With over $38G prize money for BMX alone, some of the top vert riders still opted to go to the first round of the Dew tour. Most of them were pulled in by their sponsors but some of them tried to qualify for the rest of the tour. I doubt they had as much fun as everyone had at the Snickers Bowl comp in Donington.
The contest is held at the Download festival that attracts 120.000 hardrockers over the weekend. That, in itself, is a show. Had everyone with a black T-shirt left, they would probably have a crowd of 200 left over.
The wooden Soul Bowl with the kink was set up and basically put in the
ground. Bleachers were put up on two sides of the bowl with the VIP tent on one side and a stage where bands played on the 4th side. It was a pretty crazy set up with a big tent covering the entire bowl.
There were basically four contests going on over the weekend. One was the Annual Manual, which was the longest pulled manual around the bowl. Second comp was the high air, third the best trick and last but not least the actual bowl contest. Anyone on the sheet had a chance to win any of the contests. It was a really close field of riders which made it great for everyone.
The annual manual was won by Ruben Alcantara who made it around two corners and then some.
It was fun to see riders actually practicing their manuals during the several training sessions. The organization had an actual rolling meter wheel so it was a fair affair and not just a wild guess. Ruben's manual was worth $1250 bucks.
The high air contest was double checked by Steve Swope taking pics on his 20D to measure the exact lowest point of the bike.
With 5 judges lined up on the opposite side of the height poles (that measured Paul Roberts at 6 feet and 5 inches) it was Bas Keep who ran with the fattest check ($2.250,=).
The best trick contest got everyone back on the ramp.
Might as well go for a trick you had in mind right here. Matt Fairbairn pulled a barspin 540 which was sick. 1st for him as that is one hard trick. Ronnie Remo had tried a flair on the elbow but had not pulled one yet. He did so in the best trick comp and put some of that budget in his pocket. Both Joe Rich and Garrett Byrnes were doing crazy pocket airs and Taj did a smooth alley-oop Luc-E grind before he smashed his head on the flat bottom and knocked himself a concussion and got two stitches to close the gash in his eyebrow. Not sure if everyone counted Shaun Eglington's turndown flair that happened after the buzzer. It was trick too.
It was hard to judge the bowl contest. Matt Fairbairn
was doing the tricks and used the rest of the bowl for the sake of using it more than to keep the bowl flow going. Joe Rich
was doing just that but missed the high air variations (540-s/whips/double barspins to x-ups) that Matt was doing. It was a treat seeing Joe Rich ride the bowl. He even got up early on Sunday to get the early BMX practice in. He was loving it. His pocket airs, carves around the corner and nosewheelies to tables off the extension were dope. Zach Shaw
was doing it for the pamper money.
Zach pulled a few flairs, 540-s (he's got them back) and did airs out of the pockets. Bas Keep
was doing airs both ways and sailed higher than anyone. His no-handers are stretched. Put Ruben
on a ramp and you will see a complete different style. The Spaniard did tire slides, skids, carved the corners hard and used the whole bowl in a way only Ruben can. Jon Taylor
was looking good too. His X-ups over the hip were more than a few feet out and his airs were super high. In 7th we have Rick Thorne
who pulled out all stops to make sure everyone knew he was present, dawg. Rick has got some experience and he used that to finish 7th. 540-s, tailwhip footplants, handplant attempts, 540 tiretaps, toboggan airs, lookbacks, cancan x-ups, fastplants, we got to see the whole nine yards in stars and stripes. Owain Clegg
did sweet icepick to barspins without brakes on his FIT machine. Ronnie Remo
did flairs, whips and cancan x-ups for 9th. Achim
alley ooped to 10th, Shaun
came in 11th, Taj in 12th, Inverted Surridge
in 13th and the contest didn't last long for Tim Eichert
who knocked himself out during the comp.
Mat Hoffman did shows during the weekend.
Mat had undergone knee surgery but had an infection and was off his bike for a few months. The Snickers Bowl comp was his first demo in a while. His bags didn't show up so he had to borrow some clothes and ended up riding in a Paul's Boutique sweater all the time. Paul says thanks for the promo. Slowly but surely Mat got the variations back and that includes a one-handed Peacock (missed the peg with his other hand) and a very sweet Indian air.
While carving the ramp his knee was constantly giving in so it was a miracle he was pulling the tricks he did (no-handed 5s, tailwhips, no-handers, supermans and high inverts). Seeing him ride is always good, let's hope we can enjoy it for the coming years.
Thanks to the HSA crew and Snickers/IMG for putting on the fun event. See you next year.
Results Snickers bowl contest
1) Matt Fairbairn
2) Joe Rich
3) Zach Shaw
4) Bas Keep
5) Rueben Alcantara
6) Jon Taylor
7) Rick Thorne
8) Owain Clegg
9) Ronnie Remo
10) Achim Kujawski
11) Shaun Eglington
12) Taj Mihelich
13) Ronnie Surridge
14) Tim Eichert
Annual Manual contest
1) Rueben Alcantara
2) Taj Mihelich
3) Jon Taylor
4) Joe Rich
High Air comp
1) Bas Keep
2) Zach Shaw
3) Joe Rich
4) Ronnie Remo
5) Jon Taylor
6) Shaun Eglington
7) Taj Mihelich
8) Matt Fairbairn
9) Achim Kujwaski
10) Ronnie Surridge
11) Garret Byrnes
Matt Fairbairn: 540 barspin
BMX Bowl Comp prize purse: