Barry Kohne and Dwayne Verkade are organizing a 3 series BMX street competition over in Holland. Round one took place on Saturday 12 March at the Promise park over in the South of Holland. With the park located 10 minutes from the German and 10 minutes from the Belgian border, it saw some strong interest of these two countries. In fact, after the 8 groups of 3 pro riders finished the jam session format qualifying, 7 Germans and 1 Belgian had to ride once more in the XL Series finals.
If you're not aware of the Promise park, it has something for everyone. It has spines, ledges, sub boxes, jump box, wallride, rails and a pyramid with plenty of transfer possibilities. Barry had another crazy fufanu beam installed for this contest but in the end it wasn't even touched.
Unfortunately the Landgraaf EHBO had to do some work. Markus Fischer had to roll off to the EHBO section, Christian Kohler messed up his knee and Barry Kohne, one of the organizers, was sent off to hospital and returned with crutches and an ankle in plaster. A get-well to everyone from the FATBMX crew.
The guys who stayed on in the finals were: In 12th; Jurgen Funk (FELT). Jurgen had hurt his ribs earlier in the week and was toughing it out during his riding. Then he also hit his knee on the stem when the chain snapped. The Aachen local wasn't looking forward to ride the finals but did anyway. 6 crashes later he finished on place 12 and needs some time to heal up. Markus Wilke (KinkBMX) showed up when the contest was already running. With zero warm up time he was added to the last group in qualifying. He started off his run with a flip on the box(!) and managed to make the cut. After some extra riding, Markus ended on place 11 for the night. Big Boy Sports employee Andreas Kittel made the one hour drive over from Cologne. The 2-Hip rider did great superman seat grabs, wallrides to table, 360-s and a bunch more for a top 10 spot. The 3 year old 2-Hip frame is holding up great for Andreas. Tim Wiegman has a rather unique riding style. The FlyBikes/DC rider did hang-5 grinds on a ledge, rollbacks to 180-s over the pyramid hip and more 180-barspin stuff. Good for 9th in Heerlen. Christian Kohler (La Finca) had hard spine tricks and a nice turndown 360-s for 8th. Christian couldn't finish his riding with a "last trick" when he slipped a pedal on a quarterpipe air. He might have done even better if he would have had the opportunity to go "Helemaal los" one more time. Ralf Schiefer had barspins to grinds for the Promise crowd for 7th and also tailwhip bunny hops off the pyramid. In 6th we saw Bjorn Heijer (FELT). Bjorn has a good sense of humor and pre-started the contest with a goon run. I like Bjorn's style. He's everywhere, does everything and doesn't want to stop riding. Now we're getting to the guys who rode really well. In 5th it was Mark Koenig (Macneil). Mark seems to have problems pulling stuff in the finals on when pressure is on. His tricks are super tech so the risk factor of messing up tricks is high. Koenig learnt how to do flips a few weeks ago at St. Niklaas after a 4 hour session in the foampit and was happy to display one on the jump box during one of his runs. It still looked pretty different (shady) but he came around and rode away. Mark is one of those front brake riders which adds a lot of tricks to his bag. Seat stand nosepick transfers over the spine, toothpick tailwhips on a sub-box, all pulled. Well deserved 5th for Mark. In 4th we saw Markus Braumann (FELT) who could also have made top three. Wallrides to tailwhip, Wallride-360, No-handers, 3-whip tire taps over the spine, clean 720-s in all his runs, you name it. But top three was tough. Finishing in third was Sergei Geijer (Federal). I had never seen Sergei ride and was well impressed. Clean, tech, solid, variety are some words that describe his style. I hope to see him ride more often because it all looked good. The only non-German in the Pro final was Hannu Cools from Belgium. The Wethepeople rider has so much energy that he keeps on riding. After a couple of solid runs Hannu wanted to pull a crazy curved wallride to manual on top to dropping back into the quarterpipe. I don't know what he eats or drinks but he tried it again and again and again. With a few DMC cheating cranks and a few touches he made it, but never all the way clean. Hannu rides to the left and to the right and did use the complete course and ended up in 2nd. First place was for Paddy Gross. The Macneil/Vans/Snafu/Carhartt/Eastpak rider (he's the W-champ, you know) rode so clean it's not even funny. When riders make it look easy you know they've got it dialed. Paddy is a rider like that. You don't realize how hard his shit is until you see it back in slow-motion. Pictures don't do it justice, try to track down a video from round 1 and enjoy.
Results Pro street XL series round 1:
1 Paddy Gross
2 Hannu Cools
3 Sergei Geijer
4 Markus Brauman
5 Mark Konig
6 Bjorn Heijer
7 Ralf Schiefer
8 Christian Kohler
9 Tim Wiegman
10 Andreas Kittel
11 Markus Wilke
12 Jurgen Funk
Title sponsor: Soulcycle
Sponsors of the event: Braun, Orchid, Prospect, Soul, Simple Bike Company
Next round: 16 April, Insaen, Zaandam, The Netherlands