A while ago the folks of Red Bull asked Koblenz local Frank Lukas if he wanted to organize a BMX event in his home town. The “Stadtstrand”, the city beach located on the river Mosel in Koblenz was the location of choice and the idea for the event was pretty simple: built a nice Flatland area right on the beach in Koblenz, invite whoever wanted to have a nice day at the beach and attract some of the best Flatlanders with a €1200 best trick purse.
Frank helped the Red Bull guys get the riding area right, he made sure they got the best possible wood to cover the stage elements, which he had levelled out himself two days before the event. On Friday it was time to finish the riding area with a layer of OSB, and despite the help of all the locals and crew, the area did not get finished before sunset. The work Frank put into the stage paid off, because it turned out to be a pretty good riding area of about 210m².
Saturday morning arrived, and the weather turned out to be great. It was sunny and hot, perfect for a day at the beach. Riders from Koblenz, Bonn, Köln, Frankfurt, Berlin, Neubrandenburg, Hamburg Luzern and Paris showed up and rode while DJ Human Tornado spun the wheels of steel.
Riding started at around 11am, and by then it was actually getting pretty hot. We got the sun screen going, got used to the area, the scenery and just rode with a couple of friends. With fruit, water and Red Bull for every one, free Flatland Beach t-shirts by Carhartt and no entry fee, it was pretty easy to like this event. No pressure, just riding and a little best trick contest in the afternoon. It had been raining Friday morning and the forecast for Saturday hadn’t been too good, so we were a bit surprised by all that sunshine. Make that positively surprised!
At around 3:30pm announcer Andy Zeiss called the riders to sign up for the best trick contest. We decided to copy the format first introduced at this years Urban Games in London: each rider got three attempts at a hard combo, going through all riders, and then starting over to give riders more time to pull their hardest tricks and so on. That way you actually got to see riders try their hardest instead of riders playing it safe just trying something they know they can pull. Unfortunately the weather turned nasty after the first two rounds and that was that!
Each rider had had six tries to show the judges what he had, and they had seen enough to make a decision. When the rain started, we tried to save the riding area by covering it with pvc, but after we had everything covered, strong wind started to blow the pvc away and despite all attempts, we could not keep it in place properly. Everyone ran for cover in various tents, the judges decided to split the prize money evenly between the best six riders, and the rain finally stopped. By then the riding area was too wet to start riding again, so we decided to take it apart. That took another couple of hours, and then it was time for some food and after that we met once again for the party at the “Circus Maximus”, a club in Koblenz! And, surprise surprise, another rider showed up for the party: Nathan Penonzek had been on the bus for 24 hours, then on the train for another three and made it to Koblenz just in time…for the party.
Despite the rain I think we all had a nice day at the beach, rode our bikes and just had a good time. Thank you Red Bull and Carhartt, thank you Frank Lukas!
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