It’s about that time where we start building up to a massive weekend on the contest calendar. The World Championships returns to the UK at the Nass Festival in Shepton Mallet, it seems as good a time as any to re-up my repo from last year. Who’s going to take the title this year? See you there!
Photography: Effraim and Ged McConville.
Like everyone when the iBMXff World Championships were announced a few months back, I thought “Where the hell is Flatland?”, there were various trains of thoughts from most of the flatland community, but it seemed summed up with “it’s not the worlds without flatland”, emails went back and forth. If I am being honest, I didn’t think Flatland would be included with budgets and all….
Takahiro Ikeda, Xft no handed straddle time machine on his way to a huge second place.
Around two weeks after the announcement, I am a little fuzzy on the time exactly, but let’s go with two weeks (i’m sure someone will correct me), the NASS crew (Richie, Chris Job, Zach Shaw, Shaun Scarfe) sent myself and James White an email, to the effect of Flatland is in! You have been vocal, so you guys can help organise it and you can promote it via FM Effraim. These guys pulled a lot of strings behind the scenes to make it happen, and I can’t thank them enough for the opportunity. It’s huge for flatland to be back in the World Championships along with park, dirt and vert. Now it felt like the Worlds again!
Between myself and Whiteski, our main concern was the floor. The philosophy was simple. Have a good floor, you have a good contest. Then news for the flatland contest got even better, 12K prize money, what the hell! Amazing!
The one thing out of our control now was the good ol’ English weather, scheduling of this years NASS festival worked out great with BMX Cologne running a week before.
Before we knew it after countless emails back and forth, the iBMXff World Championships were upon us. James went up on the Thursday to check the floor and reported the floor was great! The floor is the biggest concern, a big weight off our shoulders before the event began!
James White caught middle stubble duck gerator during Pro practise on Saturday.
A big part of contests is the journey, Dustyn Alt and Rene Finta made the trip from Germany before heading on a road trip to Barcelona. These guys do it right!
Big shout out to Shaun Scarfe to listening to what we wanted and making it happen, if nothing else I believe we set a new standard in the quality of wooden staged flatland floors. We received so much good feedback from absolutely everyone who attended, and the floor is ultimately the most important detail in my opinion.
If you haven’t been to NASS, the Festival takes place at the Bath and West Showground in the South West of England. It is located in quite a remote place to get to even by car, with narrow countryside roads approx 20 miles from Bristol, and the train station 4 miles away. The vibe of NASS is a bit like throwing a contest in the middle of a festival with kids drunk and on god knows what else for the first time, the average age of people attending seemed to be 15-17 this year. Crowds wander event to event, throughout the weekend, with great music acts on in the evening time, Jurrasic 5 were amazing of Saturday night for example!
Hungarian flatland Lajos Sinko, sessioning with James White, Phil Dolan, Johann Chan.
Friday – AM Qualifying.
On Friday we ran the AM contest, somewhat delayed from the original schedule as a lot of the riders competing were stuck in traffic. As with any outside contest, we ran the qualifying telling the riders to act like this is the final as the forecast didn’t look too good for the finals scheduled on friday, unfortunately not too many riders showed up for AM, but respect to everyone that made the effort! It’s not the easiest place to get to as I already mentioned.
DJ Buddha Finger aka Stuart Rose dropped the beats all weekend, and did a great job dealing with all the riders own personal requests and hook ups.
For AM qualifying we did two runs, best run counts! Rolling into ninth place, Rene Finta made the trop from Germany with Dustyn Alt, and when he wash’t trying to smuggle beers into the contest he was pulling off nice rollback double whiplashes across the smooth 10 x 10 floor!
In 8th place, the only UK AM rider to show up, Johann Chan made the trip from his new home in Romford and hit his signature opposite side backwards spinning lawn to regular side lawn bar flip out.
Michal Pietruszewski from Poland now lives in Liverpool, hit a nice nose manual g-turn front scuff out, but had a tough time with his usual half cab now elides to place any higher.
Hungarian flatland legend, Lajos Sinko flowed across the floor with a nice forward rope/ice cream/gerator/candyman line clean as you like, and hit his dump truck fudge packer back to bar spin dump, 6th place.
Inigo Gutierrez lived in London during the spring and made the move back home to Bilbao, Spain. Stoked Inigo made the trip back to the Uk and hit his foot jam decades, backwards hang 5 to foot jam decade, dump trucks and even steamrollered off the edge of the “Radlands” flatland area to end his run, great stuff from Inigo.
The man with the tallest seat post I have ever seen, Paul Igwe made the trip over from canada, hitting both the worlds and BMX Cologne on his vacation over the pond. Paul hit the sweetest half hiker kick flip in his run, I lost my voice on the mic! So so rad!
Paul Igwe, aka Tall Paul made the trip over to Europe for the BMX Cologne event, and the Worlds at NASS. Captured here mid circle k during practise on the Friday.
Now in some kind of bizarre conicidence the top 3 all rode with no warm up, Jorrit Van Drumpt from Amsterdam bought his originality top the AM class hitting his forwards and backwards peg wheelie half whopper to half lash, and multiple gerator body varials with very little scuffing time, awesome!
Also from Amsterdam, Gino Stuart killed the floor on his first visit, nailing his smooth hang 5 turbines back and forth on the tyre between each turbine, and his carved whiplash hang 5 into long flowing front wheel line, boomerang out was a real treat! This guy is such a character, supports all the riders, we need more Gino’s on the flatland scene for real!
Keegan Alves made the trip to the UK all the way from Trinidad, and stood out from the pack. Smooth brakeless styles, nailing whiplash to spinning hitch steam to hang 5 spinning cliff out, pumping cliff jump to steam, and inside xft steam pivot to spinning cliff! Amazing talent, and he took the top spot going into Sunday’s finals.
After AM, we opened up the area for all the Pros to warm up, and during the evening more and more pros arrived, it felt like I checked the weather forecast a million times, it was due to rain over night but be dry and cloudy on Saturday.
Friday night was a messy night, with drunk people everywhere, parties, and loud music through the night. NASS as all about the camping vibes, and thanks to Chris Job we had a dialled camping set up. Good times hanging out, and battling flatland trivia with Lincoln Blacksley over a few beers. I went back to the flatland area around 11 to cover the floor in the event of some overnight rain.
Dominik Nekolny dropped one of the best runs I have ever seen in qualifying, it wasn’t meant to be in the finals. 360 xft hitch varial.
Saturday – Pro Qualifying.
We awoke to cloudy skies and windy conditions on Saturday morning, but at least dry, once we pulled the rain covers off the area the Pros began to arrive and get warmed up. During the course of the weekend, we had to share the area with a BBoy group which got stressful at times with the weather conditions. We wanted to crack on and get the event done and they had their shows to do, it all added a lil’ tension to the weekend in the end.
Pro qualifying started around 4pm, 28 riders deep (We had more riders in registration, but more than a few for whatever reason didnt make it), as the forecast wasn’t great for Sunday. Three minute runs were scheduled, and a’la the AM class the riders were told to treat this as your final run. You just never know.
As a lil’ treat, we let the top three qualifiers from the Am class on Friday ride in Pro qualifying for some experience, and Jorrit Van Drumpt, Gino Stuart, and Keegan Alves warmed up the Pro class, great job guys!
The wind for sure played it’s part in proceedings, and some riders had worse conditions than others. Sadly for the UK, we didn’t manage to get one rider from homesoil into the top 12 finals. With Lee Musselwhite,James White, Matti Hemmings and Dino Jeffers from Ireland all missing out.
The story of qualifying was all about Dominik Nekolny’s run, I hope someone video’ed it, as it was without question one of the best runs I have seen. This run was so good the wind seemed to be kind to him, totally flawless with his signature amazing xft hitch pivot backwards backpacker pivot xft hitch juggle into a long combo, there were various points in the run where I thought he was off the bike, and he saved and continued with no fuss at all. The man is a beast! If you were there, you know what I am talking about, this is the kind of run where you feel privileged to have been there. And it certainly formed the discussion of Saturday night for many of us, did anyone catch this run on film? Please contact me if so!
Dez Maarsen all tweaked out during Sunday’s Pro Flat finals with the rain looming in the background.
The finalists once we dropped the high and low scores were:
Jean William Prevost
Pakphum Poosa Art aka Toon
Saturday night was all about J5, absolutely smashed it on the main stage. Compared to Friday night, for our crew Saturday night was a reserved affair, one of the highlights was definitely bumping into Gerry Galley whilst trying to get in the V.I.P area for free drinks, what a legend Gerry is!
We all heard the rain on top of the tent that night, would the gods be on our side Sunday?
Sunday – AM and Pro Finals.
The clouds could not have been darker when we woke up, worth mentioning here that catering during the event was so dialled everyday! Morning breakfast and banter with the crew before we headed down to the contest to remove the cover and dry any remaining leftovers from Saturday nights downpour. The riders were pretty good with etiquette of using the area and taking turns at this contest it must be said, I imagined a lot of snaking going down, but that didn’t happen at all from what I saw.
AM Finals were first up, once all the riders were at the spot we gave 30 or so minutes warm up and got under way with AM Finals.
AM was all about Keegan Alves, who went up a level throwing down half cab whoppers, whip to spinning hitch steam whip to spinning cliff, xft inside steam pivot to spinning cliff, and cliff-hanger jump to steam. The AM World title went back to Trinidad, congratulations Keegan!
Keegan was followed by foot jam decade master, Inigo Gutierrez from Bilbao, Spain who also stomped his final run, starting smooth with a clean dump truck, backwards hang 5 to foot jam decade, and much more for a well deserved second place podium spot.
Billy Whitfield originally from the UK now living in Switzerland, made the trip over with Dan Hennig, and busted out smooth time machines, and spinning hitch juggle to steam to take the third place podium spot.
Just outside the podium spot were two Dutch shredders, Jorrit Van Drumpt and Gino Stuart who both ride together at the Lido spot in Amsterdam yet have two different riding styles, stoked to see these guys over in the UK busting out.
Rene Finta moved up a few places during the final, nailing his backwards whiplash combo for 6th place. Tall Paul, Paul Igwe didnt land his half hiker kick flip unfortunately but did out together some solid hang 5 turbines for 7th place at the Worlds. 8th place went to the only UK rider in the AM class, Johann Chan who pulled hang nothings smoothly across the floor to take the crown the number one AM flatland rider in the UK. Last but not least in 9th place, Lajos Sinko had some trouble with his chain right before finals, which threw off his normally smooth called back wheel lines.
Next up Pro finals, you could feel the tension as the guys started to get warmed up. After a quick heads from Whiteski, we decided to bring forward the scheduled Pro final due to predicted rain (which did hit about an hour after finals).
We decided to run structured practise during the warm up to the finals to try and give the riders a fair chance to focus a lil’ more. The fact we were sharing the floor with break dancers put a lil’ spanner in the works, but we pulled through and the heavens didnt open.
Signature Alex Jumelin move, the much copied xt inside steam without holding the seat.
The World Championships since I have been riding, has been the most important event of the year, that shift amongst riders may have changed over the years with the inclusion of the World Circuit and Flatark. But yet, still it is amazing to see how the riders deal with the pressure rolling into the finals, it still gives me goosebumps even if I’m not riding in the event.
Kicking off the finals, Former World Champion Raphael Chiquet decided to make the trip to the UK the day before along with homies Matthias Dandois and Alex Jumelin, and it was great to see him on UK soil for the first time in years. Signature back wheel multiple scuffless body varial & stubble ducks all over the back wheel in gerator and dump truck position, and even a sweet double hitch turbine thrown in moved him up to ninth place and all with a smile on his face.
Great to see Pakphum Poosa-Art, aka Toon on UK soil, fresh on his new 19.2 Jungle rider prototype (see post yesterday). Toon had a hard time in the wind, struggling with his two front yard 360 to steam exits. He did hit a nice x-ft steam ride into teakettle flip to steam step round opposite side to crack to regular steam fire turbine boomerang stomped out to back pegs. 11th place for Toon.
Harry Potter fan, Terry Adams spent the week in London before the event sight seeing with his wife and family, so stoked TA made the trip back to the UK for the first time in years. The wind seemed to be the most horrific during Terry’s final run, a few too many touches put Terry down in Tenth place but he did hang on to his Katrina with a track stand ride out. Few ride with the emotion of Terry, the crowd that was now full of pro park, dirt and vert riders and general public all loved him!
Dan Hennig had a solid qualifying run, but struggled to get it together for the finals. He did hit a nice 180 to half cab jump to xft steam line in his finals run. 12th place for one of the nicest dudes on the flatland scene.
Now I’ve mentioned the wind a lot during the article, and aside from Terry. It really did effect the number one qualifier Dominik Nekolny’s run so much, it was almost heart breaking to watch, can I ask again if anyone has his flawless qualifying run can you please contact me, the flatland world needs to see this run. Dom got eighth place, you can watch his run on the site to see what I am talking about.
7th place went to Jean William Prevost aka Dub, it took a few tricks for Dub to get into his rhythm but once he did. He threw together like only Dub can, super clean 360 varial to pumping inside switch b to degroot undertaker out, pedal junkyard turbines pedal pivot to pedal time machine back down to x ft peg wheelie when most would ride out x-over opposite side inside switch b rolling undertaker out, no one does it like Dub does. When he gets it together back to back it is going to be super hard to beat.
6th place went to one of the riders that has made big strides on his riding the last few years, Dez Maarsen has been on fire as of late. And in particularly off the back of his flawless performance in BMX Cologne. At the Worlds it wasn’t to be his day, but I feel like his day is coming, high difficulty, and starting to bring his own moves to the game, it is only a matter of time before something big happens for Dez.
5th place went to one of the most consistent riders on the contest circuit, Alex Jumelin. Alex was very stoked on the floor, and asked a bunch of times how we made it, off the back of his second place finish at BMX Cologne. Alex started strong with signature rear peg Plasticman coasted across the floor boomerang to xft inside steam pinky step kick back to inside xft steam half whip to rollback boomerang out, and nailed his signature 720 nose to take the fifth place spot back to Paris, France.
Fresh off his huge win at BMX Cologne the weekend before, Viki Gomez seemed a lil’ off his usual form, with a few misses, and uncharacteristic touches nevertheless what Viki did pull was good enough to get him in the top four. The opening flip to two footed backyard direct into xft pedal spinning gerator is so smooth, not to mention finishing with the stylish opposite backwards tweaked spinning ice cream out, one of his standout combos was his second line, long smooth whip to two footed steam pivot to xft halfpacker to spinning hitch steam fire turbine come out to opposite karl pivot on the same foot xft steam pivot right side halfpacker in circles pivot to spinning xft hitch xft steam and out. It’s telling for the standard of Viki Gomez’s riding, he can have an off day and still get fourth, how many can say that?
It was amazing to see Matt Wilhelm over here in the UK last week, and even more so given his story. Many of you will know that he broke his finger, and thought about cancelling the trip. After his 5th attempt at riding, he found a way to make it happen. The saying “every dog has his day” rings so true right here, and to see Matt throw down a flawless run and what it meant to him was one of the most genuine emotional runs I have seen in a long time! Well deserved third place podium, what you know about third place Matt?
2nd place went to the crowd favourite, no one can spin like Takahiro Ikeda?! But his riding is much more than that, the world record holder brings unique style and precision and originality for days. On this day when almost every riders struggled with the wind, it did not phase Ikeda at all. And the last line if you go to the video, is flat out incredible, he held the top tube straddling time machine for so long. That is not easy! Respect!
Four out of the five judges put Matthias Dandois first, it almost seems like the man can do his run in his sleep he is that dialled. Matthias managed to even due to the small size of the area use the outside of the area as set up for his opening half cab 5, you can all watch his run on the site as well as the other finalists. MD worked the wind to his advantage and battled hard to stay on at various points in his run. The man from Paris went home a happy man and $5.000 richer, and in a fitting finale, the last guy to win the Worlds in the Uk in 1988, Dennis McCoy presented the World flatland title to Matthias! Congratulations Matthias!
Aside from a small hick up at the end where the raw results rather than the system we used (drop the high and low scores) went out, the weekend was a flawless success (nothing we could do about the wind). And the organisers are psyched on flatland, and want it back next year!!
Over the past two weeks with BMX Cologne turning in five flawless runs, and the Worlds three, the standard of contest riding is going up.
Big respect to Richie, Zach Shaw, Chris Job for all his hard work behind the scenes, Shaun Scarfe for listening to myself and James and making the best staged floor yet, James White and the judges Mike S, Frank Lucas, Phil Dolan, yours truly, Lincoln Blacksley, and Armin Batoumeni and Christophe Dassie, Matthias Dandois, and Alex Jumelin who helped judge AM. Dennis McCoy, Mat Hoffman and the rest of iBMXff organisation thank you for having us at the Worlds!
Last but not least! Thanks to everyone who rode and supported the event, we should get the date locked in and confirmed asap for next year. It was great to have flatland involved with the rest of the BMX contest community under one roof (so to speak)… Let’s keep moving forward for 2017, stay tuned!!
Thanks for reading, hope you all enjoyed my repo on the event that really does matter!