Will Ockelton Interview | Endtroducing
Endtroducing Will Ockelton - to say he is as passionate about the sport as us is an understatement...
It’s fair to say that in 2011 there were few good words spoken about the UCI, mainly because everyone seems to feel that they are far more interested in the lycra clad roadie brigade rather than us mud covered gravity lovers, but hopefully for 2012 we’re going to see a change in the right direction. A major factor in that change is the UCI’s appointment of Will Ockelton. He was a big part of the team that brought us the live Freecaster coverage over the past few years and to say he is as passionate about the sport as us is an understatement. He’s also as sound as they come. Now that we’ve got him and some other like–minded individuals within the UCI we will hopefully have far less to grumble about over the coming years. The deal that he’s just struck with Red Bull to provide live coverage of the World Cup has the potential to help take the sport to the next level, and that could be just the beginning. Only time will tell if the UCI are now on the right DH track, but in the mean time here’s the Endtroducing of our man on the inside...
From Dirt Issue 120 - February 2012
Words by Ed H. Photo by Christoph Laue.
Who is Will Ockelton?
The middle son of a middle son of a middle son.
Where do you live?
What’s your job title?
Senior Sponsorships Officer at the UCI.
What do you do?
I manage the sponsorship activities of key UCI partners. This reaches across all cycling disciplines, however my role is currently focused on MTB, managing all the sponsors there and proving by example that MTB racing can be one of the most progressive and exciting sports to invest in. I’ve been working as part of a team on the new rebrand of the sport, and providing input for what we believe can be a really amazing new season of broadcasts and webcasts. I’m also closely responsible for the Track Cycling World Cup sponsors too, which is an interesting and contrasting role, given the level of investment already there and the whole build–up to London 2012.
How long have you worked for the UCI?
Since October 2011.
How did you land the job?
The UCI approached me while I was at a turning point with Freecaster.tv. I spoke openly with the owner of Freecaster about the situation, and we both agreed that this was a unique opportunity for me to get involved at the heart of DH racing (amongst other things). I had a couple of interviews before the Worlds, and was offered the post.
What other jobs have you had apart from the Freecaster one?
Quite a mix...worked on Gillette’s short–lived MotoGP program, Duracell’s Music Festival tours and Nokia’s snowboard sponsorships, to name a few. But before all that I used to work at the original Cycle Surgery shops in London for years. They were more like dens of antiquity than the glossy shops you see now. They attracted the biggest cycling wierdos London had to offer...and I became the best man of one of them!
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
First job after uni was doing flood risk assessments of railway bridges. Standing in the pissing rain in a high vis jacket, measuring things. I just logged everything as ‘medium risk’ so I could get home early. I lasted three months. I’d probably avoid train travel in the Midlands if you can, at least during wet periods.
Where’s your favourite place?
Alonzi’s Harbour Bar, Scarborough (ice cream shop).
Where’s your favourite place to ride?
Anywhere the This Is Sheffield boys have marked out as a course.
When are you happiest?
When interacting with other human beings.
What makes you angry?
People who talk with authority about something they know nothing about.
What makes you happy?
Things that work.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
“It doesn’t matter what anyone says, they’re all a bunch of ‘orrible ****s"...by Farmer Jack.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever given?
“Don’t place that glass of red wine on the audio mixer" ...just before the 4X finals in Leogang.
What are your extravagances?
Who do you admire?
What’s the most important thing in your life?
My son, Antti.
What would you never throw away?
What’s your greatest fear?
What was your luckiest escape?
What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
Check I’m not on the floor of the UCI velodrome.
What’s the last thing you do at night?
Check I’m not on the floor of the UCI velodrome.
What would be your dream meal?
Fish & Chips from New Cod On The Block.
What things do you always carry with you?
Do you have any regrets?
Never learning to manual.
What’s the most important lesson that you’ve learnt?
No one in the bike industry can keep a secret.
If you could have dinner with three famous people (dead or alive) who would they be?
Marco Simoncelli, Elliott Smith and Roger Deakin. Three very different people who it would just be good to have back around for dinner.
Who is your favourite rider?
Street Hawk (as a member of the Intergalactic Cycling Union, I have to remain impartial).
What’s your favourite bike product of all time?
Santa Cruz Nomad carbon frame.
What’s your least favourite bike product of all time?
The compulsory shitty safety reflector kits that you get with new bikes...instant landfill.
What’s your favourite motto or saying?
What saying do you use too much?
“Don’t tell anyone, but..."
What bike are you riding at the moment?
Santa Cruz Nomad carbon.
What was the last magazine you read?
Dirt Mag (honest).
What are you listening to at the moment?
Mark Riley on Radio 6.
What one thing would you change about yourself?
The advancement of age.
What are your weaknesses?
Getting the Polish car wash guys to jet wash my bike for £2.
What does the future hold for you?
Hopefully one where I can remain involved in the renaissance of World Cup racing, alongside the event organisers, teams, riders, press, sponsors and yes, key UCI people, who are all pulling together to make a difference at the moment.
What does the future hold for mountain biking?
A bright one for DH racing I think. By the time this magazine goes to print, all the plans for 2012 should be official and we’ll all be eagerly anticipating the best World Cup coverage (in terms of camera quality and show editing) the sport has ever seen. It’s worth getting excited about the future for once.
How would you like to be remembered?
Just being remembered will be enough. But if it’s for beating Steve Peat in the MegaDeath 2 race across Sheffield, then even better.[series]