Video: Happy New Year from the DHaRCO Collective

Happy New Year from all the crew at DHaRCO. Thanks for an awesome 2017. Time to “let go” and bring on 2018! No holding back.

While you’re here, check out Flow’s Top-3 posts featuring DHaRCO supported riders from 2017:

  1. Local Video: Cannonball – The EWS Dark Horse
  2. Video: Remembering Summer – Whistler 2017
  3. Video: EWS With Cannonball – Whistler to Finale

Add some stoke to your Instagram feed by following @DHaRCOclothing.

Video: Remembering Summer – Whistler 2017

Sydney’s Northern Beaches based clothing company DHaRCO are going from strength to strength. Their support of the local riding scene along with local and international riders gives them a legitimacy that can’t be imitated.


As the bike park closes and the leaves start to fall we’re stoked to remember an epic summer in and around Whistler. Matt Staggs teamed up with local riders Jaime Hill and Sterling Christensen to put together this edit; and Aussie Jake Newell who makes his annual pilgrimage to Whistler.

Jaime Hill – Juliana Strega
Sterling Christensen – Nukeproof Mega

Jake Newell – Mondraker Summum

Like that? Go on, follow DHaRCO on Facebook and Instagram.

Video: EWS With Cannonball – Whistler to Finale

Did you miss any of Cannonball’s journey so far?

Read our interview with The Ball and watch Matt Staggs Visuals raw edit of him shredding his home trails here.

Then hang out on a chairlift ride to Whistler’s ‘Top Of The World’ as Matt Staggs once again captures his speed and mindset leading into race day, here.

So, how did Whistler play out, and will we see Cannonball in the series finale in Finale? Find out below.

Flow: Whistler was your second-best result of the series so far, just a few places behind your 32nd in Derby. Did you approach Whistler any differently to previous rounds?

James: Having a few more rounds with several more crashes under my belt, my mental game was to keep my cool and ride a little more consistently. Smoother, slower into corners and faster out. Knowing how rough the terrain in Whistler can be from having lived there 9 years earlier, I got the awesome guys and good friends at Dunbar Cycles Vancouver to bump up my fork to 160mm and give my fork and shock a pre-race service. What may have helped me most was my tyre choice for this round and how that boosted my confidence. Up until this round I had been playing off my strength in technical terrain by sacrificing a little less tyre width for a faster rolling tyre to help in the longer pedally sections. With a Maxxis 29er DHR2 2.3 3C up front and an Aggressor 2.3 3C rear this was ideal for me on the trails in Derby where the stages were short and rocky with a few pedally sections. Since Derby I noticed a few times when I lost confidence, and perhaps wider front tyre would have helped. In Madiera I recall sections where I rode stiff and scared on stages 1 and 3. For Ireland, in hindsight, packing a set of full mud tyres instead of just one Maxxis Shorty would have made a huge difference, but that’s part of building upon racing experience. Coming back to Whistler I was practicing on 2.3” tyres but I felt that I wanted more grip and after getting some time on the tracks and terrain it became apparent there wasn’t much pedalling in this round. So, I scrounged up what must have been the last Maxxis 29er DHF 2.5 3C in town from the helpful guys at Bike Co. Running this up front and moving the DHR2 to the rear made an immediate difference. I felt so much better in all the blown out corners and felt like I was spending more time in an aggressive flow state rather than holding back.

Trent responded to my joke with “how much do you need?” I couldn’t believe it, the next thing I knew I was booking fights…

Flow: Privateering the EWS is hard work. You told us previously about how your mates helped you get to the European rounds, but it seemed like Whistler would be the last race of your 2017 series. Tell us how racing Finale became a reality?

James: Again, huge thanks to all those mates that chipped in, I wouldn’t be where I am right now without them. Finale came about from light-heartedly joking, with some hope, with Trent from M2Oindustries/JetBlack. I had worked for Trent and JetBlack for 5 years and still do contract product development work for him, so I have a pretty good relationship there already. Trent had also seen the coverage of my season so far on Flow and social media, particularly the video edits and imagery from Matt Staggs Visuals. I guess these things made it a worthy and reasonable risk for him to invest a little more into the final EWS round. So, without hesitation, Trent responded to my joke with “how much do you need?” I couldn’t believe it, the next thing I knew I was booking fights…

Typically, I will go flat out the whole way up and usually without much rest, drop straight into a descent so that I can condition myself and get more used to riding technical trail at a maxed and fatigued state.

Flow: Since confirming your entry for Finale, what’s your standard week involved? How many hours are you ‘training’?

James: I’ve been focusing on getting more time on trail. I’ve been getting out on the bike at least every second day and often riding three days in a row with every third or fourth day being a high intensity day depending on how my body is feeling. Averaging four to five days on the bike a week, anywhere from 40 minutes to 4 hours and a weekly average at only about 8 hours on the bike. Priority for me has been better focus on resting appropriately between high intensity days and getting on rough technical terrain. There are often sections in an enduro stage that are small pinches or traverses over technical terrain. I’ve been adding priority to my hill climbing on tech trails locally. We have a few technical climbing trails that are around 11~13 minutes in length here on Sydney’s northern beaches, which is about the length of some of the longer stages at a round. Typically, I will go flat out the whole way up and usually without much rest, drop straight into a descent so that I can condition myself and get more used to riding technical trail at a maxed and fatigued state. My times have been improving since before Derby so I’m feeling pretty good.

Flow: We checked out your Pivot Switchblade in Whistler and it was looking well ridden! What changes have you made to it before Finale?

James: With big thanks to Shimano Australia, I’ve replaced my drivetrain with new XTR rear mech and XTR crankset. Along with this, they have also upsized my rotors from the not so suitable 160/180mm combo to some new Ice-Tech rotors at a much more respectable 180/203mm. JetBlack have helped with new RIP grips and freshly laced set of new NoTubes Arch hoops that will be wrapped with new tread from Maxxis/BikeCorp on race day. Finally a custom fork and shock tune from Simon & Lachlan at MTB-suspension-centre.

Flow: Sounds like you and your bike are prepped better than ever for Finale. We’ll be cheering on from behind our computers as we see your stage results roll in. One final question, do you prefer sunset walks on the beach or sunset shreds at the trails?

James: (laughs) I can offer dreamy and intimate romantic sunset walks on the beach Monday to Saturday, but sorry ladies, Sundays are reserved for sunset dirt jump sessions with the lads (dirt jumping ladies welcome too, of course).

Be sure to check out Flow’s Instagram Stories during Finale’s EWS for Cannonball’s behind-the-scenes coverage – #EWSwithCannonball / @flow_mtb.

Cannonball’s kitted in DHaRCO Men’s SS Jersey and Men’s Gravity Shorts.

All photos and video produced by Matt Staggs Visuals.

EWS Whistler: Hanging Out With Cannonball

Want more action? Check out Cannonball’s previous video where he rips his home trails, along with photo story and interview here.

Be sure to check out Flow’s Instagram Stories during Whistler’s EWS for Cannonball’s behind-the-scenes coverage – #EWSwithCannonball / @flow_mtb.

Cannonball’s kitted in DHaRCO Men’s SS Jersey and Men’s Gravity Shorts.

All photos and video produced by Matt Staggs Visuals.

Local Video: Cannonball – The EWS Dark Horse

Cannonball – RAW razz of his home trails

James ‘Cannonball’ Hall can move dirt. Building and riding bigger jumps has always been high on his list. But he’s not just brawn, he’s also the brains behind the designs of mountain bike trails, jumps and pump tracks around Australia and North America. His industry experience is immense; from life lessons learnt as a shy school kid in the greasy Bike Addiction workshop through to sweaty meetings in Taiwanese factories frustrating over how important a 0.05mm tolerance is to us, the end users of patented cycling products he’s designed. He’s always been fast. Riding a hardtail for longer than many, he’d drop most riders on any track riding his stiff-as-a-board Sasquatch with near-slick rear Hookworm at 50psi.

Cannonball’s now taking his innate speed along with some new found fitness, plus a more suitable bike, and having a solid crack at privateering the 2017 Enduro World Series. He’s tallied up a lot of crashes but has also earned a 6th place in Rotorua’s Stage 3, 15th in Derby’s Stage 4 and a round PR of 32nd in Derby. After Aspen Snowmass, he’s the 6th highest ranked Australian. Flow caught up with him just after arriving in Whistler for his sixth round of this year’s EWS.

Flow: You kind of epitomise the whole dark horse thing – going from a weekend warrior to EWS racer – tell us about your journey? When did you decide to give it a crack?

Well, racing isn’t entirely new to me; I had done a fair bit of elite downhill racing ten years ago when I lived in Whistler for two seasons. Funnily enough I never actually owned a DH bike I always raced on a 6″ trail bike, I guess that was training for the enduro races of today. There was, however, one time my trail bike was out of action for the Canadian national champs at Sun Peaks and I borrowed a DH bike for my race run from my boss at the time, good mate and owner of Dunbar Cycles, Rob Venables. To my surprise, I jagged myself 8th place in elite along with some UCI points. Since those days I haven’t raced much as life and other priorities kind of got in the way. It was not until September last year on a Canada trip I randomly found myself tagging along with Chris Johnston and Dylan Wolsky to a BC Enduro race in Revelstoke. With poor preparation and only a few hours sleep, I managed to pull together a pretty decent result and had an absolute blast on the loose, steep and wet BC trails. That’s all it took to get the bug to race again and sign up for the EWS.

Flow: Please tell us the story of your friends chipping in for your airfares etc.

James: First off, WOW, these guys blew me away. Without me knowing, a group of fifty-odd friends and riders got together and as thanks for my trail advocacy work and excitement over my Rotorua and Derby results, chipped in to pay for my airfares, entries and accommodation for my Europe leg of the EWS. This allowed me to take on EWS Madeira and Ireland! I would never have asked my mates for money or for such a thing, so I honestly was taken back by their offer and totally overwhelmed. I feel so grateful to these wonderful friends; what legendary mates!

“Without me knowing, a group of fifty-odd friends and riders got together and as thanks for my trail advocacy work and excitement over my Rotorua and Derby results, chipped in to pay for my airfares, entries and accommodation”

Flow: What do you do when you’re not ripping trails?

James: Too much (laughs), but it’s all in the name of living the dream, that I’m very grateful for. My main job is being a full-time firefighter based in Sydney which is one of the best things I’ve pushed myself towards for so many reasons. I balance this on the side with being involved in a few product design projects for bike accessories, helping take ideas to market by liaising with engineers and factories. I also love getting involved in trail designing and building projects for a couple of Aussie companies. Somehow I also find time to ride my bike and fit in a day or two repairing bikes at my mate’s local bike repair shop.

Flow: What bike and gear do you ride, and why?

James: I’m really happy to be riding for JetBlack Products, a Sydney based company who distribute Pivot Cycles, Stans rims and many other cool products. My choice from the Pivot line up was the Pivot Switchblade set up as a 29er. It’s 150mm front and 135mm rear and as I’m not one for big travel bikes this suits me to a tee. This paired with some super grippy Maxxis tyres from Rick at Bikecorp has me pretty sorted for my bike. I’m also very fortunate to have been sponsored some rad clothing from Mandy and Mathieu from DHaRCO, another Sydney based company.

Flow: It’s been a decade since you first went to Whistler. How does Whistler compare to the other EWS rounds you’ve raced? Are you feeling confident?

James: It’s going to be ROWDY! Steep and tech, my favourite! I’m pumped about the course here; I’m feeling more excited about this round than any of the others. There are a few tight technical trails that I think I have a good chance to do well on, so if I can keep it smooth, consistent and rubber side down throughout the day I could be in for good chance to see a tidy overall result.

“Steep and tech, my favourite! I’m pumped about the course here; I’m feeling more excited about this round than any of the others.”

Flow: Why are you called Cannonball?

James: It came about from early days spent repairing bikes at the local bike shop in my late teens. We occasionally would take a long lunch to go cliff jumping into the harbour.  Turns, a mechanic at the time, nicknamed me Cannonball because I apparently had high-velocity rotations like a spinning cannon ball, let alone the splash…

Flow: What makes ice cream better?

James: (Laughs) You know me too well! Firstly, ice cream makes everything better, but what makes ice cream better is ice cream enhancer, aka Milo. Unfortunately, my ice cream and Milo intake over the last year has drastically gone down.

Be sure to check out Flow’s Instagram Stories during Whistler’s EWS for Cannonball’s behind-the-scenes coverage – #EWSwithCannonball / @flow_mtb.

Cannonball’s kitted in DHaRCO Men’s SS Jersey and Men’s Gravity Shorts, in Fern Green.

All photos and video produced by Matt Staggs Visuals.

Racing: Red Ass NSW State Downhill Championships, Greenvalleys

It’s always going to be a great weekend when you can grab the big bikes, a whole bunch of buddies, your finest heckling devices and road trip down to Greenvalleys. Last weekend it played host to Rocky Trail Entertainment’s biggest Downhill event of the year; the NSW Red Ass Downhill Enduro State Championships.

Ellie Smith stepped it up from U17’s to Elite womens’ for the weekend and didn’t disappoint. 1st place with a 2:20.343.
Ellie Smith stepped it up from U17’s to Elite womens’ for the weekend and didn’t disappoint. 1st place with a 2:20.343.

Greenvalleys, situated in the lush pastures of Tongarra and only 2 hours’ drive from Sydney city, has become one of NSW’s best mountain bike destinations. Boasting a hill full of trails and jumps as well as shuttle road, it is the perfect home for the rowdy crowds and racing of the State Champs.

The first year of the new ‘Downhill Enduro’ format, riders get the chance to take the best of two race runs as their final place. This allows for a far more friendly competition for all that have problems or crashes in their race run, keeping everyone stoked when they go home.DSC_0980

Joel Willis was on a blinder today, taking out the overall with a 1:58.048 – narrowly trumping Brent Smith by just under half a second.
Joel Willis was on a blinder on the day, taking out the overall with a 1:58.048 – narrowly trumping Brent Smith by just under half a second.

“Having Green Valleys close to home works out pretty well for me. It’s helped me to be more spot on with my riding – linking every section together and trying to push in spots where you never thought you would. It has also gave me the chance to meet the young local shredders that are aiming to keep getting better and better.”

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The dream of owning your own mountain bike park coming to life.
The dream of owning your own mountain bike park coming to life.
The final singletrack to chute across the creek into the finish line, where riders came hauling ass brakeless through the forest into a final sprint.
The final singletrack to chute across the creek into the finish line, where riders came hauling ass brakeless through the forest into a final sprint.
Event centre or cow pasture?
Event centre or cow pasture?
The classiest of overtaking strategies from Tyson Wise.
The classiest of overtaking strategies from Tyson Wise.

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Dialled shuttle system straight from the field to the summit in less than 5 minutes.
Dialled shuttle system straight from the field to the summit in less than 5 minutes.
The 4-pack halfway down the track was a huge treat.
The 4-pack halfway down the track was a huge treat.

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Being a freeride park, there is no shortage of jumps to style the hell out of every single run - making it a photographer’s dream.
Being a freeride park, there is no shortage of jumps to style the hell out of every single run – making it a photographer’s dream.
Lantana and loam.
Lantana and loam.

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“Ahh suuuuh dude!” Our favourite enduro wizard Keiran Volk is a very familiar face at every Greenvalleys event. A Woolongong local and GV trail builder, Kezza is no stranger to this trail. Nevertheless, his times were as on-point as his beard with a 5th overall on the day on his trusty Santa Cruz nomad – the quickest trail bike of the day.
“Ahh suuuuh dude!”
Our favourite enduro wizard Keiran Volk is a very familiar face at every Greenvalleys event. A Woolongong local and GV trail builder, Kezza is no stranger to this trail. Nevertheless, his times were as on-point as his beard with a 5th overall on the day on his trusty Santa Cruz nomad – the quickest trail bike of the day.

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What is a downhill track without a finish show jump? Duke Millington doesn’t let winning U19’s men get in the way of a nice whip.
What is a downhill track without a finish show jump?
Duke Millington doesn’t let winning U19’s men get in the way of a nice whip.
One of the biggest casualties of the day goes to Connor Mackne – after a whole season in whistler, a wild crash in heckler’s rock garden sees the demise of his steed just a week after coming home.
One of the biggest casualties of the day goes to Connor Mackne – after a whole season in whistler, a wild crash in heckler’s rock garden sees the demise of his steed just a week after coming home.
Paul “Kingy” King got in a bunch of shuttle runs with all the racers before residing in the MC’s chair for racing, calling the shots and keeping the crowd pumped. Cheers Kingy!
Paul “Kingy” King got in a bunch of shuttle runs with all the racers before residing in the MC’s chair for racing, calling the shots and keeping the crowd pumped. Cheers Kingy!
The hecklers were out in force today! Chainsaws, broken bike parts clanged together, air horns, a nightclub sound system and an air compressor-powered train horn! Though it may have thrown some off, the huge crowd of cheering spectators made race runs even more exhilarating.
The hecklers were out in force today! Chainsaws, broken bike parts clanged together, air horns, a nightclub sound system and an air compressor-powered train horn! Though it may have thrown some off, the huge crowd of cheering spectators made race runs even more exhilarating.
With one of, if not the quickest line through the rock garden, Pat Butler proves time and time again why he chooses to enter Elite instead of U17’s; 2.67 seconds off the top time of the day – sitting him rightly in 3rd place overall.
With one of, if not the quickest line through the rock garden, Pat Butler proves time and time again why he chooses to enter Elite instead of U17’s; 2.67 seconds off the top time of the day – sitting him rightly in 3rd place overall.

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The no. 1 plate, Brent Smith, taking home 2nd place overall.
The no. 1 plate, Brent Smith, taking home 2nd place overall.

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Theres always a super atmosphere of mates and banter at Rocky Trail events, we can’t wait till our next! Till next time lads!
Theres always a super atmosphere of mates and banter at Rocky Trail events, we can’t wait till our next! Till next time lads!
Your elite men's podium – 1. Joel Willis 2. Brent Smith 3. Pat Butler 4. Josh Lea 5. Keiran Volk.
Your elite men’s podium – 1. Joel Willis 2. Brent Smith 3. Pat Butler 4. Josh Lea 5. Keiran Volk.

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For full results, http://www.rockytrailentertainment.com/events/DH-results.html