World cup is dream come true for Fort William teen

The Oban Times - - News -

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.

Pho­to­graphs: Iain Fer­gu­son The Write Im­age.

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.

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