World cup is dream come true for Fort William teen
FORT WILLIAM’S Jack McCallum has been ranked 33rd in the world at the junior mountain bike world championships.
Jack embarked on a childhood dream at the weekend after being selected to ride for the British national team at the UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup at Nevis Range.
The 18-year- old, who is originally from Spean Bridge but moved to Fort William recently, was just 30 seconds off qualifying for Sunday’s racing.
He told the Lochaber Times: ‘Friday’s practice was good, but by Saturday morning the weather had totally changed the run. I think I got the worst of the weather and went over the handlebars twice after going in a hole which had opened up with the rain.’
The top 20 riders from Saturday made it through to the Sunday race.
Jack, who is sponsored by Highland Bikes, said: ‘I think if I hadn’t crashed I would have qualified for Sunday. I missed out on it by about 30 seconds, so had I not gone over the bars I think I would have made it – so I was a bit disappointed. But what are you going to do? You just have to keep going.’
Jack, who has been riding since he was six, said getting selected by British Cycling to race for the British national team in the world cup came as a huge surprise.
‘I wanted to make it last year and I didn’t, so getting picked this year was amazing,’ he said.
And when he is not riding, or working at Off Beat Bikes as a mechanic, Jack is enjoying his second love – music.
He has plans to go to the University of the West of Scotland to study music technology with hopes of becoming a sound engineer.
‘I got into music through my dad playing guitar, and then I took it up when I was about eight. Bikes have had to take a sideline at times because it’s a bit of a lottery whether you get picked or not, and being a sound engineer will bring some stability.’
Jack hopes to go on to race for Britain at next year’s event and secure a top 20 qualifying spot.
Before embarking on his degree, Jack said he plans to take a year out and do some travelling, as well as taking part in a few European biking competitions.
Clockwise from top left: UCI winner Greg Minaar of South Africa, second, Jack Moir of Australia, and third, Aaron Gwin of the United States; UCI ladies winner Hannah Tracey of Australia, second, Myriam Nicole, France, and third, Emilie Siegenthaler of Finland; the top 20 riders from Saturday made it through to Sunday’s race; and Jack McCallum with Steven Thomson of Highland Bikes.