God Save Flatlandů A Personal Perspective
stuart roseStuart Rose was laying down heavy beats on arrival at Crayford leisure centre, and that wasn’t the only thing that was banging.  The level of riding going down just in ‘warm-up’ was astounding, and when you realised that Viki Gomez was there ‘just to ride’, you knew something special was happening. After greeting friends old and new, and watching more and moreviki gomez riders appear through the door, the feeling of being part of something special grew even stronger. 

Whitey made the announcement that Beginners were the first class up, and that they had 30 minutes to practice before their runs.  No pressure then…
 I had the pleasure of watching some good friends ride in the Beginners class, with Charlo (Kyalo), steeping up to bat in the hang-five shoot out to get things rolling (pun intended)…  The level of riding in this class was inspirational, especially to me (I still feel like a rank amateur, after a year of riding), seeing so many compete in this class is a true indication of how strong our scene is in the UK. 

Seeing young Kieran (couldn’t have been more than 10 or 11) laying down some serious moves made me smile, and made us all realise there’s serious hope for the future of our ‘sport’. 
 The mixture of styles brought forth in this class alone reminds us about the individuality that exists in flat.  Seeing street styles mixed up with old school moves shows how the boundaries in BMX are blurring.  There’s a lot of talk about how BMX is becoming more segregated, but when you see riders like Nathan Williams throwing moves like hang-fives into his riding,
it makes me think that a lot of this talk is just that, talk.  After all, we’re all riders… 

Part of the special feeling of this jam for me was seeing friends ride, and that was even more evident in the expert class.  At the BMX Battle this summer, I only knew two or three riders.  I’ve lost count of the new friends I’ve made through riding since, and it was a true pleasure to see them all in action.  Oh, and did I mention the Europeans?  There were riders from
crazy french spinFrance, Germany, Greece, Holland, the list goes on… Considering this looked like it was to be a ‘local’ jam, this was just another affirmation of how strong our scene is. To be honest, I was more focussed on capturing the moment through my lens than getting names and tricks, so for this I must apologise…

There’s more than enough videography and photography circulating for you to see exactly what went down.  The energy and passion of the Europeans shone through here, with lines flowing like lighting strikes and combos linking up like anchor chains.  SOLID.
 james whiteThe pros took the stage like conquering heroes returning from battle with fire in their bellies… Individuality came to the fore once more, balancing the grace and majesty of White and Dolan’s flow with the raw power of James Smith (came and went on his Vespa…) and the crazy French guy who I went to Sainsbury’s with… I captured the Pros on video (the edit will be up soon…) as this seemed to me to be the best way to do their riding justice.  Stills just don’t cut it sometimes…  

With the pro’s runs completed, it only remained for James White to hand the prizes over, and they were well earned…  Third place in beginners went to new dad Stu McIntyre (I was personally stoked and proud of this one…), second was Salavdor Brown, with Chris Brown (no relation...) taking first place.  In the expert’s class Mizo took third, with my main man and personal flat tutor, Lee trevWilson taking a well-deserved second, leaving Navid Saleki to take the win. 

Pro was a tough call.  All of the riders put in superb runs, but the final three came down to Phil Dolan in third, Effraim Catlow second, and, no surprise, Big Daddy James ‘DJ Whitey’ White, taking the win.  On the day, he was just the man. More friendships were forged at God Save Flatland, and I think that we’ve seen any doubts about they future of flat in the UK, let alone worldwide, blown out of the water.  There was such a buzz at the end of an amazing day, and there are plans afoot for even more jams next year, magazines, a total rebirth of flat in the UK.  This is why we all ride… Bags and bike packed, Lee and I made our weary way back up to the midlands, stoked on the day’s events on and off the floor, and fully charged for the future. God bless James White! 

Shouts:  thanks to ALL the riders who made the journey, James White for getting it all going, Stu Dawkins for laying down the beats, Viki Gomez just for being there, Martin for making the trip from Germany (YEAH! We meet at last, Ed!), and to Lee Musselwhite and all the others that judged and deliberated.  Bring on 2010!

2009-12-14 - Morgan