When you think cross-over sports you tend to think league to rugby or triathlete to ironman. But snowboarding to V8 Supercars?
Well, that’s exactly what world champion and Olympian Alex “Chumpy” Pullin set his sights on recently, with the boardercross star linking up with Jamie Whincup and Red Bull Racing Australia in an effort to find a technical advantage to his own racing.
Fresh off his post-season break and surgery following his Sochi campaign, Chumpy headed to Queensland’s Norwell Raceway to get a taste of life on the blacktop before heading to the Triple Eight factory to get an insight into the technical aspect of the sport.
“I caught up with Jamie during the Wings for Life World Run in Western Australia and it was a cross-over project I think we’ve both benefited from and certainly enjoyed,” says Chumpy, who is back in full training ahead of the 2014-15 season.
“It was something we’d been talking about for a while. I’ve always had a huge interest in motorsport and those guys are just so good at what they do and building their knowledge each year. They really push technology with the way they drive, and having all that data on record makes it a real scientific approach to how they race.”
But they didn’t let you get behind the wheel?
“No! I didn’t drive the car myself I think that might have been a bit sketchy,” Chumpy says with a laugh.
“They go well too fast and the way he was throwing it around at the end of the session, wow. I was just holding on.”
At first glance it mightn’t look like the two sports share many similarities but Chumpy says he left RBRA HQ with plenty of enthusiasm about enhancing his own development.
“First up we walked the track and talked the comparisons between lines and angles in the two sports,” he says.
“I probably saw more comparisons than Jamie at first but as we continued the day and talking we saw more and more similarities – carrying speed and utilizing gravity, momentum.
“It also gave me a real insight into the technology behind what they do. And the other thing where we found common ground is team dynamics – where we are in an individual sport but rely on a big team of people to do what we do. He’s got mechanics and engineers and I’ve got a board tech, my coach and physios and trainers who have to tweak my body like his engineers do his cars.”
And it was the factory, meeting with technical director Ludo Lacroix where Chumpy says he found the seeds to take his riding to a new level. If that’s even possible…
“It blew my mind,” he says.
“From my side of things it was just so informative to hear about the process and the procedures of how they go about it.
“What I really wanted to get a grip on was the technology they’re using to test their equipment. Because where I’m at right now is trying to push the boundaries of boards and bindings and all my equipment to really improve. And I need to start accumulating accurate test results in all conditions to see how different things effect different runs, what components have an effect and not only where we can milk the potential from the equipment but also improve my weaknesses.
“It’s about collecting it. And that’s something relevant that I think I will learn from now having that relationship. We talked over options technology wise that will be suitable for me to test myself and my gear.
“It was like a school excursion and I think with the help of the Red Bull Racing Australia guys I’ll be able to really make some leaps with my equipment and testing.”
And as for a future behind the wheel of one of the 640 horsepower machines, Chumpy says that decision is up to team owner Roland Dane – who has Chumpy’s business card…