We left for NASS on Thursday morning. On board were MC Andy Zeiss, Philip de Jong and uncle Paul, a great road trip crew. For people not in the know, NASS Festival takes place in the middle of nowhere in a field in the South-West of England. People camp out, use the showers on the premises and eat whatever food is available at the festival. With 5 days ahead of us we had packed three coolers, some tents, chairs, some snacks, food, and whatever else we thought we would need. In other words, we came prepared. On arrival it took a bit of smooth talking to get the Vito next to the Glamping Tipi tents that were already set up. Andy, Paul and Seb Heijna shared one of those. Philip and I both threw a 2 second tent in the air, rolled out the self inflating Decathlon mat and threw the sleeping bag on top. We had no electricity so powerbanks, gas tanks and batteries took care of our needs such as light, and coffee. But first we had some adult drinks to kill while they were still icey cold. Folding chairs were put up, a strong table was placed in the middle and a phone played our favourite songs. We were camping out to the fullest.
Every single day we woke up in a sauna. England enjoyed a heat-wave which meant at 8am the sun was already up and tried to get everyone out of their tents. It worked better than an alarm clock. The camping area was just a short distance away from the NASS Festival where the Dirt, Vert, Street and Park events were held next to all the concerts that were planned. Nearly 20.000 people were around, looking for a good time. Those who came for BMX could enjoy the music. Those who came for the music, could enjoy a bit of BMX.
Up next on the program was Vert. It was good to see how many people had signed up for it. In the Open class as well as in the Invitational group. Park riders that gave it a shot. A girl that gave it a very reasonable go airing both ways showing that Vert is not dead, there are just not a lot of Vert comps happening these days. With Nass, Benny Kopp’s Bielefeld jam and the X-Games, this year the U-Pipe riders don’t have a lot of choice.
But when they get together, the action is good. The Final on Sunday also brought a decent crowd to the big ramp that is normally based at Southsea Skatepark. A vert contest actually fits well over at a British comp. It takes some balls to send it above coping and Ash Finlay as well as Kaine Mitchell sent their flairs to the moon. Oakley Way got a good flow going on the ramp and finished 7th. Jon Kearns has such a good flow going both directions where you don’t even know what his regular side or getting air is. Add a few feet to his aerials and he’s up there with the best of them. A pleasure to watch indeed.
Paul Meacher, Alex Landeros, Zach Newman and Vince Byron were the true vert dawgs at Nass this year with Paul going the highest of them all. Alex Landeros brought no-handed flairs for the Brits to enjoy and wall all over the ramp as was crowd favourite Zach Newman with his original riding style. Australian Vince Byron had to dig into his bag of tricks to get the top spot and the combination of height, riding both ways and his tricks got him first place after almost missing out on qualifying.
With Dirt, Vert, Street and Park on the program at Nass, Sunday was the day to see the best riding. All NASS Invitational finals were held in Somerset and it all started off with DIRT at 11am. Pretty early for some, but it actually wasn’t the worst time of the day as the temperatures were only on the up afterwards. 12 riders made finals with Seth Murray just missing out which indicates the level as Mr. Murray is killing it. Qualification had two runs with the best run counting. The Dirt section consisted of a roll-in to double, double, to small step-up platform to quaterpipe to turn around followed by a small drop, little roller to small step-up as the last jump. The reason why the dirt jumps weren’t huge is that it gets windy at Shepton Mallet so even with a bit of wind, the riding could still happen. Qualification was done in n-time because the England – Sweden game was on an hour after Dirt qualification started. Needless to say, the qualifying job got done and people moved to the big screen on the main stage soon after.
Sunday’s final brought the riders back to the dirt jumps for 3 runs of which 2 would count towards a final score. Unfortunately Joe Baddely over rotated a double flip on the first set which ended his riding at NASS. A speedy recovery is wished from this side. Also Del Shepherd and Joe Ferguson did not have the best of luck but the Brits are hard as nails and always get back up. Lots of riders were doing double or even triple duty at Nass. Kaine Mitchell, and Kieran Reilly took part in pretty much everything including the Silverline ghetto ramp challenge. The top 3 also had a busy program ahead of