Jens Byggmark – Summer plans and fast cars
The Swedish men’s team is in the midst of a tough physical training period, and about to return to snow at the end of July. But meanwhile they’ve had a chance to have some holidays, too.
Jens Byggmark spent his holidays in a car in North America by taking part in the spectacular Gumball3000. Gumball3000 is an annual rally carried out in different places in the world. The cars are of various makes, and the winners are not the ones who drive fastest but those who drive with the best style. This year’s start took place in New York and besides Jens Byggmark, the participants included Jon Olsson.
“We parked in the middle of Times Square. 130 sports cars stayed there overnight and the drivers ranged from oil sheiks to hip hop stars and athletes,” says Jens Byggmark.
Did you see some real stars?
“I saw David Hasselhoff from Baywatch, haha. But that was at start and then he disappeared. Maybe he raced his own route.”
How was it to drive?
“Really cool. Everyone stayed in the group and drove so it was really awesome to meet the others. Organisations try to tone it down as a race but some do drive like maniacs.”
But you of course didn’t?
“But of course not, haha.”
First stop was at Toronto but even before then, Jens already experienced problems. From the beginning, Jon’s car was unstable and so even before the stop he discovered that the tires were completely finished.
“I bought the car in Miami and had it brought to New York so I am not sure if something happened in the transport. We drove for a day and it was a bit strange and it turned out that tires had gone down to the wire. When we finally got hold of new ones they were not the right size so the ABS brakes on the car stopped to function, but it worked out in the end.”
The journey continued but in Kansas City the mishaps too continued as Jens managed to break the gear box.
“We got stuck there but also got lucky as we ran into a trailer and got a lift with then into town. That’s where we found a new gear box. In any case we can say we happened to be in the right place to get reserve parts for that kind of an American car.”
Based on all the trouble Jens & Co decided to skip the next check point in Santa Fee. Instead they drove to Denver and met up for dinner with the Norwegian racer Leif Christian Haugen who lives there. After that they drove directly to Las Vegas.
“We arrived in Vegas at 6am and took position at the pool. We waited there until the rest of the group showed up that evening.”
The last stop was Los Angeles where Jon Olsson had his share of problems when the fuel pump in his car broke down and he had to take the taxi for the last bit.
What was most fun about Gumball?
“If I have to pick three I would say, in no order of preference: start at Times Square. I can promise I was more nervous than before a World Champs race; there was such a pressure. Each stop: To arrive in each city and see all those people along the streets. For example, arrival in Toronto. There were more people there than at the Schladming night race I am sure. I do not think people knew who was driving which car because they were not marked at all but there they were screaming ”Biggmark, Biggmark”. It was quite cool. The whole thing: to be able to finally do a road trip across USA. It’s something one has been dreaming about since forever.
How did you manage to train there?
“I saw this time as my vacation so I did not train at all.”
But now you have restarted?
“Yes and everything is going really well now. I had some leg problems while running before but after taking seven days fully off and totally relaxing I do not have any of that any more. It does not happen often that one does not do anything with their legs for that long.
What are you doing in the summer?
“Besides a lot of hard training I am going to launch my new brand Recovery4athlets. We offer somewhat different products, for example an excellent shower gel and some supplements. Everything is developed by athletes and we have a really good team behind us. The plan is to launch during the tennis week in Båstad.
When do you return to snow?
„We have a first camp in Mölltal at the end of July before we travel to New Zealand on 8th August.
How are your plans for the season?
“I will train both GS and slalom now during the autumn and then we will see how it goes with giant slalom whether to continue to also invest in it during the winter.
The coming season also includes the Worlds in Schladming where you will be defending your silver medal?
“Yes, I am very excited about the Worlds. It is such a great place too. Obviously the Worlds are the main focus but it will also be important do well in the World Cup. It will be interesting to see what this winter offers.”