After a BMX absence for two years, the bikes were back at the Freestyle.ch event in Zurich, Switzerland. A bunch of vert riders made it over to the Landiwiese a.o. CJ Kraft, Dick Slater, Achima Colada, Jason Barnham, Johnny Walker, Mike Scamcuso, OBD, JMB, Matt Fairburn and the Spanish Fly. Friday saw the high air competition. It's a great way to start the session when everyone is getting used to the ramp. Loads of flat bottom landings were made on the Vertical ramp which was a bit over-vert on the side where the height pole was. The pole was 4 meters high and Jason Barnham from Chicago aired the highest in front of a big Freestyle.ch party crowd. Jimmy Walker's inverts were super high too but with the lowest part of the bike counting, his bars took off two feet of his actual aerial. After all was said and done, it was back in the big shuttle bus towards the Ibis/Novotel. Friday night saw some crazy party happening at the local bars close to the hotel which ended in the Big Ben Bar.
Freestyle.ch is an event that has other sports too. It was hard to figure out who those kids were that looked like inliners. You see, inline is not a discipline at the event and still there were kids causing chaos at the hotel that looked like wiggers. Snowboarders? No, FMX-ers? No, skateboarders? No. For sure it wasn’t the BMX crew so what was left? Free skiers!! Haha, we finally figured it out that there is a new crew just as bad as the inliners. With the top guys in every sport present, it made for some good action during the day. It was qualifiers on Saturday for all disciplines with the crossover event taking place later that night. At 10:30am we left the hotel to get to the Landiwiese. We didn’t leave the place until 23:30pm that night. That was a full day of â€œaction sportsâ€? on Saturday. Achim Kujawski had crashed hard during the high air contest and spent the night in the hospital with a concussion. Jason Barnham was out too as he crashed hard and had a sore left side on his body (including the head, ribs and leg). Stefan Geisler’s back hurt too much for him to properly ride the Vertical ramp. Zach Shaw had not shown up because he felt ill so the crew of 10 was reduced to 6. Local Jean Marie Baertsch (JMB) was added to the crew at the last minute. With 8 riders qualifying for the finals it meant that everyone who dropped in in qualifying, automatically made the final. The order of the qualifiers was like this: 7th JMB, 6th Edu, 5th: Matt Fairbairn, 4th: Mike Mancuso, 3rd: Koji Kraft, 2nd: Jimmy Walker and first Simon Tabron. Saturday evening had the crossover challenge. It was BMX against the other sports. Crazy party for the crowd, who were the judges for the evening. In a country where skiing and snowboarding are very popular and where they have a very good FMX rider in the freestyle motocross class (event winner Matt Rebaut), we could not expect much on the BMX side. Koji saved our face with a double tailwhip to x-up that actually had him win his round against all other sports. CJ Kraft almost won the whole crossover thing but the announcer made sure that snowboarding was beating BMX in front of live TV. Oh well, whatever. The shuttle bus took us to the â€œCrazy Party at the discothequeâ€? first but nobody got out right away so a move to the hotel was up next. Some people went out with the free-skiers but I decided to hit the sack. The final on Sunday had a cut throat system with the first place qualifier meeting number 8, 2nd place meeting number 7, 3rd place qualifier rode against the rider who finished 6th and the 4th and 5th guy riding against each other. With only 7 guys riding the final, first place qualifier Simon Tabron had a free run. Jimmy Walker beat JMB in a one to one fight. Eduardo and Koji had a very close battle. Edu did a 540, flair, tailwhip and all his variations at height. Koji’s riding was exciting and if you look back at what exactly he did in his run against Edu, you would probably agree on the score too. Koji’s riding is unpredictable but full of back to back tricks. It was close though. Spanish fly out, CJ Kraft to the next round. Mike Mancuso rode really well. He figured out some good lines on the ramp with canyon and flaired the hell out of the ramp. Matt Fairbairn had his next trip to Australia on his mind but still went for tailwhips, 540-s, no-footed cancans and his bus to bus to X-up variation. Mancuso moved on to the next round. Simon and Koji beat Mancuso and Walker in the next round, Jimmy and Mike battled for third place and with one-handed turndowns, no-handers to turndowns, 540-s, flairs and opposite variations, 3rd place went to Chicago (Jimmy) and fourth to Greenville (Mike). The battle for first between Koji and Simon was up next. Once again Koji dropped in and you just don’t know what he’s going to do. He busted out all kind of tricks like barspins to one-handed catches, barspins to switch-handed catch, double whips, 540-s the other direction, inverts with stretched one-handers, lookbacks, opposite airs, one-hand/one-footers, downside toothpick grinds and more. Simon’s answer came with 540 variations (no-handers and turndowns), a flair, tailwhip, huge inverts, no-handers, opposite variations, canyon airs and the dog-piss air for first place. There was no need to do a 900 in his final run as Koji had kept it short, but Simon did pull one the day before which was actually the first one since the crazy crash at the Dew Tour where he broke a few ribs and collapsed a lung. Got that one out of the way then. Simon received a Freestyle.champ army jacket which is in the Dick Slater category for his efforts. After the award ceremony it was back to the hotel in the party bus and a dinner with a few drinks to wrap up the weekend. It was good to be back at the Landiwiese. The weather was beautiful all weekend which made the 11th edition of the Freestyle.ch a successful one. BdJ.Freestyle.ch Results: 1. Tabron Simon UK 2. Kraft Koji USA 3. Walker Jimmy USA