Setting out our stall in front of good old M&S, we showed our wares proudly to the world. A BIG contingent from THE GREEN MILE from down in ‘The Smoke’ brought a big mix of skills and styles, with old boys/legends, PHIL DOLAN and JAMES WHITE showing the whipper-snappers how it’s done. Add to that riders from across EUROPE, and the mix was ‘tres chic’…
Bearing in mind that Saturday was only the ‘warm-up’ for Sunday’s competition, the level of riding was intense, with (amongst MANY others) local heroes KEELAN PHILLIPS, LEE(S) MUSSELWHITE and WILSON, JAY from TGM and MARCELO (PEDALLING TRUCKDRIVER - PULLED! YES!!!) from HUNGARY mixing it up with style, originality and flair.
Speaking with SSELS at the end of the first day, he said… “I’m really pleased with the turnout; it’s been amazing, really, really good…”
After feeling completely shot after riding in for the warm-up day, I took the car, and my BMX. Hell, I may as well ride… it’s not every day you get to session with pros, I figured!
Arriving at our spot in the centre of Leicester, it was good to see some familiar faces from the previous day, and even better to see even more new arrivals, some of who had driven up last night. After tales of drunken antics and clubbing until 4am, we finally got into our arena and started getting set up.
KEELAN was in conflab with the sound guys, getting the tunes set-up, whilst tired, hung-over bodies started to twist and turn on the floor, all while keeping one eye on the sky above. After yesterday’s positively topical weather, it was grey and gloomy… would it stay dry?
Warm-up complete, EFFRAIM CATLOW took to the mic to announce the first battle of the day – KEELAN PHILLIPS vs STEVE GREEN. KEELAN was all over the floor like a rash, throwing down some rapid combos, in his fluid style. STEVE was doing his damnedest to keep up, but the crowd vote went with the local hero. It was round one to KEELAN. Warm-ups commenced for round two, just as the skies threatened the wet stuff. After a five minute wait, and covering up the arena, the decision was taken to relocate to KEELAN’S studio for the rest of the bouts…
After getting riders, bikes, sound equipment and fans upstairs, and getting over the fact that KEELAN has the holy grail of indoor spots, round two got under way. The smiling giant that is JAMES WHITE was up against ROB. Drum n’ Bass booming, combos started flowing. WHITE was rolling like a natural, and even with ROB linking up some sweet combos of his own, Round two went to JAMES WHITE. Next up, Jedi Master PHIL DOLAN vs GABOR (Hungarian transplant…)
GABOR was seriously working whips and twists, but the smooth and solid balance and roll of DOLAN took round three. A TGM whitewash..?
LEE WILSON went up against STUART ROSE next, with their styles really complementing each other. LEE was putting down his usual laid-back flow and links against STUART’S front wheel combos… At tough call went to a rider’s vote, with LEE going through to the semis… Come on LEICESTER!
The other LEE (MUSSELWHITE) was drawn next against STU MAC. STU was chucking down some serious energy, going for whips and mad combos. Even though SSELS was feeling the effects of the night before, he whisked through to the next round. STU… next time, mate!
I think it was around this time that KEELAN asked me if I wanted to ride, and I said ‘YES!’ Me, with no tricks, and little flow, up against some of Europe and the UK’s finest. At least DOLAN had already gone through! LEE (WILSON) was all “YEAH! GO FOR IT!” and I thought “what the hell!” I knew I wouldn’t win, but it would be fun trying, and it’d give the crowd a laugh… A break from photo duty would be good anyway!I was relieved (and now, on reflection, a bit miffed) when KEELAN said I didn’t have to ride if I didn’t want too… We had an odd number of riders, so I would be an extra. In hindsight, I should have stuck with it. Next time, I’M IN!!!)
I was relieved (and now, on reflection, a bit miffed) when KEELAN said I didn’t have to ride if I didn’t want too… We had an odd number of riders, so I would be an extra. In hindsight, I should have stuck with it. Next time, I’M IN!!!)
MARCELO from Hungary was up against SALVADOR, with MARCELO feeling the effects of the previous night’s antics… (“I’m too hung-over – I can’t ride…) However, this didn’t stop him from taking a relatively convincing win – next time SALVADOR, next time.
GRIFF bought his unique style and bike set-up to the floor against ZION BIKES owner, MISLAV. It’s a good job he had his headphones in, as EFFRAIMFlatland’s MR BEAN…GRIFF the win, with MISLAV not quite on his usual form. (He has been on the road for a month… hope you got home safe, MISLAV!) announced him as Flow, tunes and control bought
Flat Matters Guru EFFRAIM CATLOW was up against CHARLO from Derby next, and I was feeling for CHARLO as he put down some nice moves, but we’re both still learning… Stick with it man, we’ll show ‘em! CATLOW moved through to the semis with butter-like links.
Last up in the qualifiers was TGM’S TREVOR and JAY… You could tell from the look on TREV’S face that he wasn’t gonna win, but he put up a good fight, and the boys were still friends at the end of it all.
With the qualifying over, we set up the first quarter-final with a three-way split… GRIFF, MARCELO and EFFRAIM took to the floor, with EFFRAIM going through. LEE WILSON drew KEELAN for his quarter. (“AWW GREAT! That’s typical!” He chuckled…) The old friends put on a great show, and I always root for the underdog (He is my mentor, after all!), but KEELAN just edged the win, even after a rider’s vote, and trick-off. LEE, your day will come, mate!
LEE MUSSELWHITE was up against PHIL DOLAN, in a big ol’ tussle next. This was an amazing round for me, as I look up to both riders for their style and individuality… a tight squeeze let the geezer from the smoke through, with SSELS left on video duty. So, the last pair was old versus new once more, with JAMES WHITE flowing around JAY from TGM. JEDI like flow and bike control took JAMES through, though JAY was riding at his peak… On to the semis!
First up, KEELAN vs EFFRAIM. FLAT MATTERS tried to triumph, but had to give props to the man PHILLIPS. KEELAN has really upped his game, and it shows… Old boys JAMES WHITE and PHIL DOLAN were up next, and through the smiles and laughter of two old friends having fun, WHITE went through. Mind you, DOLAN hardly drew breath before riding off against CATLOW for third.
GRAND FINALE… JAMES WHITE vs KEELAN PHILLIPS. A true BATTLE! This went right down to wire, with neither man giving an inch. TWO rider’s votes, a ride-off and some serious shouting gave the main man KEELAN PHILLIPS the win, and the title. Corks were popped, and cheers cheered. It was quite fitting that the main instigator of the whole shebang took the win, a great reward for a great event.
This has been truly the best bike event I’ve been too… All credit to KEELAN and LEE for getting the show on the road. Cheers to ALL the riders for getting there and making it all so damn special
Rematch next year? I should cocoa!