After months of hard work repairing winter damage and the ever growing grass and weeds at the trails it was time for the first session of the year at the Helm Trails in Helmond, Netherlands. And not just a session. Team France, lead by Patrick Guimez, were in town for the C1 comp in Eindhoven and had a session in the morning at the park but they were not done yet for the day. A 20 minute drive East and they had arrived at the Helm trails. With some help from the entire French squad the tarps were removed and the jumps were watered and swept to get them in perfect shape for the maiden session of 2022. Some sections were rebuilt and were tested at the same time but it appeared to be no problem for the French to get through. Istvan Caillet actually completed the 'middle line' first try but he was the only one to do that. It took others a bit longer but personal goals were reached like at all new spots that you visit. The youngsters did well and did not stop.
Quintin Morien started pulling tricks left and right as did Istvan and Thibaut Panaville. Also legendary team coach Patrick Guimez himself showed that at age 44 you can still ride trails and throw some tricks in there also. It is great to see that the freestyle squad is in the hands of someone who has been there and done that. Patrick passes on his experience and has educated the French riders on trails etiquette as well. You case, you repair the damage. You help watering the jumps. You help cover the jumps after the session. You get beer as a thank you to the locals for the session. ;-) even though some of it was radler and 0.0% stuff. It didn't really matter, it's the guesture that counts.
I'm pretty sure there are BMX trails out there that have been around since 1989 and are still running. I'm not sure if there are trails that have seen 2 jams a year annually. We can blame Covid for not having a jam at the Sugar Hills Trails in Aarle-Rixtel but the pandemic has next to disappeared in The Netherlands making it possible for all to get together and have a good time. We've missed this, a lot. With the Mini FATJAM happening at the beginning of the year and the FATJAM somewhere at the end of August each year, the weather risk is certainly present. We had snow on Friday(!) but the trails certainly could you the moisture as the two weeks prior had been sunny and dry making it hard to shape the jumps the right way.
Come Saturday morning the trails were in excellent condition with no dust and no mud in sight. The temperature would not get above 6 (that's Celsius!) so you either had to ride to stay warm, or simply drink a lot. Riding was done constantly for 5 hours by riders lining up on the starting hill who could choose either line to get back in line for another run. The far left took the dare devils to the Killer Jump and the far right line had the biggest sets. In between another 4 lines were ready for action. It is awesome to see the Team NL riders line up with the youngsters, street riders and old schoolers. There was no pressure for anyone so everyone did what they wanted to do. Making it through (new) lines might be the challenge for some while doing tricks through the sets is the challenge for others. But the Mini FATJAM is more than that.
The Grand Daddy of Deah, Clint Reynolds, visits the Halahan fam at 9 Acres in this bonus episode featuring "Found Footage" from this past fall. Filmed around the same time as our upcoming Trails Vid "Dirt Rules!" which drops right here on March 16 at 7PM EST.
Oh, it was cold. Very. Cold. Oh, and rain. A steady 35-degrees is not usually conducive for a BMX event, but the show must go on... The Monster Energy BMX Triple Challenge event in Arlington, Texas, happened, but not quite at the normal level. No qualifying, no semi-finals, no three runs...straight to Final and just two runs to lay something—anything—down.
Last laps of the year at 9A! Nate and Lukas figure out an over/under that they've been eyeing up for awhile and Shane invents a new type of bmx called "Treet Riding" - very inspirational stuff. Enjoy and keep an eye out for 9 Acres Season 2 coming soon.