickname came about but it stuck. I’m a lad from Brighton, love to ride and have a good time! Life’s too short to be weighed down by expectations, enjoy life!
HOW DID YOU GET INTO RIDING?
Riding has been a part of my life since I can remember really, from a kid messing about on our estate with my all red Raleigh then BMX’n as a youth, street riding brakeless, the more I think about it, what I was doing brakeless was stupid haha. When I got back from travelling at 23, I used my mate’s hardtail around Friston Forest and fell in love with riding MTB.
WHERE AND WHEN DID YOU GET INTO RACING?
I wanted to test my skills, so racing was a great place for that. Little did I know how much fun it would be, picking lines, getting those sick shots from great photographers and the atmosphere is awesome! 100% give it a go, even if you don’t think you’re good enough you’ll surprise yourself.
WHAT’S BEEN YOUR BEST RESULT SO FAR?
That’s tricky, I got the series win at Southern Enduro in my first years racing, which was pretty dope, but my favorite result would be podium spot at the old ‘Hooper Hooner’. 2 years solid I was trying to get that spot, then the 3rd year with the DirtRiders Crew, I finally got it! I mean I wouldn’t say the beer before my second run helped me because that wouldn’t be the right thing to say haha, but it might have been the key.
WHO ARE YOU RIDING FOR / SUPPORTED BY THIS YEAR?
So with Covid still here, you can guess how the year started! But despite it, I am super stoked to be a Knolly Bikes UK National Rider. Being part of this team is so good and all the guys are sound. Head over to my Instagram and Youtube channels to see my latest videos and bike builds. I’m also excited to be part of the Broken Riders Clothing and have support from Rhythm and Bikes Repair Shop down here in Brighton (best shop around for sure!). If it wasn’t for their skills I wouldn’t have a running bike haha. I also will be riding for Rip’n’Roll Goggles and SouthCoast Suspension and can’t forget the guys down at Boot Bananas! Those dudes keep my shoe’s smelling fresh and dry.
LOTS OF INTEREST THEN, THAT’S GREAT. BUT IT’S NOT JUST YOU OUT THERE IS IT. TELL ME ABOUT THE GROUP YOU CREATED, WHO ARE THEY WHERE DID IT COME FROM?
Ah man the DirtRiders Crew! What a sick bunch of shredders! It’s come far from when it was created like 4-5 years ago, started out as a few of my mates hitting up local spots and bike parks having a blast on bikes, then more and more people wanted to join which was insane. Started taking photos, making edits and getting more interest. We all enjoy racing so put a Dirt Riders Race Team together, which got attention from sponsors; you legends! If you follow us, you’ll know we go on annual tours to locations and make sick edits for it and do group rides. The actual 15 riders in the crew stretch from Eastbourne all the way to South Wales! Pretty insane if you think about it, we cover the whole of the South.
SO, YOU’VE MENTIONED A FEW TRACKS SO FAR BUT WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO RIDE?
Favourite place to ride? Damn that’s a hard question I’ve ridden some insane places! I’d 100% say all of the Surrey Hill spots for round here. As for UK Bike parks, I’d have to say Black Mountain Cycle Centre; f@*king love that place. Once this Corona is over, I’m gonna be there for the weekend! But my favourite track of all time has to be Pleney Black in Morzine, my cheeks hurt from smiling too much on that track!
OK SO TALKING FAVOURITES, WHAT’S BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE RACE VENUE/EVENT SO FAR?
Gonna answer this in 2 parts as I’ve got 2 different answers. So, my favourite venue for racing has to be Rheola. That track for racing is something else and I had the pleasure of racing it in the pissing rain haha! But as for events itself I’d have to say the B1KE races/series, the atmosphere is awesome. It’s not super serious, just more fun and is great if you want to try out racing for the first time. The guys at B1KE and the guys that run each venue always put on a really good event.
YOU’RE RENOWNED WITHIN YOUR CIRCLE FOR GETTING PRETTY WILD ON A BIKE, WHAT’S BEEN YOUR SKETCHIEST MOMENT SO FAR?
I can’t pick one but the top 3 have to be falling off a cliff and impaling myself on my bike, nearly breaking my back at the BullTrack, which I nearly won Fail Of The Year on GMBN due to my wookey noise; lost to a girl falling in a puddle haha and then my 50/50 landing on the double after the boner log drop on the pro line at Windhill Bike Park which resulted in a snapped frame.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR FENDOG?
Loads more riding, racing & filming! Going to be doing more enduro’s this year, well hoping to. Already got a full calendar with the Southern Enduro Series, Champs and a few mash ups so gonna be a busy year for sure! I’ve recently passed my driving test, I know pretty late being 33 haha, so will be doing a lot more travelling to locations to meet up with other riders. Brought a house so will be doing that up with my girlfriend, Katherine, so pretty stoked on that.
ANY LAST WORDS?
Quoted from one of my favourite MTB films and powered by Chainsaw……Ride Your F#%king Bike. As simple as that, no matter how good or bad you are, just get out and enjoy it, don’t go out to be the best at everything or impress others but do it for yourself. The next thing you know you’ve found the real reason of MTB…….finding that freedom and peace you get from just enjoying being on your bike.
Hope to see you guys on the trails soon… YEW!