Flatland at the Worlds 2005 in Prague, Czech Republic.
This year the Worlds were being held in the beautifull city of Prague
in the Czech Republic on the 1st-5th of June. Flatlanders around Europe were very enthousiastic about going to this year's Worlds because Prague is a cool city combining many cultural highlights with a solid club scene and a relaxed atmosphere. Plus you get to see the best riders in the world go crazy on their bikes! Perfect!The floor
The flatland area was outside, no cover, so the sun hit the riders (and other people like the public and filmers like me) hard causing serious sunburn, profound sweating and severe thirst. The floor was made of wooden boards, some shifted a bit and it wasn't exactly level everywhere. A lot of riders complained about it, luckily the organisation recognized this problem so they ordered new wooden boards and the floor was to be taken out and a new one was to be put in. But then rain started on Saturday morning, so the whole flatland competition was moved to the street area which was covered and thus stayed dry.
On thursday we arrived at the venue and found the flatland area. The wooden floor was already packed with riders doing their thing in the blazing sunshine. Expert qualifications were today so lots of expert riders from all over the world were practising their tricks, getting ready for their moment of truth. When I mean riders from all over the world, I do actually mean riders from all over the world, riders like Paul Chamberlain from the UK, Ido Rosen from Israel, Alain Ballering from Holland, Max Andreev from Russia, Tom Marsh from Scotland, Csaba Bozso from Hungary, Rui Cataloa from France, Mislav Streicher from Croatia, Graeme Burke from the USA, Lorenzo Duranti from Italy and many many more. 53 to be exact. Of course lots of riders from the Czech Republic representing their country! The level of riding was actually very high and there were a lot of good tricks and combo's to be seen.
After the dust settled 12 riders continued to the finals which were held on Saturday. Rain forced the organisers to move the contest into the street area so we continued there. Most riders didn't mind the change because here the floor was asphalt instead of uneven wooden boards, so an improvement indeed!In the end Oenes Katona took first place with nice flowing combo's, Michal Dufek took second and Csaba Bozso third. Congratulations, guys!
Many of my good friends had to compete in Master Class, people like Milan Haspeklo from the Czech Republic, backwheel wizard Benjamin Grossjohan from Germany, Viking Team rider Yannick Chauvel from France, Olli Mueller from Switzerland and the small guy with the big smile, Alehandro Alexandridis from Greece. Together with the other riders in this class they tried their best for a place in the finals. Again 12 riders entered the finals with great riding, everybody giving their best and in the end the World Champion title in Master Class was taken home to Japan.
All the big pro riders were there so it was going to be one hell of a contest. A big posse from Japan with super riders like Hiro, Akira, Yanmar, Seiji and some other riders like Shinichiro and Uchi. Who? Uchi! Yohei Uchino! A kid on a wine-red bike causing havoc on the flatland floor! His superfast turbine halfpackers and crackpackers send dust flying all over the place. I saw Shinichiro on video about 3 years ago, he was here too with very cool pinky and whiplash combo's. Of course Euro Big Guns like Martti Kuoppa, Viki Gomez, Kimmo Hakaana, Michael Sommer and Effraim Caitlow were present. Lots of German pros: Frank, Seppl, Sven, Wolfgang, Dan & Chris, Flo, Daniel Fuhrmann and Mike S. (where was Matti Rose???) And of course my Stereo Panda friends Alex and Raphael (Jimmy was around too, but he didn't ride), Matt Wilhelm from the US and of course Jesse Puente. In total 47 pros entered the competition so there was enough to see. With so many amazing riders, qualifying is a victory in itself, lots of very good riders didn't make the cut. Origninal UK warrior Lee Musslewhite for example, he tried to do a big combo in which he could do all his signature tricks but wasn't able to pull it. Wastl from Austria, Bram Verhallen from Holland, Alexis from France, Adam Kun from Hungary, Dan Hennnig from Germany and many other riders did not ride good enough to make it to the finals. Matt Wilhelm, the King of Spin from Chicago qualified first with a great run!
In the finals Frank Lukas did his best to nail his crazy spinning tricks, but mister Lowcash couldn't nail it down to get into the top 3. Place 8 for him. Wolfgang rode really bad, normally he rides very consistent, and in practise everything looked good but in the finals he lost his cool. 9th place for him. Martti rode even worse, he didn't pull anything. 10th place for the KGB head honcho. Uchi must have had one drink too many at the party on saturday night because it looked like he just couldn't hold on to his bike which is a bad thing when you're spinning at 100 miles/hour! 11th place for him. Talking about too many drinks.... Jesse didn't even show up for the finals! Chi-Town Rolla Matt Wilhelm could not reproduce his killer run he pulled in the qualifiers, so 7th place for him. Hiro rode supergood and took 6th place, very subtle, technical switches and a very powerful style! The Gypsy from Malaga and Backwheel Mastermind Nathan Penonzek whipped, rolled, scuffed and switched himself onto 5th place. Parisian Ninja Alex Jumelin pulled some nasty combos out of his pink hat to take 4th place! And here he is again, [url=http://sports.freecaster.com/playmovie.php?req=384_1_418_0_0_aaaaa]Yanmar[/url] from Japan with a run that is so full of high-tech switches and tricks it's ming-boggling! A pity that he couldn't finish his links without touches. 3rd place for him. I've seen [url=http://sports.freecaster.com/playmovie.php?req=383_1_417_0_0_aaaaa]Viki[/url] ride better than this, now mind me, the things he does are spectacular but he couldn't keep it all together and he had to be content with 2nd place. It's [url=http://sports.freecaster.com/playmovie.php?req=382_1_416_0_0_aaaaa]Michael Sommer [/url]who beat them all! Yes, Michael just gave it his best shot and finally it's there: the title of World Champion 2005 goes to Vienna, Austria, to Michael Sommer! Congratulations, Michi!
Well, that wraps it all up I guess. Thanks to GSMA, the organisers, and especially to my good friend Marlene for helping me out and taking such good care of me! Thanks to all the sponsors for making it happen. I have to say that this was the best Worlds I've been to but that has a lot to do with the beautifull city of Prague, their good people, the Duplex club, the metro system, cheap food and the cheap drinks! Untill we meet again I say: ride on! Peace!
Story by: Renato
Photocredit for all images: @AlexSchelbert.de/zooom.at