What an epic weekend over at the Wheels and Finns Festival in Joss Bay, Kent. After two days at the event, most of the hard work was done. We woke up to blue skies, and with the festival being so close to the beach, meant only one thing. Chilled breakfast on the beach, before the day really got started!
As with every contest, last minute checks on judges, judging sheets, who’s going to run the clock, improving the communication with the DJ as Saturday we had a bit of a problem getting the DJ to turn down the music as he was quite far away at the other end of the tent.
Lee Musselwhite was the first rider to show up, turns out he stayed with Paul Chamberlain’s parents who live literally just down the road from the event thus Lee was on deck before we even arrived. Sunday mornings are usually slow and so it proved here, with not many riders showing till at least 11:30 with Alex Jumelin being the only acceptation. Alex just made the event with 15 minutes to spare!
Whilst riders were taking their warm up, and getting used to the slope on the floor. I headed back down to the beach, I don’t often like to watch practise before judging, and whilst it was so nice outside, the scenery was to good to refuse.
1pm soon rolled round, and contest time was here. 11 riders in attendance for the Pro contest which is not too shabby at all. Simple format, two runs of two and a half minutes, best run counts. Myself, Matti, and Johann Chan took care of the judging, the crowds started to grow as the practise sessions got more intense, it was time to roll!
Matti invited Yinka Thomas to have a go in the Pro Class to get some experience with the big boys and Yinka opened the contest, nailing no handed spinning lawns a’la Adam Kun, Hitchiker juggler steam whip round boomerang out, and his signature spinning lawn holding the stem, good job Yinka!
The TGM crew were at the Wheels and Finns Festival almost in full force, with the main guy responsible for helping save the mile, Jason Forde representing. Contests seem to be Jason’s worst nightmare, Jay still managed to hit a nice bar grab two footed one handed meat spin turbine bar spin to peg time machine step up pedal time machine and take home an eighth place finish, respect!
Andy Hale made the trip over to Joss Bay from Bristol, and ended up in 7th place. Andy had a tough time on his 540 pivot xft ice cream flip two footed dump truck pivot xft ice cream line without touching the tyre but did hit the same version with some scuffing set up time in a two footed dump truck. Hopefully Andy starts making it to more events.
Stoked this weekend to see TGM local, Steve Green have a good day on the contest floor, Steve nailed whoppers, mega spin to foot jam decades, and his signature messiah turbine whip out to take the 6th place. BOOM!
I always expect James White to be there or thereabouts when it comes to finishing in the podium spots, it wasn’t to be this weekend. James did hit his nice signature multiple xft ice cream flip to gliding dump, and multiple one handed hitch jugglers to downside hitch juggler. The man will will be back, I am sure!
After much gnashing of teeth, we couldn’t separate Phil Dolan and Lee Musselwhite for third. Both riders had better second runs, both bringing their originality and difficult moves to the table. Phil nailed a really nice opposite whiplash to carved xft pedal 5 turbine, double backwards whiplash to xft pedal 5, backwards nose, and an amazing brakes pinky line.
Whilst Lee focused on his Phenix combos, and hit three different variations on that them, Phoenix to xft out, Phoenix whip to left side halfpacker, and the banger of the day Phoenix boomerang to right side halfpacker. It was also a rarity to see Lee scuffing into his two footed rolling backyard, just coming off at the end. I don;t have photos of Lee or Alex as they weren’t riding whilst I was around aside from the contest obviously.
Alex Jumelin made the trip over from Paris just about, arriving 15 minutes before the contest with his kids. And Alex tore the place down, signature 360 nose wheelie, nose jump to xft inside steam whip pedals boomerang flail pedals and out, and his signature spinning cherry picker scuff move, plus a lot more. Alex crams in more tricks had anyone, and took home a nice cheque for the days work before he heads back to Edmonton, Canada for the Fise contest. That’s one busy guy!
The top spot went to contest machine, Dominik Nekolny who made the trip from Prague early Sunday morning, hired a car and drove down from Luton airport to the event. We see Dom’s riding a lot, but to see it again and the way he dealt with the floor with his level of difficulty was inspiring to see. As I said on the mic, the crowd and riders were lucky to see that for free! Dom took home a well deserved win!
We headed to the beach again after the contest to wind down from a busy weekend and have a well earnt beer. Phil and Sharlene kindly gave me a lift back to London Waterloo but not before a stop off beachside in Margate having fish and chips watching the sun go down. An amazing end to a great weekend at the Wheels and Finns Festival, lets hope we can make this event happen next year. Improve the floor, and the size of the floor, and this event won’t want to be missed. Ideal location, great vibe, thanks to everyone who attended, Matti Hemmings, all the judges who helped make it happen. See you in Birmingham in two weeks for the UK Champs!