Newcircle - Flat Against Cancer by Paul Chamberlain

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In March, flatland sadly lost one of it’s sons, but come July, his memory will be brought to life and that life will be remembered and celebrated.

His name was Manu. He was a passionate, dedicated and all-round-awesome member of the 799 Crew – a tight group of riders and friends from the Black Forest in Germany. When Manu lost his ongoing battle with cancer it was a sad time for all that new him. I’m sure they asked “Why him? Why somebody who cherished and enjoyed life?”. Having lost Tim Hales and having felt the sadness of seeing him painted in the bowl on that Thursday I was very sad too. I don’t really know why, I didn’t know Manu, but he seemed like a rare kind of good person who lived life to the fullest. Just like Tim did. I felt the world was a sadder place but at the same time I was very touched to find out about the Friends will be friends [flat against cancer] movement (check the site for more info about the cause).

I got in contact with one of the 799 guys (Markus Dannecker) and in true British style asked him whether he could speak English hahaha! A few questions and emails later and it’s become this lexical treat:

1) Firstly, can you please tell us who you are Markus – and all of the usual stuff. Thanks!
Hi there, my name is Markus and I come from Freudenstadt, a small town in the southern part of Germany, the beautiful black forest.

2) Manu was clearly very passionate about flatland. Can you tell us a little bit more about him? About his life and where you guys are from and what it is like to live in the Black Forest? In the group what personality was he? Stuff like that.

I got to know Manu about 10 years ago and he soon became one of my closest friends. Together we founded the 799 Crew – a bunch of good friends riding, rhyming, partying and designing clothes together. When I think about Manu the first thing that comes to my mind is riding flatland because that was what he definitely did in EVERY little second that he could spend away from work. No matter if it was sunny or it rained and was cold Manu always found a spot to ride until sundown and longer. Even during his weakening cancer therapy he did never stop flatlanding, because this was what gave him so much strength back. He didn’t just live his life flatlanding, flatlanding was his life… his BMX, the girls:), snowboarding and his friends was what Manu lived for. His passion for life was incredible until the very end. He always shared a smile with everyone and even in his hard times he kept his head up and didn’t complain about anything.

3) Where did the idea of having a contest come from?

The idea of organizing such an event already came up a few days after Manu passed away. I think it became on one hand, a form of assimilation for us to be able to cope with the whole situation. On the other hand, we knew by heart that we had to set up something special for our friend, something that would’ve made him smile and that he would never forget.

4) How did you get everything organised? Was it hard to find such a good place?
When we first thought about organizing such an event it was clear that the whole thing would definitely have to take part at one of Manu’s favourite local spots. As the ice- rink stadium in Baiersbronn used to be the place where he spent almost every night after work the decision wasn’t too hard. The spot really is a wonderland for BMX- flatland and it is a fuckin’ pity that it now closed its doors for public use some time ago.

5) Do you work alone or do people help you?

The whole crew consists of about 15 people, all close friends of Manu.

6) What do you hope to achieve from this event?

The first thing that we want to achieve from this event is people with happy faces, happy faces like Manus when he could ride his bike:). To show how much strength the passion and devotion for special thing can give a person. We wanna set up a gathering of friends united by the love of one thing, that is BMX- Flatland. On the other hand we surely do try to raise a little money for all people who do have to suffer from cancer like Manu, hoping that this suffering will have an end one day and cancer will be curable.


7) What are your plans for the future of this event? In five years what do you hope it will be like? We do not have real future plans so far, we’ll see if you guys out there like what we do and if so my wish would be to set up an annual global gathering of people united by the love of one thing that is BMX- flatland and friendship. We’re not at all about to make any money we just wanna have a hella lot of fun and remind the world of how good it feels to have the possibilty to do what you love the most and all this together with people you like the most, your friends.

Check out the site and the Facebook page. The event is growing in momentum. There’s not much chance that Australian’s will be making it this year but I’ve made it a goal to attend in the future to pay my respects and have a good time riding with like-minded people.

Paul Chamberlain

Newcircle | Online BMX Store – Flatland Parts Specific + News & Media from Australia!

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