As a general rule, if you’re going on a trip halfway around the planet and you don’t want to lose your mind, you’d better go with people that are fun to hang out with.Luckily, this trip involved five guys who care about screwing around just as much as they care about riding their bikes.
We had Jamie Bestwick, who served as chauffeur/demolition derby captain day after day. Steve McCann took some verbal jabs in the van but he shut everyone up by ruling spot after spot. Fuzzy Hall was the trail ambassador happy to talk to anyone and everyone who came his way. T.J. Lavin’s main objective was to cause constant mayhem on the highway every time he was in the van. Lastly we had Dave Dillewaard, the Australian equivalent of Josh Harrington, which means he’s incredible on his bike and happy to act like an idiot off of it.
So this is how the trip worked. We stayed in a hotel in Sydney, and every day we drove to different spots and made shop appearances so the riders could sign autographs. Everyone moaned about the drives being painful, but the truth was that the more time we spent on the road, the more time we had to throw things at the other cars in the convoy. I can’t give too many details about the car wars, but within the first two days, three people got soaked by a piss bomb gone wrong, one vehicle was covered with eggs (inside and out), and there may or may not have been some shattered glass. Learn the Ride rental car motto: “Yes, ma’am, of course we want full insurance coverage…”
Australian trips are typically based around skateparks, but this time we wound up at a ton of trails. One set was in the middle of a forest that was ravaged by a bush fire last year, and another was in an area infested with brown snakes. The main builder at the snake trails said he never built alone because if a snake bit him, he would have no chance of surviving without someone to help him.
Since we spent a lot of time in the dirt, you know T.J., McCann, and Fuzzy were right at home, but seeing Bestwick rip the trails caught a few people off guard. Jamie has a separate bike built for trails back in Pennsylvania, but he was not scared to put his vert vessel through rhythm. Dave completely killed it, too. He’s just like a typical Australian rider—good at everything.
The real highlight of the trip, though, was Steve McCann. He’s been coming on strong over the past few years (as contest results prove), and he has completely come into his own. It appears that Steve is only comfortable six feet over every obstacle, and he is one of the few who is not afraid to let the bar-hop fly. After beating Nyquist in Park at the Vans Triple Crown finals, a lot of people started paying more attention to Steve, and he is not letting anyone down.
I flew home from this trip a few days before the rest of the crew, but from the stories I heard, all I really missed was a lot of driving and a couple of late nights that I probably should have skipped anyway. Thanks to Travis Chipres and Chuck Fallon for making this possible, and to all of the locals that let us ride their spots. Hopefully we’ll see you again next year.