Vert at the Bike Show is always a good event. England has a wide range of halfpipe legends and the Europeans are happy to make the move to the Bike Show contest to ride with them. The 18 meter wide RedBull ramp was put in one of the main halls (the cow sheds were too low) so they were in luck. No dust, good light, a warm hall and plenty of spectators.
The event had a couple of cash jams during the weekend, where the riders could earn some pocket money when they pulled off a good trick. The main contest took place on Saturday. With 16 riders on the ramp it was another stacked field.
Mark Theaker was the first victim of the ramp. Riding vert is rough and only destined for real men who can take a slam or two.
No wonder it scares off the new breed of BMX-ers. This is no video game. Mark crashed and messed up his ankle and later returned with crutches and a cast. Get well soon Mark.
Darrell Twells and Toby Gresswell are relatively new vert riders out of the UK and they're doing well. Airs with variations at the 4-5 foot mark and a little twist left and right. Good to see them tear it up.
Achim Kujawski's alley-oop airs, x-ups and turndowns are awesome to watch. Not all his tailwhips worked out and Achim had to leave the ramp early otherwise he would have made it in the top 10 no problem.
Ronnie Surridge, what can you say of this rock star? The sweetest inverts for all the chicks in the crowd on his silver Macneil with blinging Profile hubs. Can I get a "wooo-woo" for Ronnie please?
Paul Jones is a true Bike Show regular. He has turned it up a notch and pumps his 100 kilo body to respectable heights and even throws in sweet 540-s and did you see his flairs? Damn right. Still pushing it.
Shaun Egglington has the airs and the flairs. The goofy footed vert rider is the first rider in the top ten. With a new lady on his side he's pumping hard.
On place number 9 we see Stefan Geisler. Struggling with a bad ankle and some back problems every now and then the OBG is not his old self yet. This doesn't mean he didn't throw down with cancan-lookbacks, supermans, x-ups, no-handers, toothpick to barspin, tailwhips and decade airs. It's just a few feet lower than we're used from the OBG. Don't you worry, he'll be back.
Jon Taylor likes to ride a good vert session with the mates. The Hoffman Bikes rider was going incredibly high in Coventry on his blue ride with bright white front wheel. Let Jon explain the coolness of that and I'm sure you get to hear a cool story. Style is all.
From Germany we have Tim Eichert. Tim has been going higher and higher. Has his own style (like it or not) and a whole bunch of variations. Just when you think he's slowing down, he throws in a one0handed 540 followed by a regular 540 and a flair or two. Tim, just like most of these vert riders, doesn't have many guys to ride vert with, or the possibility to learn tricks in the foam or on the resi. Therefore he has to wait till the end of his run to throw down a "big one". This used to be a backflip, 540, flair, tailwhip, but now he has set his mind on the 900. It sure is a way to end your run, good or bad. Unfortunately for Tim, it was a ride to the UK hospital after knocking himself out cold on another attempt. 7th place though........
In 6th, Mike Mullen. Mike was easily skying with the best of them. He has been for years and it just doesn't grow old seeing someone blast huge air. Mike has his classic variations that he throws in there together with some lip tricks and some lower 540-s. Mike is one to walk away from every comp and does not scare me when he rides. It's back to work on Monday, you know...
Ronnie Remo has been hanging out with his buddy Dave Mirra in Greenville. It rubbed off on his as his riding is progressing. With some tips from the Mirracle Man his tailwhips and 540-s are done at height and Ronnie nailed a couple of awesome flairs over the weekend. 5th place in this field is damn good.
Free Agent's Tom Haugen is another solid rider. He whips it more than some photographers like it. Tom is the master of the alley oop: no-handed suicides, x-ups, tailwhips, all at the 6-7 foot range. His spins his bars and turns his bars multiple times in one air and has a bunch of liptricks to make his riding complete. 4th for the only American in the field.
Oh boy, up next, Eduardo Terreros. The Spanish Fly is causing multiple heart attacks in the crowd every time he rides. It's either super smooth or sketchy as hell. His drive to ride is so high that he keeps on going. More often than not this has resulted in broken bones and rides to foreign hospitals. The Spaniard walked away this time and I was happy with that. It was a close call though because he got off the ramp because his rear wheel was wobbly and he was not done. Hey, he could still walk so the contest wasn't over, right? I was stoked he took his helmet off and I'm sure his girlfriend was happy too. Fly did huge flairs, huge airs, all very stylish, opposite airs, one-handed inverts, no-handers, x-ups and topside no-footed cancans. A podium for our friend from Bilbao.
This leaves two riders on the deck. Simon Tabron (Mongoose) and Jamie Bestwick (GT). Both have won gold medals at those big contests Stateside. Now, on home territory, it was on! Home crowd, sponsors present, media ready to capture everything, what was it going to be?
It was a great jam session. Neither of the riders slowed down. Simon did flairs, table-540-s, tailwhips, opposite airs with variations, and a sweet 900. His variation airs were at the 9-10 feet range and the crowd was loving it. But what did Jamie have to offer?
Bestwick is so solid that he basically tells his bike what to do. His variations were a few feet higher than Simon's and Jamie used the ramp in a V-shape most of the time. Do a "set-up" air in one corner, carve the whole opposite side with a flair or huge alley-oop and then air the other corner of the super wide ramp, which at times didn't even look wide enough. Fastplant flair? Sure. Opposite flair? Sure. But there was this one trick that I have not seen Jamie pull; the 900. Simon has done plenty of those and has shown he can do them well. When Jamie set in the spin it was just waiting if he was going to land on both wheels. Guess..... Sure he did! I'm not saying Jamie was miles better than Simon and I don't really know if the goal was to show who was the best. For sure it pushed one another to step it up and everyone was a winner. Once again it was an amazing vert contest.
Results Pro Vert BIKE SHOW Coventry, England
1 Jamie Bestwick
2 Simon Tabron
3 Edwardo Terreros
4 Tom Haugen
5 Ronnie Remo
6 Mike Mullen
7 Tim Eichert
8 Jon Taylor
9 Stefan Geisler
10 Shaun Egglington
11 Paul Jones
12 Ronnie Surridge
13 Achim Kujawski
14 Toby Gresswell
15 Darrell Twells
16 Mark Theaker