Since we founded Rocky Trail Entertainment we have met so many incredible cyclists and athletes. We are so proud that our Rocky Trail community has become this pool of inspiring people who all share our passion for riding and racing and exploring. We’d like to share their stories in this blog series – #rockytrailracer in focus.
Here we’d like to introduce you to Michael “Browny”Brown, one of the co-founders of the Jetblack Racing Team. Working in the building industry in his ‘other life’ off the mountain bike trails, Michael says that he has never dreamed of heading up Australia’s largest amateur racing team.
RTE: What motivated you to start the team?
Browny: Eight years ago I was involved in a men’s mental health support group called “Men in Action”. We had weekly meetings and six of us decided to go mountain biking together as the “Dirtriders”. We started to visit events also and after a year Kevin [“Kevlar” Wynne-Smythe] and I wanted to involve more people – Dirtriders was part of the men’s support group and we were keen to include women and juniors as well, so we decided to make our riding and racing activities more official. The Jetblack Racing Team was founded then.
RTE: Jetblack Products Australia were the first ones to support you, just like they have been instrumental in the first years of Rocky Trail Entertainment – how important was their support for you?
Browny: Tony the Jetblack owner and his then business partner Trent who now heads up M2O Industries were instantly excited about our team. They have supported us with marquees, products and ultimately also introduced us to the Rocky Trail events where we represent the Jetblack brand now at every race. We are sort of a ‘walking billboard’ and are proud brand ambassadors for Jetblack and also for Rocky Trail.
RTE: What’s your role in the team?
Browny: I started out as president and am now the team secretary, Kevlar is our president. It’s good to spread the work load and give others a go – plus we are encouraging other team members to step up and take over – it’s a lot of work getting it all organised, we’re very happy to let other people to come onto the committee and get more riding time in.
RTE: You put so much effort and time into running the team, what keeps you motivated throughout the year?
Browny: We very quickly formed the vision to create a big team with a big base of resources and know-how, to develop women and juniors and by now we have a wide range of riders. We love racing – it’s about turning up and you see family and friends every couple of weeks. You make new friends instantly because you have that shared passion for riding and racing.
RTE: You have such a wide range of racers – different ages and also riding preferences – and they all obviously love riding and racing. How do you keep them all together, is it like ‘herding cats’ sometimes?
Browny: [Laughs] We have a committee and 120 people on our internal FB Group – we encourage rides on the weekend and also mid-week rides and pretty much every weekend some of us are at races or social rides. Me and a few team members have coaching certificates and we have a mentoring programme where an experienced racer takes young ones or riders who are just starting out in the sport under their wings.
RTE: You have so many juniors on the team, what do they love about the events?
Browny: Junior development plays a big part for the team – we have experienced racers like Craig Gordon who take juniors out on track before races or we organise sessions with younger riders ahead of events. They love that access to well-known and experienced racers.
RTE: You race most Rocky Trail events and the Jetblack Racing Team by now take up quite the footprint in the event centres! How important are those events have for the team?
Browny: The Rocky Trail Series [Shimano MTB GP and Fox Superflow] provide us with everything we need! We love the constant variety in terms of track, the races are professionally run and yet they have a sense of familiarity, our riders love the atmosphere you guys create! We love travelling with you and being a part of the Rocky Trail community. Riding is awesome, but when you slap that number plate on, it’s a real common bond.
RTE: Where to from here for you?
Browny: Riding and racing more! I love that with the Jetblack Racing Team I’ve made and keep making life-long friends! Can’t wait to see where else we can take our team!
Photos: OuterImage.com.au and Jetblack Racing