Supported by Zion bikes, OG Bike co, Profile, and Portsmouth City Council.
It had been two years since I had rode with anyone, it had been two years since I had left the country at all, so when I got the text from Effraim saying that Groundroots round 2 was being held at Southsea Skatepark, I had to make the trip. My girlfriend and I arrived at Southsea train station around lunchtime on Saturday. We were met by Effraim, who brought me a inner tube, as I had forgotten to pack one. After getting settled into our guesthouse and building up my bike we left for the skatepark. For years I had watched people ride the legendary park at KOC and the Easter jam. I have to say I was pretty excited. After an exploding tube, a troublesome coaster, ramp moving and some brushing, the sessions were on! Most of the contest floors I have ridden were really slick. Thank goodness Southsea was different; the floor was fast while remaining super grippy. A few of the locals, cunners from the forum, Effraim and myself rode for a few hours. Effraim was on form, pulling combo after combo, time and time again. So much so, that Cunners started calling him “the terminator (which since has kind of stuck). I decided to call it a day and hit up Pizza Hut for my first meal since breakfast. Sunday morning I woke up and looked out the window . . . rain. However, little did I know then, that rain would be one of the main things that made this comp so great. After breakfast I headed to the park, the rain had stopped and skies were looking a lot clearer. Over the next few hours more and more people arrived, till in total there were seventeen entering amateur and six in pro. The rain stayed away all afternoon and everyone was in a good mood. No bad vibes at all. Amateur qualifying went off with some amazing links; top 8 went through to the final. I honestly couldn’t believe some of the things that were being landed during qualifying. I thought I had seen it all, until the finals, when everyone rode better than they had in qualifying. In the end, Lee Wilson took the win, with some super smooth, tech links as I’m sure you’ll see in the vids. Not long after, Chris got on the mic and announced that Pro finals would start in five minutes. I was up first. At that exact moment, the rain started to come down. Everyone hung in there; it hadn’t rained all day, so it was unlikely it would last. Five minutes passed. Ten minutes passed. Fifteen minutes passed and as it got heavier it was clear that it wasn’t going to dry up anytime soon. I suggested that the judges got together and voted everyone in order of how they had rode in general that day. A disappointed Effraim agreed and said it was probably the best we could do given the situation. Next thing I knew my name was being called to take to the famous rink and do my run. I looked at the people around me who were as taken back as me, yet everyone was up for it, shouting and clapping. With no further thought I found my ride amongst the sea of bikes and took to the rink. As I rode around, my wheels were up to an inch deep in water; I thought scuffing and turbining was out of the question so I started rolling a few hikers. The crowd cheered and whistled, everyone was getting super pumped. I decided to try a hiker kickflip, which I had been struggling with all day, to my surprise I hit it first time. The sound from the crowd put the biggest smile on my face; I couldn’t believe what was actually happening. A Pro flatland BMX comp in the rain, and not one person was bummed. If anything, people were more amped than usual! By this stage my grips were soaking and everything I tried, my hands just came off. I decided to end it there. If I thought pumping, scuffing and turbining was out of the question I was proved wrong as Jay took to the pond. Dressed in a raincoat, hood up, Jay showed everyone what exactly was possible, laying down some dope turbine and rolling combos. Next up was Shane Badman, fresh from doing shows in Egypt who again, raised the bar some more with forward deathtrucks jump to the pedals and x-foot halfhiker to halfpacker combos. James White ventured out next . . . . In a white adidas tracksuit. As James was rolling whiplashes and his legendary jugglers Chris could be heard on the mic “James I can see your pants”. I was laughing so hard I was finding it hard pay attention to the riding. Organiser Effraim decided to change it up a bit. Firstly he rode up the biggest quarter pipe in the park and rolled fakie the whole way round the rink. Next he hit a nice short flatland combo that he has so dialled its crazy. Then to everyone’s surprise he headed towards the bowls. Tabletops, 180’s and a peg manual from the snake bowl, round the rink to multiple barspins out. No touches. Last up was Sam. No one knew what to expect, would he hold back in the rain or would he throw it all down regardless? You guessed it. He killed. Sam rode like the sun was shining, turbine coathangers, whiplashes, backpacker jugglers, you name it, he probably did it. He also took the hardest slam of the day and still got up with a smile on his face. Words really cannot describe how relaxed the comp was. No pressure, no bitching and no bad vibes. Unless you were there you really can’t grasp just how good it was. As the day came to an end prizes were handed out and everyone headed back home, happy to be a part of a comp that will definitely go down in UK flatland history for all the right reasons.
Pro Rain Supreme jam (although not a proper contest-from the jam that happened in the pouring rain we decided the guys that supported the event should get some points for their efforts). To be remembered forever!!
1st Sam Foakes 2nd Shane Badman 3rd Effraim Catlow 3rd Pete Hollinger 3rd Jason Forde 3rd James White
Sponsored by: Zion Bikes, OG Bike co, Profile, and Portsmouth City Council.
1st Gabor Szmetanko 2nd John Birts 3rd Marcelo Pastel 4th Lee Wilson 5th Mario Carelse 6th Dnb Chris 7th TGM Vlad 8th Random Rob 9th Bri Doogles 10th Oliver Griffin 11th Cunners 12th Howard 13th Jim Cooper 14th Fareham Dave 15th Tim Lee 16th Tom Bates 17th Simon Dwain
Southsea Am Final results.
1st Lee Wilson-1000 2nd Gabor Szmetanko –939 3rd D n b Chris – 897 4th TGM Vlad – 865 5th Mario Carelse- 840 6th John Birts- 817 7th Marcelo Pastel- 796 8th Random Rob- 778 9th Bri Doogles-761 11th Oliver Griffin-745 11th Cunners- 728 12th Howard- 712 13th Jim Cooper-696 14th Fareham Dave-681 15th Tim Lee- 665 16th Tom Bates-650 17th Simon Dwain- 635
1st Lee Wilson – 1939 2nd Marcelo Pastel- 1693 3rd´Mario Carelse- 1680 4th Random Rob- 1556 5th Fareham Dave- 1459 6th Matti Hemmings- 1000 7th Gabor Szmetanko- 939 8th Andy Wood – 865 9th John Birts – 817 10th Bri Doogles- 761 11th Oliver Griffin- 745 12th Cunners- 728 13th Howard – 712 14th Jim Cooper- 696 15th Tim Lee – 681 16th Tom Bates – 665 17th Simon Dwain- 635
Professional rankings after 2 rounds.
1st Sam Foakes –2000 2nd Effraim Catlow – 1794 3rd Matthias Dandois – 939 3rd Shane Badman –939 5th Pete Hollinger 5th James White 5th Jason Forde 8th Keelan Philips 8th Alex Jumelin – 865