Ben’s Zwar-some season leads to nomination
Travelling all around the world is just one of the perks of being a downhill mountain bike rider for Yackandandah’s Ben Zwar.
“The first year we went to Andorra just out of Spain, that was the first time I’d been overseas racing so that was crazy,” Ben said.
“Switzerland’s really nice, just Europe in general, I love it. It’s crazy you get to travel all around the world racing.”
When he’s not jet-setting around the world, you can most likely find Ben hitting the tracks in Bright.
Ben credits his love of riding to his father, Wayne, and brother, Oliver, who also rides competitively.
“I grew up riding motorbikes and my older brother was racing and then a friend had a mountain bike DVD and I watched that and got pretty into it,” he said.
“My brother bought a bike and I just followed him.
“Because he’s four years older, now that I’m elite now, we joke between each other saying we’ll beat each other.
“I beat him the first race and then he beat me at the other ones, but it’s just sort of funny joking about it.”
Ben has racked up a stack of his own achievements in the sport, having a particularly successful year in 2017.
“Being top age juniors, I went overseas and did the full world cup season over there,” he said.
“I got around the top-10 mark all year at all the races and then got home and got selected to represent Australia in juniors.
“I got six in the world, which I was pretty happy with and I was only a second off third.”
Ben has also been picked up in the European team for the elite category.
Despite the glamour of travelling, Ben has also seen the harsh side of the sport.
“First year at the world champs two years ago in my race run I had a really big crash, I still made it down but I didn’t really remember much,” he said.
“I’ve been pretty lucky so far because I haven’t had anything major.
“It’s the best feeling when you come across the line and you’ve made it down, but I’m very nervous the few hours leading up to it.
“A lot of fast kids crash, so you want to go as hard as you can, but you also want to peg it back a little bit.”
This year, Ben hopes to get as much experience competing and qualifying as he can.
“My goal is to try and qualify for all the rounds because there used to be 80 qualified every race and now they’ve taken it down to 60,” he said.
“That’s my goal, just to try and qualify for the world cups this year as a first year.”
Ben is one of 12 nominees for this year’s Norske Skog Young Achiever of the Year Award.
“It’s a big sport overseas, but not really in Australia, so it would just be awesome for everyone around here to see what I do,” he added.