FATBMX is at the Download festival in Donington, England. Today was the "local" version of the BMX and skate competition. Basically, the UK version had riders that rode to make it to the event on Sunday with all the big wigs. Only the winner went through and that was Chris Mahoney. He'll have to stay for the weekend but knowing Chris he doesn't have a problem hanging out with 100.000 hardrockers and the better skateboarders and BMX-ers. Bikes, Beers and Bitches is another way to describe the situation here. Black shirts galore and all out for a good time. Mike Mullen won the high air contest that was held after the comp was over. The dude still has it and he went pretty high. It was wild guessing how high exactly he went but the judges declared him the winner. Tool played on stage while Vans man Steve van Doren was flipping burgers for the BMX-ers and skateboarders. At the same time the pro practice session was going on. Jimmy Walker was looking really good. It's hard to tell what his regular way is and what his opposite side is.
My friend Alex Jumelin is a famous pro flatland rider. Well known for his amazing flatland skills, his passion for the art and an unstoppable urge for progression. But also as a friendly guy, devoted family man, smart businessman and contest organizer. For several years he has been organizing his also famous Ninja Spin and 2006 is no exception. So off we go to Acheres, near Paris for this years edition. Taking place in the same venue as last year. And make no mistake, the Ninja Spin Contest is seen as one of the most prestigious flatland-only contests in the world.
The Toer Dur Laarbeek was a fun day of riding for the locals. Laarbeek hosts 4 mini ramps and all four were part of the little tour on Sunday May 28th. When the local council shows you their support by putting mini ramps in town, you can do three things:
1) Whine about it that the ramps suck and should have been better.
2) Accept what you get.
3) Show your appreciation on what you have and put on a jam to support the local scene.
More rain welcomed us on Sunday morning meaning the A4 trails, the Malieveld and Scheveningen bowl were out of the question. We decided to head back north in the direction of Amsterdam. The XL series hosted one of their rounds at the Insaen park so maybe that was an option. On our way there, we got the news that the park had closed so plans were changed to Amsterdam's latest park: Everland. It's actually a skatepark but with Carhartt and Eastpak being sponsors of the park we thought we might get to ride it anyway. On the way to the park we encountered something hi-tech and new. Instead of a road map, the information center had a touch screen to find the street or address you were looking for. We only had Everland's street address so we typed in the first three letters. Wow, the computer screen showed where to go, step by step.
Being on the road on a BMX tour, you get to check out new stuff. It's foreign terrain and adjusting to it takes time depending on your skills. When we arrived at the snakerun in Almere we weren't allowed much time to get used to the old school concrete park. Dark clouds had been following us since the start and after 45 minutes it was the end of the session. The park was actually quite fun and had multiple lines that never got to see any action. Bummer but hey, we got to ride a new spot and know how to find it next time.
Breakfast at the hotel was until 10:30am so at 10:25 we all met downstairs for some food. The plan was to ride the new concrete park at Het Malieveld and the Scheveningen pool after that. While we were in the The Hague area we also checked out the A4 trials and found out that they were wet. When we arrived at the new spot at Het Malieveld, it started pouring. Damn. With no other dry spots around, the trip continued to the North. The skatemaps that the TM's had printed out showed this concrete spot under a bridge that looked pretty amazing. When we arrived in Zaandam it wasn't a disappointment.
For no particular reason I ended up in the Cools brother's white van. You can consider this their house when they're on the road. It's super roomy, has some sort of stereo and plenty of room for bikes. I've met Sig and Hannu before but never got to know them very well. This changed on the Eastpak/Carhartt trip. Their hospitality is endless and they even picked up a couple of hitchhikers from France on our way North to Holland for the next stop.
FATBMX met up with the Eastpak/Carhartt tour in St. Niklaas, Belgium. The crew had done two stops that day, one in Kortrijk (outdoor concrete park) and the park in Sint-Niklaas. The barbeque that was planned for the night turned into an indoor grill party at the Cools brother's place in Reet (I'm not kidding, that's the name of the town they live in. It means ass in Dutch). The crew consisted of Markus Braumann, Ben Manuel, Benny Paulsen, Bruno Hoffman, Hannu and Sig Cools, Stefan Lantschner and TM's Andy Zeiss (Eastpak), Mike Emde (Carhartt), Kay Clauberg (FreedomBMX) and myself. The plan was to ride spots in both Belgium and The Netherlands for the weekend and make the best out of it. With rain showers forecasted, there was a plan A (outdoor spots) and a plan B (indoor spots). With all the good riders present and all the spots that were shredded, we're going to give you a couple of little reports this week on the riding spots we stopped at. Instead of one article with 10 photos, we'll give you a bunch more.
Tom Stober made the trip to Sao Paulo, Brazil for the PRO RAD BMX vert contest. The ABBMX had turned the floor of the Ibirapuera Gymnasium into a giant vert ramp. With a R$10.000 Reais Prize purse on the line it wasn't only Tom who did giant flairs on the vert ramp.
Thanks to Charaba for putting on the contest and taking the time to send in the results and some cool photos. Vert riding in Brazil, enjoy the photos.
The opening of the Venus trails saw about 30-40 people show up. Mostly MTB-ers, sad but true, but also a couple of photographers and filmers showed up. Tim Bucholz took the photos you see with this little report so thanks to him. As planned we got together at the Aldi parking lot and rode over to the dirt jumps together. We had laid out a red carpet which was pretty effective. Jan Stoertzer held a short speech followed by a raffle where the two winners both got a T-shirt and some scissors. With these scissors they cut the ribbons that were placed across the dirt jumps. After that, the session was on.
Quite a few had problems clearing the big jumps as there was no possibility to warm up on smaller sets. One of the BMX-ers broke his arm and had to be taken to the hospital. After the early difficulties were over, it turned into a nice session.