Tom Van Steenbergen's 'Wild West'
was one of the best videos of 2020. After Van Steenbergen was sidelined by a recent crash
, we caught up with him to find out how he worked up to an 80 foot front flip, how long the build took, where the name came from, and more.
When working on Wild West, you had to guinea pig some massive features. What is your process for guinea pigging new features?
Guinea pigging is always a tough process. I try to take my time and make sure that I do enough run in's to the jump. Once I feel ready I just go for it.
Then once you’ve hit something once, how do you build yourself up to the bigger tricks in the video?
Once you hit it once you'll know the speed for the next time. And then you start to feel out the trick you want to do by visualizing it while you hit the feature.
You did an 80 foot front flip. How did you prepare yourself for that?
I built a set up into an airbag that was similar size and so I felt more than ready to do it on the jump. It was a matter of hitting the jump consistently in the same spot to make sure I landed perfect.
If we back up to before you even start riding, how much did you have to build for the video? How did you decide what to build?
In 2019, I took about 3 days to ride my dirt bike around the property to find features that would work well. After that I started building for about 5 days in a machine to prepare for when the builders would arrive. When they came it took 7 days I believe. Shortly after we finished the builds, I broke my hand and we couldn't shoot the project that year. So then we came back in 2020 to rebuild everything and shoot it all.
The end product is a 3-minute film. How long would you say the entire process to film Wild West took?
Probably close to 2 months...
What shot took the longest to get right?
The open loop. We had to go back 3 different days and kept having to change the feature. It was such an awkward one.
What was the most memorable part of the shoot for you?
Either the 80 foot front flip or the nosebonk front and manual flip in the same session.
What is your favourite part to watch?
The shots where I'm carving through the trail and the front flip after that.
Are you totally happy with how the video turned out or are you already thinking about how you can improve for a next video?
I'm very happy with the video but I definitely know what to improve on for next time. It was the first big video project that I've fully produced" so there was a big learning curve for me.
How does going big for a video segment compare to going big for an event like Rampage?
It's so different. There's no one watching and you're really just doing it for yourself and your own video.
What do you do for training? Who do you ride with most often?
There is a lot that I do for training but the main thing is riding lots and going to the gym. I have a pretty sick riding crew in Vernon. I ride lots with Matt Macduff, Brayden Barrett-Hay, Brett Rheeder and my brother Bas.
Who and/or what did you draw inspiration from for your video?
From the old NWD's and Anthill movie segments. I've always wanted to get people as stoked to ride as those movies did to me.
Where did the title “Wild West” come from?
It came from how wild and untouched this place was. And the other wildlife, especially the wild horses.
Were you happy with how it was received?
Couldn't be happier! It was amazing, I don't remember seeing one negative comment... So thanks to everyone who watched and liked it!
You came third at Rampage last year, what were you working towards this year?
Definitely looking for another podium and hopefully grab a win one of these years. That's the big goal.