One day in June, me, my buddy Alain Ballering and Paul of Dynamo Events decided it was time to organise a flatland contest in Eindhoven, Holland, our fair city. Dynamo would provide the sound system, turntables and djs and I would organise the contest and put word out on the internet to get lots of flatland riders over to Eindhoven on the 17th of July. Alain helped out by contacting Pauls Boutique Bmx Shop in Aarle-Rixtel who gladly sponsored our little event by providing lots of cool prizes by companies like Eastpak and Snafu among others.
Paul always supports us in every way, big props to the Coach! Ninja Inc. (that's me) provided extra prizes in the form of FLATtv dvds, tees and caps. I even put together some cds with music from FLATtv 1-3 especially as prizes for this event and had a special trophy made.
Putting word out on the internet and using my many flatland contacts around Europe paid off as riders from Germany and the UK announced they were coming over for the contest. German riders Thorben Dunckler and his pal Sonke Meyer arrived in Helmond, my home town, on friday and Mario and his brother Malcom from London landed on Eindhoven Airport on fridaymorning. Stefan Dittrich (aka Ass) from Stuttgart would arrive on saturday.
We had a little evening jam on friday night with Thorben, Sonke and Mario so they could check out the spot where the contest would be held, they all liked it a lot: big & smooth. A little slanted but they didn't think it would hinder their riding.
The weather looked good when we woke up on saturdaymorning and it would turn out to be a superhot day with lots of sunshine! We got to the contest and we were delighted to see a lot of riders there and after we put up some banners of our sponsors, put up the tent, plugged in the sound system and picked up the djs we were ready to rumble.
The Contest; Prelims
We decided to compete by dividing the contestants in groups of five of which two would go to the next round. 24 riders entered the contest which meant that the last group would hold four riders. Thorben hurt his foot in practise so couldn't compete, and Stefan showed up just in time to enter in the last group. Riders gave it their best shot and after the dust settled ten riders remained and we would go to the head-to-head battles.
Eindhovens own Pimp Daddy Laurent had to go up against Gerben and although Lau did some cool stuff like fire hydrants to side squeak, squeaker moonwalks and tailwhip to squeakers he couldn't quite finish it all off nicely enough to beat Gerben who pulled some combos with funky chickens and squeakers.
FLATtv rider the Walt had to go up against Mario Carelse from London. Mario laid down some solid links with boomerangs, elbow glides, decades, catapults and spinning steamrollers, the Walt rolled along switching from hitchers to wheelchairs to cliffhangers but couldn't beat Mario who went to the next round.
Alain vs. Joey was next. Talking about different styles! Joey is a roller, with a style similair to the Walts; hitchhikers, cliffhangers... Alain is a pinky squeak fanatic and he was stepping, swinging and dancing around his bike but the judges decided in favour of Joey.
The new Dutch flatland talent Dez Maarsen from Haarlem was up next in a battle against Stefan Dittrich from Germany. Considering the fact that Stefan is a PRO rider and Dez normally rides in the Expert Category (he got 5th place at the 2004 Worlds!) and has only been riding for 18 months made it quite hard for Dez to ride in this bout but he gave it his best: nice frontwheel combos with fire hydrant pinkies, wheelchairs, halfpackers and very smooth switches. Stefan did what he was supposed to do and won the duel to go to the next round.
Bram "the Candyman" Verhallen was up against his rival James Alberto. When I say rival, I mean to say that in Holland they are the two top riders and putting them head-to-head would prove to be interesting to watch. James didn't ride for more than a week because he is busy with his work (he is an elementary school teacher) and moving from his flat into a newly bought house and with his wife and daughter but showed us that he is always a force to reckon with: smooth brakeless riding from this style cat from Tilburg with halfpacker combos, steamroller g-turn combos, brakeless barflips, kaboose and time-machines. Bram was not impressed and pumped out his usual high-energy tricks to win and go to the next round.
At this point we decided to split the remaining contenders in two categories because the difference of the level of riding between certain contenders was too high. The B category was made up of four good riders while the A category was made up of four even better riders.
In B category Gerben, Joey, Mario and Geert (who showed up too late, as usual, but got a wildcard to go straight to the Finals) had to fight it out. After riding for 8 minutes in jam-style the judges decided that fourth place went to Gerben, third place for Mario, second place for Geert and first place for the rider from Uden: Joey!
In A category James and Dez had to cross bikes for third and fourth place. James couldn't nail his combos and Dez desperately wanted to go home with some prizes so pulled some long combos with nice tricks and switches. Third place for Dez! The finals was between German Pro Stefan Dittrich and Dutch Destroyer Bram Verhallen. Stefan missed some of his tricks and Bram went all-out but in the end Stefan won with cool combos including nice barflips, cool halfpacker switches, pedaling time-machines, spinning hithchikers and subtle jumpswitches.
So the winner of the Samurai Showdown is Stefan Dittrich from Germany! The SS trophy, a statue of a Samurai Warrior is going to Stuttgart!
I want to thank all the riders for coming!!! I hope more riders will come next year for the Samurai Showdown 2 to make it even bigger and better! I also want to thank Paul from Dynamo Events for all the work he has done for us providing sound and djs, Lageja Backstage for providing financial support for this event, Pauls Boutique for the prizes and support he gives us, Alain for helping organise and all the enthousiasm, FATBMX for putting up this report and Bart for always showing up and supporting us and all the people who bought and support FLATtv because it allows me to put money, time and energy in a project like this. See ya all next year!
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