Studio 76 at 9:00 am, me and Keelan got the prizes and PA in, hassled Lee (Wilson), for oversleeping and told him to bring a broom! We got the place looking presentable, and got Lee on sweeping duties when he and Stuart (McLaren) got there. You arrive late, you pay the price! By this point, more folks were starting to show, and I loitered on street corners looking out for flat riders… (Not business!)
Chris and Ashley from FUNCTION FLATLAND made it down from Bolton (Planning TGM crew, planning!), with Andy Wood and Norbet soon after. A warm up session got under way, and Keelan got the tunes flowing… we were off! Gentle giant James White was next up, followed by Ade and Alex. Cheeky turned up with crew, and took residence in the far corner of the studio… psych-out? Michael started mixing up street and flat on his Federal, which I loved, being a fiend for ‘straight’ bikes… The Red Bull was flowing, as were the tricks, and a good vibe was spreading. I spent a lot of time chatting with Chris about photography, video and flat, and the way things are going for us all. Chris is seriously behind the UK flat scene, and his store supports it from the grass roots up. Totally nice guy, and pretty handy on a bike too! Now we were just waiting for the TGM crew.
With Mario, Salvador, Steve and Yinka in the house, we got the comp
under way with the AM group. I tell you, these guys ain’t messing! Stuart was on a charge with an old school HARO MASTER, and tricks to match… I love seeing how much Stu has progressed every time I see him ride, and this time was no exception. Ade was up next, with a clean bike and fresh moves… style for miles! I think Alex was next, and the fact that he had no cranks didn’t seem to hold him back! Lovely flow there… Kaylo mixed up street and flat on his trusty Trinity, and Yinka brought us bang up to date on his Deep BMX with tasty skills. Stu, Alex and Yinka made it through to the AM battle, and you couldn’t keep Stu off the course! Yinka shone through to take first place, with Alex second and Stu third. Chris from FUNCTION FLATLAND came up with the prizes for the AM class, so the boys left with plenty of goodies for sure!
After a brief warm-up and catch-up, Expert got under way, with Andy bringing his usual smooth flow on his smooth Suelo. I picked the names from the hat, and Keelan called them. Andy was battling against Michael, and you had such a great contrast in styles, it was tough to call. I was snapping next to Lee whilst he was judging, and even he said decisions were tough… Salvador’s face when he heard he was up against Mario was a picture! (sahame I missed it! Salvador always brings plenty of humour and energy to proceedings, and boy he made me chuckle that day. Last out of the hat were Ashley and Cheeky. Again, another close call, but I think Ash just edged it for me. Ashley took third overall, with Andy a close second, and Mario in first. Goody bags all round boys!
PRO. You never know what you’re gonna get here… Lee had taken the leap up to Pro after last year’s GSF in London, but even he said on the day he wasn’t feeling it… in fact, Lee said he’d ridden better in the morning warm-up than in the comp. Next time Champ! Keelan brought his speed and flow in again, and you always wonder where his moves come from… damn, that boy’s good! Norbet had been quiet through the day, but let his riding do the talking, with lovely links and nice flow. Steve (Green) is seriously on it, mixing up tricks like a Kenwood Chef, and keeping it positive. Last up was James White. I love seeing James ride. It always amazes me that such a big guy can be so delicate and controlled, it’s like ballet, so graceful! (Anyone who’s seen Ballet Rambert or Michael Clark dance knows it’s tough!) Norbet, James and Keelan made the cut, but it was a tough call for places. We decided that James and Keelan should have a cliff-hanger battle to decide the winner, even though both of them said they couldn’t ride anymore!
It was so damn funny seeing James and Keelan chasing each other around the Studio, seeing who would fall off first, we were all in fits of laughter. Age won out, and Keelan fell first, leaving the win to James! (Keelan was gutted, but admitted to me that he wouldn’t want to lose to anyone else…)
After all the fun and excitement, prizes were given out, stickers thrown, and another great UK flat event had taken place. Keelan said that this is a great yearly boost to the UK scene (which grows ever stronger…), and we can’t wait for next year!
HUGE thanks to Keelan for getting it all going, and all the sponsors, KHE, S&M INTRIKAT (Cheers Chad!), iPATH and FUNCTION FLATLAND. Bring on 2011!