“Ryokou” — the Japanese expression for the word ‘journey’ — is a story about the determination of an Australian athlete, set amongst the backdrop of the Land of the Rising Sun. The series explores Shane Perkins’ journey to re-define his career, whilst taking up the challenge to become a champion rider in the National Keirin Series competition in Japan, 2012/2013.
Here’s what Josh Capelin, co-producer of Ryokou had to say about chapter 3, “Fall”:
I met Shane during the Tour Down Under in January 2012. When suddenly you’re talking to an elite athlete, both an eerie calm and awe quietly descend on you. Or maybe it was the loss of air space around my legs now occupied by Shane’s swollen pegs. Either way, Shane was there to help Oakley with an activation of roller races and had been graciously losing to a few young boys who could boast about beating a World Champion.
In conversation Shane told me he was heading to Japan later in the year to race in the Keirin. Both my eyes and ears flinched, and we discussed that a certain brand, with Japanese sporting heritage and Australian street cred could be interested.
And so it came to pass that in August 2012, we were driving a Jayco campervan across the Hay plain on our way to Adelaide to begin filming.
Over the course of that week, we soon realised that the story we thought we were making, would get a whole lot bigger as we learned more and more about Shane’s past.
Chapter 3: Fall, is about Shane’s suspension and isolation from the Australian Institue of Sport, which ultimately led to him not being included in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Team. There were a number of events which transpired to this decision being made, and many, many particulars which we learnt of. And it was very challenging as filmakers to choose what to include and what not to include. Additionally, Shane was also very wary of discussing the circumstances with respect to all involved.
But one thing is clear for us. This is the first time he gets to tell just a fraction of his side, and truthfully. Shane is a man of honour and this chapter is about his journey to redemption, and how an invite from Japan gave him the opportunity to chase his dreams.