Yes, February again, time for rain, hail, cold winds and another edition of the now famous Circle Cow International Flatground Contest in Servon, a small village near Paris.
Alex Jumelin invited us to stay with him and so that Friday, after a four hour drive, we arrived at his doorstep, in the middle of Paris where he and his girlfriend and of course his son Nathan lived. Frank Lukas and Andy Zeiss (works for Chico and Red Bull) from Germany arrived later that evening and also stayed with Alex.
Next day, Saturday, we went to the contest in Servon. We got into our car and Alex came driving by in his blue BMW, "Follow me!" he says, and after that he drives his car through the Paris traffic like a madman ("Paris Style Driving" he calls it) while we try to keep up with him, all the while breaking numerous traffic rules and hoping we don't hit any of the pedestrians who are jumping out of our way. Anyway, after a 45 minute racing session we arrive at the contest site where we met lots of people we haven't seen for a couple months, lots of international competitors, a German crew with Matti Rose and Ali from Berlin, Phil Dolan was in the house, a Czech crew with Mirek Hanzl and his posse and another big crew from Holland.
The contest was great again, just like last year with many good riders getting busy and the atmosphere was very relaxed. I was impressed with some of the riders who rode in Beginner Class last year and who moved up to Expert this year and who learned a lot of new stuff. Master Class was big and showed very high level. Riders like Gregory Gonzales and Florent Guyennon from France represented their country with passion, Mirek Ziedler from the Czech Republic showed us some oldschool stuff, Bram Verhallen from Holland ripped the floor with original hard moves and everybody seemed to be having fun. In Pro the British flatlanders Phil Dolan and Sam Foakes did their thing and German riders Matti Rose and Frank Lukas blew up the spot.
French big boys Armin Batoumeni and Christophe Dassie were there and of course the Stereo Panda Posse: Alex Jumelin, Raphael Chiquet, Jimmy Petitet and Cedric Borghy rocked the house! Alex and Raphael showed a lot of insane new stuff and I was really impressed with their progress. Alex had a couple of new front wheel tricks that are absolutely stunning!
Bram Verhallen placed first in the Master Class prelims with great stuff like hitchhiker kickflips to karl cruiser barflip out, crossfooted hitchhiker kickflips, hard backpacker combos and his signature spinning one-handed pedal steamroller with one foot on the peg and one on the bars.
But in the finals French Boy Wonder Florent Guyennon had a better run with solid combos and took the win. First place for him! Congratulations.
In pro Alex pulled some of his new crazy links but he is not really a contest rider in the sense of dialing a combo so much that he can easily pull it at contests. He is a rider who constantly searches for progression, new tricks and links and so he always goes for broke. All or nothing for this friendly French frontwheel fanatic! Third place!
Phil Dolan had a shitty prelims run but made it to the finals anyway and showed us that he was and still is a Pro rider belonging in the top ten of any international contest! He pulled a very good run with all his tricks like the pedaling rope-a-roni and his pedaling nose-wheelie. Second place for Phil and his Dolemite!
And just like last year it was the German hovercraft dressed in black who took the Pro win! Yes, Matti Rose did it again. With an almost-flawless finals run he floated across the floor blasting out superfluid tricks and links like his 360 hitchhikers, both regular footed and cross-footed, halfpackercombos and superfast hang-5 and g-turn mccircle combos to name but a few. I got to spend some time with him this weekend and he turned out to be a very cool guy too. Congratulations, Matti!
Special thanks again to Alex and his girlfriend and of course little Nathan for letting us stay with them this weekend! Paris rules! Au revoir!