Text+Photo: Joe Miller.
Ok, so Myself and four of my local team riders headed out to Springboro, Ohio for the Am Flatland finals that were being held in conjunction with the DK Dirt Circuit Finals. The riding area was flat and very grippy. Hopefully everyone thought so.
After the only two hour trip from home, we arrived at the DK warehouse, where Mark Kuhlmann and Joe Cicman were already getting used to the surface. The day was filled with a "hurry-up, and wait" type of theme, as the rain would stop just long enough to start the competition, then the sky would open up and wet the entire area again. Most everyone didn't let this bother them at all, and rode when opportunity presented itself.
It was because of the rain issue that Pat decided to run Master flat on Saturday. This was in an effort to ensure that Pralex and others in the class whom needed to get home early would be able to do so. Good call Pat, and way to look out for the guys who support the circuit! So it would be Intermediate and Master for day one!
In the Intermediate class things got shook-up right away, Lea Dobrowski took Third with all of her usual switch-handed fork-whellie madness, as well as some squeaker to wheel-walk links that she stomped with authority! Good Job Lea! In second was none other than Shaun Lapsley, if the name sounds familiar, it's because Shaun is in fact Steve's younger brother. After only five months riding Shaun put down enough consistency to net him the number Two spot! Can't wait to see more of this guy in the future. In the First place spot was Troy Merkle, who's style and flow could not be denied! Great job to all of the competitors, I get the feeling that flat is alive and growing in these riders, and it is GREAT to see!
In the Master class many heavy hitters were in attendence, and the level of riding proved just that. In Third place was Tyler Gilliard. Tyler has been riding his arse off lately, and it showed! Pumping one-footed cliffhangers to spinning cliff, as well as more bangers than anyone in the class! Good job Buddy, and congrats on being Master Champion for the year! In second place was Lachlan Cameron, Lachlan put down one of the best runs of the day, spinning and switching with an unparralelled control. In first place was Canada's own Percy Marshall. Percy is progressing at a speed that leaves this Old Man speachless! Blenders at a speed astronauts couldn't comprehend, as well as some of the most original swithches of the day! Whoopsie!
After the Masters, it was time to eat and settle in for the next days events. So it was off to Applebees for some grub and back to the hotel for some rest. I went to sleep hoping for better weather on Sunday.
Expert Flat was Killer! In third place was Todd Carter, many of you may remember Todd from the AFA days. Well, Todd can still Kill it, and did just that on his way to Third place! Happy Un-Retirement Homie! Second place went to Andrew Wickham, Andrew pulled most everything he attempted with style and flow! In first place was Indiana native Joel Schallhorn, this kid has a style all his own, and the consistencey to match! I urge everyone who thinks that there are no new tricks to be done, to watch Joel ride. Quite refreshing!
On to the Pro's. While there were only six pro's in attendence, the level of riding could not have been higher! In Third Place was my longtime friend and travel buddy Andy Cooper, Coop was on FIRE for most of the day, and just would not be denied a spot on the podium. Great Job Homie! In Second place was Matt Wilhelm. Everyone knows that Matt is one of the best riders in the world, but after this contest I also think of him as one of the Best people I know. After Matt picked up his prize check, he immediately donated the entire amount to Mike Vincent and his recovery fund! Too cool! First place in Pro Flat went to Dane Beardsley. Dane's " Smooth as Glass" style and consistencey were just too much for anyone to compete with on this day. Congrats to Dane, and everyone else who made this event sooo fun! See you all next time, L8r, Joe