The Festival International des Sports Extremes (FISE) in the South of France has been going strong for 8 years. The FISE usually started off the outdoor season for everyone who is living up north, as the event took place over Easter weekend. However, after a long cold winter, people packed their cars and drove down to the beach of Palavas hoping for some sunshine. The sun was not always around, so the organisers decided to move the event from April to July. We made the 12 hour trek down South with Achim Kujawski, Andy Zeiss, Paul and I. We were the BMX judging team for the weekend and hoped Paul's unreliable Volvo would take us there.
Needless to say, it was hot down there for FISE a couple of weeks back, but it did rain a bit and by Jove there was a lot of wind. The wind actually hindered the BMX vert contest heaps, but you could hardly tell by the riding of Simon Tabron, Peter Geys and Stefan Geisler who finished 1 - 2 - 3 in that order. Tabron did 540 variations, airs both ways, a flair and no-handers to barspins in sketchy circumstances for the biggest cheque.
Saturday night saw dirt pro qualification. With Mike Aitken, Ryan Nyquist, BiBi, Markus Hampl and Dropsy present, the class had some heavy hitters. 19 guys conquered the first 2 huge jumps, then did a 90 degree turn to the left to hit the last few sets. To clear the first set you had to pedal your ass off, that's how big it was. Whips, flips, and 360's were stuck, plus combinations of the three. With the riders just messing about looking for a spot in the final the results turned out like this: Nyquist, Hampl, Aitken, BiBi, Dropsy, Julien Grenouillet, Nicolas Bertier and Patrick Guimez rounded off the top 8. With too much wind on Sunday these results actually turned out to be the final results of the FISE KOD.
A few â€˜Steak Americans’ later and it was time for the flatland comp. Flatland in France is big and they are definitely pushing it to the next level. Loads of foreign riders made it to Montpellier to battle on the asphalt in front of a sold out crowd. The big screen was situated right next to the flatland area so it was possible to follow the contest from anywhere. Quality.
Next to Europe, Japan has delivered some amazing flatland specialists as of late. First place in 2004 went to Ryoji "Yanmar" Yamamoto doing it for Dragonfly. Yanmar has been on a European winning streak as he won the Braun FlatGround comp in Holland, the Circle of Balance in Germany and the FISE in France. Too bad he didn’t the chance to score a big check at the X-games this summer. It was also good to see Alexis Desolneux getting second place. The rider from Paris has a very unique style and he needs all the room in the world to show them. The area at the FISE comp finally gave Alexis the opportunity to show his original rolling tricks and he was stoked with his 2nd place. 3rd went to Michael Sommer who too has been riding well lately showing new combo's at every new event.
The street contest was off the hook. The Odyssey team riders were in town for a tour, which added some serious flavour to the pro street class. Nyquist has been winning loads in the USA and was ready for more. Canadian Max Vincent flew in for the second year in a row to compete with the best European pro riders. Making it to the final was hard as everyone had one run each to qualify.
Come final time the format was switched to a jam-style contest with 4 groups of three riders taking turns for 7 minutes. The crowd was loving it as the riding delivered non-stop good stuff. The biggest bag of tricks was brought by Nyquist. The windy conditions didn't seem to affect him one bit as he rode around and did flairs, flips, 360-s, rocket wallrides and footplants all over the course. It was boom-boom-boom, trick after trick after trick. Imagine your buddy who is amazing at playing BMX video games, but then live. Ryan crashed hard on an insane flair but got up smiling, incredible how he gets away with that kind of stuff.
Canada grabbed second. It was Federal rider Max Vincent who made an impossible transfer from wall to quarterpipe possible and grind to 270. He had something to offer on every ramp and got 2nd. Odyssey's Scott Foster started off his European tour well by taking 3rd. Scott has been killing it in the US lately and brought his tech style to Montpellier. First European rider was Senad Grosic who is as tech as it gets but also hucks the big tricks. 4th for Senad and 5th for Pascal Guerard from France who started off very well with over ice picks and back on a subrail and barspin 360- tiretap to barspins on a subrail. Too hard to explain but you better believe it was good.
The FISE contest drew less competitors due to the fact that summertime is crazy with events going on all over Europe, but the grand stands were still full at all times so expect more of the same at FISE 9 sometime in 2005.
1 - Ryan Nyquist
2 - Max Vincent
3 - Scott Foster
1 - Simon Tabron
2 - Peter Geys
3 - Stefan Geisler
1 - Ryan Nyquist
2 - Markus Hampl
3 - Mike Aitken
1 - Ryoji Yamamoto
2 - Alexis Desolneux
3 - Mickael Sommer
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