Road Trip Mongoose USA
Bringing amazing skills on dirt, street and park, Benâ€™s riding needs no introduction. His US trip a warm up for the competition season that is already seeing him hit the top places. Hella funny geezer and down for a good time, on a bike or out on the town.
Pauls brand of riding is new school street tech and has seen him travel most of Europe in search of new terrain. Never without a smile, his recent RideUK cover speaks for his abilities on the bike!
Road Trip Mongoose USA
JOH A N N ESBU RG, SOU TH A F R ICA
A L BION HQ, E NGL A N D
WA MBOIN, AUST R A LI A
Straight up shredder and super nice dude, not only kills it on a 20 inch but runs his own BMX store, The Riot. Never one to shy away from big transitions, street gaps or rails, this Road Fools and Mega Tour veteran is no stranger to the road trip.
To say Tim is old school BMX ain’t even scratching the surface. Publisher of possibly the raddest BMX mag ever produced, The Albion, Tim’s credentials flow though BMX, motorcross and two wheeled magazine publishing like the tap at a pub on a wild Friday night.
Champing at the bit to ride trails would be an understatement. Always stoked and ready for a good time, the 2008 Dew Tour Champion’s trip was dominated by a need for dirt. This trip was his first time back on a bike in over 6 months thanks to injury.
Road Trip Mongoose USA
SO WHERE DOES ALL THIS BEGIN? HAZY MEMORIES OF J U M PI NG OU T OF BED, L E AV I NG T H E WA R M T H A N D COMFORT M Y H U NG OV ER BR A I N WA S V ERY M UCH I N TUNE WITH, REALIZING I’D BE F L AT OU T M A K ING THE AIRPORT ON TIME.
WHAT? WHERE? WHEN? At around this moment, all I’ve got is some distant memories of a call earlier in the week and a rough plan about a US trip with old and new Mongoose crew, sorta harking back to the heritage of Mongoose on a trip that would be included in the upcoming Know your Roots documentary. Reality is kicking in hard when I look at my scribbled list of stuff to do I wrote the previous evening prior to going out. ‘Pull my bike down, pack camera gear, stash film in Xray proof bag, stuff some clothes in, clean out dirt from bike bag (US customs hate that stuff), charge iphone, find passport.’ A mad pack ensures, and I’m wondering what I forgot as I jump in a taxi. Before I know it, I’m at Sydney International, barely on time only to find the fight cancelled thanks to the thick fog laying across the Botany Bay area.... So I slowly get my ‘wishing I was still in bed and sleep deprived arse’ rebooked and on a later flight with a truckload of other people heading that way. Finally outta Sydney 6 hours later for the long haul to SFO. Only drama here being I’d miss my transfer to Denver from San Francisco, but that worked out cool with a later flight. Moral of the story here is be real nice to the chicks at the booking desks, it can get you places.... Anyway, a full day chilling in SF was rad and I needed it. Of all the days to land in the US, I chose judgement day or something, hella crazy religious kooks losing their shit, and trying to tell me the world was going to end in a few hours. I assured them that I just left Australia which is in the future time wise and it was still chill when I left which had them confused and pissed. My final destination of Denver came about some 38 hours later. Upon arrival, I’m lost as all hell, so I settled for some food and beer near where I figured the hotel was. I got to chill with proper cowboys, and downed diarrhea inducing beer to Escapade by Janet Jackson, all pretty surreal! But let it be known I was totally loving the world wide vibe and was well ready to shoot the shit outta the trip. Luckily for me a couple of the ‘Goose crew’ stumble into my dive bar just before closing, meaning I now had a place to sleep and didn’t end up trading my cameras for a losing hand in cards or something... Awakening to a bluebird sky, breaky was rad. It’s here I sussed whether the trip would work or not. I mean putting dudes that don’t know each other in a massive RV for a week or so and travelling multi thousand kilometers, whoops, miles across the US is a serious make or break situation. But come load the RV up time, it looked like everyone was on point and amped as hell about the upcoming trip. The stop/spot list was full of some of the best parks and locations you can hit in that part of the US, so who was complaining?
First stop was Boulder’s premiere concrete park, I think it’s simply called Boulder park. It’s the park you may have seen in T1 edits and more, like a photo somewhere on this paper right here. It’s also the park that you need to go ride. So fast, so smooth, so well built. Greg shreds the top layer of concrete off the place boosting his style of antics all over the place. Ben and Paul got their flow on and Cam slowly began to get his roll back on after too much time out from injury. With hunger setting in, a crew of locals take us on a street mission on route to food. While the snacks were forgettable, the rails in Boulder defy logic, perfect low, steel, killer rails everywhere. In particular, one amazing up-rail got sessioned hard. Paul and Greg running different lines all over it. With our fill of street in Boulder, it was into the RV and on the road to Aurora, home of another of Colorado’s finest parks. While apparently the ghetto, Aurora rocked such a rad local scene, some skills getting thrown down by the locals along with being plain rad to chill with in the cool mountain air. I loved how the rad concrete park had a weird Dew Tour looking metal park adjacent and dry ice hockey fields everywhere. Serious training grounds. In a nutshell Colorado rocks. Full of friendly crew, amazing sights, clean mountain air plus lots of amazing concrete. Those who build there are the best of the best and a few of Australia’s park builders could learn a few lessons! Of course we had some driving to do that night, so we got to it...
PAU L R YA N / BOULDER Uprail to 360
BEN WA L L ACE / L AS V EGAS DR AINS Ice to 360
Heber park in Utah broke up the miles in the van come the end of the second day on the road. Damn this park had it all. Pools, bowls, ledges, hips, rails, awesome innovative construction and design. In the failing light, Greg blasted ridiculous bowl lines in front of epic Lord of the Rings looking snow capped mountains. Again, the locals blow minds with their straight up friendliness and ability to shred. I could definitely spend some more time up here!
The RV needs a little mention about here. Basically an amazing road trip vehicle. We just don’t have this kinda thing available in Australia, or roads wide enough to deal with ‘em for that matter. With a shower, bunks, music, lounges, poker table, ahh, normal table, this thing was made for road trips. On cards, Texas Hold’em passed the time better than the wifi onboard and also proved Tim and Greg were hustling hard. All good fun though. The Colorado to Wyoming leg was pretty much a ten hour poker fest fuelled on Sailor Jerry and Tennessee honey mixed with Ginger Beer or energy drinks of every description.
The Mormon state capital came up not too long after Heber, the infamous Salt Lake City... Definitely a strange place to roll into at night. The place is empty. Finding places open in the evening can be hard, especially licensed places! Having three wives underage is cool, but having a beer is looked down upon? Whatever! A cool chick that serves us dinner, had just moved from Detroit and informed me that there’s 2:1 ratio of females to cowboys and that there’s no dudes to go out with as they’re all Mormon anyway. So I almost got a date, before Tim got his smooth talking on and we all waited for ages while he rocked his accent to no avail... Never thought I’d be hot for a chemistry major!
GR EG ILLINGWORTH / BOULDER Uprail Over
Road Trip Mongoose USA
The hangover free morning sees rain and wind... Being surrounded by snow covered peaks would kinda point to that. Lone Peak park was a fun session, but we were running for cover from rain on numerous occasions. Can I just say here, that some of these parks dwarf Australia’s biggest by probably three times. Cam managed his biggest turndown ever at 2 foot out of a sweet little hip. Sort of a running joke there. Hopefully that pic won’t pop up anywhere...... Our main place of sustenance throughout the trip was Chipotle, a mad Mexican chain restaurant. Basically good, organic food in a fast food wrapper. And as is the case in the US, you get a truckload of food for sweet FA US pesos. It was only late in the trip that I was informed one hella massive fast food giant owns Chipotle and that kinda bummed me out. But all power to ‘em for bringing good food to the people that don’t eat shit. Lets just say their wombat sized (only thing I could think of to explain...) burritos will keep you sustained for a good day of riding. Next stop, Greenwood skate park, and luckily, some sun... But in hindsight it was a detour we shouldn’t have taken. Greg went down on a rail to 360 over rail line, catching a peg on an upright that tore his knee open hella bad. The only choice here being a quick visit to hospital. Of course being a South African resident in a US private hospital caused all sorts of problems, let alone communication ones. Do most US crew need subtitles for Australian, South African or English accents? Anyway, stitches ensued, 4 internal, 11 outside. Damn... Hours waiting? Lots. Hours waiting for pain killers from a chemist? Even more, thanks to passports not being proper ID. They get you into the country, but are useless at anything else? Weird? You think so too? Ha! No wonder their dollar is screwed, things are sorta messed up over there. Regardless of world economics, Greg was out for the trip. Bummin cause he’d been the shredder of the trip so far.... We did find him a sweet lazy bones type of electric powered ride though. Thanks un-named massive department store. One of the weird highlights of the trip was this crazy big outdoor store we checked out to get something minor for our road tripping comfort. Of course when you’ve got more guns than the Australian army on show for sale, an indoor shooting range, mountain animals in store and more camping stuff than at base camp Everest, everyone comes back happy. Ben scored a sweet blow gun paint ball thingo that took it’s toll on everyone onboard and assorted innocent signs and bystanders over the next days. With Greg out and rain floating around the Salt Lake area making a trip to Matt Berringers backyard playground out of the question, so the plan was formulated to drive to the dry desert heat of Nevada and ultimately Vegas. Another day in the van could have been looked at negatively, but it did mean some rematches on the poker front to win some cash back! We rock into Vegas in the arvo and immediately hook up with TJ Lavin, Cam’s good buddy and now our tour guide. Gotta love connections. After a late Hooters lunch, we sussed out TJ’s backyard trails. Which to say were in need of some work to get em rolling again was an understatement. Digging began in the heat but we figured an early start would be the way forward. Motivation kicked in for all of us that next morning, partly because of the Nevada desert heat in the arvo and partly a need to get clips. So a 6:30 arrival at TJ’s to get the trails working was on. After a few hours shaping and grooming, Cam and Ben got stoked on it enough to begin the shredding. It was seven months since a session went down. Or more to the point, since TJ took his heavy hit. So it was a good morning by all involved. TJ’s mate, Bobby rocked up in ‘his’ sweet new worked 2011 Corvette and showed us some real US muscle. 600+ horsepower in a small block, seven liter V8 stopped by the biggest Brembo discs you’ll ever see. Holy crap, 0-180 mph in 35 seconds in the back blocks of LV.... Ben enjoyed a passenger seat ride somewhat, a little faster than his WRX apparently.
With the trails working good, it was off for food, then back to TJ’s for an arvo session. Amazing light ensued, as did the afternoon prevailing winds which put a damper on anything above the height of a lip... While we could’ve all bummed out on the non event, the call was made to hit the drains of Vegas.
GR EG ILLINGWORTH / COL OR A DO PA R K Tuck
Road Trip Mongoose USA
Miles and miles of dry banked drains have seen the locals add their touches in quickcrete to make some amazing spots. Hips, banks to walls, booters and more. You just roll down the drains and spot after spot pops up. We spent a few amazing hours cruising and sessioning in one of the best rides I’ve had in years. While Vegas is known for some of it’s epic parks, I’ve gotta say the drain system is a definite must for anyone riding there! Super rad day to say the least! After a mellow night by Vegas standards, we all headed out for a morning of those already mentioned concrete parks Vegas has on offer. Starting with ProPark, which we quickly bailed on in search of Anthem park. Which, as does a lot of Vegas parks, have some of the best transitions mixed with some of the worst! Still, Anthem rates as one of my favourites world wide now. Lots of variety there that saw Ben killing it all over the place with bangers, big lines and tech skills being thrown all over its concrete faces. His recent form in international comps ain’t no joke, he kills it! We headed back to TJ’s hoping the wind would be mellow. Luckily for Ben and Cam, we scored a lull in the desert winds and a sweet session went down. After months off the bike, it was so good to see Cam back on it flowing some of the biggest trails anyone has in their backyard. That said this ain’t no ordinary backyard.
GR EG ILLINGWORTH / BOULDER Gap Bar
PAU L R YA N / L AS V EGAS DR AINS Wa l l to B a r
Mongoose USA CAM WHITE / T J’s YA R D Whip
Four story high roll in, massive lines, huge resi, hips and more. Just dropping the roll in to resi is hardcore let alone manning up to hit the perimeter line.... That said Cam and Ben killed it, some big riding going down. I’m amazed at the soil, wet it and it’s scupltable, but an hour later it’s rock hard under the desert sun. With the wind setting in and the crew definitely feeling the effects of the blazing sun and session, what was left to do? You got it. Get slicked up and get out in the bright lights and mayhem that Vegas owns! We cruised the strip, hit clubs, strip clubs and all of the associated chaos that a long night involves. I’m down more dollars and surprised we all made it home alive... With hangovers hammering our heads with a ferocity I can only blame on the heat, we headed back to TJ’s for one more session. It was going to be my last part of the trip as I was heading out at lunch. Cam and Ben continued their flowing through TJ’s backyard playground, and all I can say is that TJ rules, thanks for the hospitality and trails, amazing! I packed my gear as the session wound down and said my good byes before making the mad dash to the airport take two... It was kinda an abrupt end and not too dissimilar to my leaving Australia. Running late, I was unceremoniously dumped out of the RV into Mccann airport to a flight home moments later. The long flight seeing me unwind from the intense trip and unload the contents of my brain getting into your hands here.
GREG ILLINGWORTH / GR EEN WOOD Ice to Nose
To say this trip was a blur for me is putting it mildly, luckily I can still focus a camera... All things considered, putting an assortment of crew who barely knew each other all in one van and sending em off across the US for a week couldn’t have worked out any better. A massive thanks goes out to Mongoose and especially Chuck Fallon, our team manager for the week for dealing with a RV full of loose crew. Tim March for keeping everything cool between the big wigs and the riders and talking mag philosophy with me daily. Will for ruling on the filming front and Shuji for just being a chill Japanese bro. Of course it wouldn’t have all happened without the riders, Ben, Paul, Greg and Cam, you rock! Hope to hit a trip to South Africa with you all soon!