5 questions with Brian Dinkelman
Many people have put a lot of hours into making the World Cup track as good as it can possibly be. Brian is one of them and here is some insight into what is going on behind the scenes…
Who else including yourself has been building the 4x and DH World Cup track?
Brian: Downhill – Gary Browning and I work as a team and over the past few months we have spent most of our spare time working on the track. Gary is the technical expert and makes most of the decisions about how steep, how long and how dangerous!! He also builds and erects any wooden structures that are required and lately armed with a chainsaw has become a tree cutter of note. The hard manual work has mostly been carried out by four labourers whom I recruited from Greyling street. These guys under my supervision
have done everything by hand using picks, spades, rakes, bow saws and a brush cutter. They now have a personal interest in DH and all four also perform marshalling duties on race days. We have also had input from Mike Bradley, Kim Phillips and lately Greg Minnaar and Andrew Neethling and hopefully by April we will have a track that includes all their ideas.
4X – The raw track was designed and built by Phil Saxena who I understand is the UCI appointed 4X builder. Kim Phillips and a team of workers did the final shaping and finishing off of the track to bring it to it’s present form. I believe a lot more will be done to it before April to bring it up to world standard and to repair the damage the rain has caused. This past week my 4 guys cleared the 4X sections that also form part of the DH track and Gary and I intend to create a separate DH finish which will be more spectacular than the present 4X finish.
What has been the biggest challenge with building the World Cup track so far?
Brian: Communication and funding. As far as the DH track is concerned, Gary and I have been left to our own devises to come up with the right track. This has not been easy as neither of us have actually seen a Worlds track other than on TV and without funding we have been very limited in what we can actually build. I did manage to get funds from KZNMTB last week to hire a TLB for one day and managed to get the two jumps on the N3 built. In the beginning all sorts of money numbers were mentioned and there was talk that we would be bringing in hard-core to cover the entire DH track and the XC, but this has not happened. Unfortunately if we get rain on race day I think it’s going to be rather embarrassing, especially the XC track. If we had the type of funding that they seem to have in Europe to build tracks, we could have one of the best DH tracks in the world.
The storms have been raging in that area. The one time I went to the track there were tree’s across the road and loads of washed out soil. Yourself and the other other guys building the track must have a really difficult job?
Brian: It has been a very wet summer and from all accounts the rain is not over yet. The couple of big storms did drop a lot of trees which my tree cutting partner Gary dealt with. Unfortunately the access roads become very eroded and when wet and are impossible to drive up without a 4×4. It has been challenging and we have had to redo a lot of the work, but it’s been fun and if we win in the end it’s all good.
If someone wants to ride either of the courses can they just go along and do so?
Brian: No problem, all the tracks are open to the cycling public and the more they get ridden the better they will form. DH is a problem as most of the access roads now have locked gates which prevent vehicles from entering and therefore you can’t get to the track unless you have a key or are prepared to push your bike. Gary and I both have keys and if anyone needs to arrange access they just need to phone.
Its going to be very satisfying for yourself and all the other folks involved when you get to race day and see the TV crews, teams, sponsors and riders on the course that you all built?
Brian: Seeing is believing and if it is as big as I have been told it will be, then it will be mind blowing. Right now however we are focussed on trying to make a success of our next GMM series event on the 22 March and the National on the 4/5 April. If it does not rain in the first two weeks of April I know we are going to have a very successful National and World Cup.