Dan Booker: Global Rider Reps Tassie in Redbull Hardline
by Peta Hen
Hailing from Hobart, mountain biker Dan Booker has done it all from competing around the world to getting his hands dirty building the very trails he races on. And with the renowned Redbull Hardline to be held at Maydena this month, Dan shares why competing on his home turf is so special.
How did you get into mountain biking? My parents taught me to ride a bike quite young and we would regularly go on family trips to the BMX track. My childhood home was on Mount Rumney where we were lucky enough to have a bush block running either side of the house. My brother and I had a lot of space to make tracks and build jumps. This grew my passion for mountain biking from a young age. A family friend was racing downhill at the time and I remember going out to watch him race. I was given my first proper mountain bike for a birthday present from my parents when I was seven and about a year later, did my first local race. After that I got quite obsessed and all I wanted to do was ride my bike.
What does it mean to be competing in the upcoming Redbull Hardline event at Maydena Bike Park? It’s a very special feeling to be able to compete in Hardline. It’s one of the highest profile events in mountain biking. Only 38 riders from around the world are selected to compete in this event so I feel very fortunate. Also for the event to be in Tasmania and to see Maydena get recognised on an international level is such an amazing achievement for the state and everyone involved.
You’ve also gotten your hands dirty working as a track builder at Maydena.
My first job after I finished school was building mountain bike tracks for a company called Dirt Art. For me this was the perfect way I could spend a lot of time biking but also make an income to fund my travels. I got to travel all over Australia for a few years constructing trails before I got the opportunity to help with the build of Maydena Bike Park. It was such an amazing place to work and really rewarding to create a world class facility which I then got to use to train on. My riding improved so quickly while working there which set me on the trajectory to where it has taken me now.
Mountain biking has taken off in Tassie. Why do you think that is? It has really boomed in the last five years or so. It’s totally due to the incredible investment that has gone into the facilities here. The facilities are amazing in Tasmania. I’ve been lucky enough to travel all over the world to ride and race and still some of the best riding I have ever done is in Tassie.
The other thing that makes Tasmanian mountain biking so amazing is the natural environment we get to do it in here. The native forest here is unlike anywhere in the world and getting to bike in it is really special.
Where are you based now and what do you enjoy when you’re back in Tassie? I’m currently based in Queenstown, New Zealand. It’s another beautiful part of the world and one of the major places that many professional riders head to train during the southern hemisphere summer. I definitely enjoy how close you are to the ocean when I’m back in Tassie. And Hobart is also such a great city. It has everything you need but it is also so easy to escape up to kunanyi or out to South Arm for a surf.
Any other hobbies when not hitting the trails? I absolutely love surfing. It’s the perfect reset for me because the ocean is about as far away from biking as you can get.
Who should we keep an eye on in the Hardline? I’m the only Tasmanian competing in Hardline this year which is super special to me. Baxter Maiwald, Darcy Coutts, David McMillan and Remy Morton are the four other Aussies to keep an eye on!
What does the rest of 2024 have in store for you? Right now I’m training full time before heading back over to Europe in May to compete in the Enduro World Series. This is my main focus for 2024. I finished seventh overall in the series last year so I’m hoping I can improve on that again this year. That will take me through to September and then I’m looking forward to getting back to Tassie to spend some down time with family and friends!