It is not all glitz and glamour at World Cups, there are privateers on the circuit living the van life trying to crack the factory dream! We check in with Aussie privateer Jake Newell and friends:
From: jake newell
Sent: Thursday, 14 June 2018 8:27 PM
Subject: Privateer life
I flew out to London about a week and a half before the Fort William world cup so i had plenty of time to get a van sorted and setup. After landing in London, I took the train to an address of a van I had put a £100 deposit on – only to find out I had been scammed. I got back on Gumtree and found another van about half an hour away, it started and drove well, so I bought it and headed down to a mates about an hour and a half south to clean up the inside and build some bed frames. He had a pile of old alluminum tubing that was the old awning from his truck so we cut it up and it made perfect frames. After a few days there i started driving up to Fort William, I got about half way there when my van broke down. Luckily it was about 5 minutes around the corner from another mates place. We towed it to the mechanics and it turned out to be a blocked fuel filter. The next day i drove the rest if the way to Fort William, spent 2 days there riding then headed up to Inverness for a jump jam with the local crew Mast Riders. There is some of the best trail riding I have ever done there, I will definitely be back there!
After driving back to Fort William, I met up with Jordy Prochyra, another Aussie vanning it and we setup camp in the Aussie federation pit space in the pits.
There are hot showers at most world cups, and if there isn’t there’s always a river close by. Meals most nights will usually be an Uncle Bens rice and veges or some sort of pasta, making enough to have left overs for lunch the next day. Breakfast will be eggs and beans on toast or porridge. The hardest thing about living in a van is probably when it rains or when you need to do laundry, but there’s always a laundromat close by.
Practice started on Friday and I felt good all day getting my lines dialled in, but during qualifying on Saturday I wasn’t feeling the flow and kept making mistakes which put me in 70th, and with the uci changing the rules this year so only 60 men qualify and not 80, it meant I was out for finals. We packed up on Sunday arvo and started the drive down to the ferry headed for Leogang, which was about an 8 hour drive, 8 hour ferry ride and then another 9 hours.
After driving about 3 hours on Monday we stopped in for a ride at Ilkey Moor, then drove the rest of the way to the ferry, camping at the terminal for a 9am ferry Tuesday morning. Once we got off the ferry, we drove for about 4 hours before we had to stop because one of the kiwis, Cole Lucas, got food poisoning from 8 pre cooked chicken wings he got for £1 pound at a supermarket that morning. It was around 11pm so we camped up the night at a rest area. The next day we met up with Dave McMillan at a petrol station in the middle of Germany, he had flown into the UK a few days before and bought a van as well for the summer. In Leogang we had the Aussie pit space again, its only big enough for 2 vans and a pit tent so the other vans Park else where and come hang out in our pit space. There’s allot of kiwi juniors racing over here at the moment so they’re usually hanging around our pits as well.
We had track walk the next day and they had made some sick new changes, natural and untouched. It rained that night and group B went up for practice the next morning, with some carnage going down on the new sections. By the time group A was up it had dried out and ruts were cutting in nicely. The track was so fun to ride I ended up doing about 7 or 8 runs. Last year I qualified around 70th, and it only being top 60 I knew any mistakes would count me out. In qualies I got down to a section just before the first split that i had crashed on my first run down in practice, messed it up again and pretty much came to a stop. I finished my run and ended in the 80’s. We hung around the next day to watch racing then had a fire and beers down with the pivot racing boys, then headed out for the after party at the local bar.
We will be following Jake and Co with their travels this year, stay tuned as we check back soon!