Simple Session has always been a bit special for me personally. After doing a GT Air Show in Tartu, Estonia in 1999 where we inspired Risto and his buddies to start Simple Session, my first time back to the Baltic country was in 2004 for Simple Session number four. 15 years in a row I made it to Tallinn and the event keeps amazing me. It's the first big event of the 2018 calendar and brings people from all over to a country that we normally wouldn't visit, especially not in the wintertime. But that's also part of the beauty of the event. While in the Saku Suurhall, Vapiano or Hollywood, you don't sense it's freezing cold outside. The presence of BMX-ers and skateboarders in town makes Simple Session some sort of annual gathering where everyone catches up and prepares for the new season.
With 60 riders in Street and 44 in Park, this year's qualifying day was long. But when the good riding keeps coming there's no time to fall asleep. Bruno Hoffmann (Street) and Ryan Nyquist (Park) qualified in first. The top 12 in each discipline made it to the finals on Sunday. The actual course had one bigger street section with penty of rails that was used by most of the street riders. The surrounding transitions were used by park riders to go high, blast new tricks and to keep the speed up. In qualifying both park and street had a jam session in a group of 4 with each rider getting two 60 second runs on the course. Never a dull moment in each class with everyone pushing things to the limit for personal satisfaction or to impress the massive crowd in the Saku Suurhall.
The new year is here! 2017 was a good one with plenty of BMX involved. Once again we went to Tallinn for the Simple Session which we haven't missed since 2004. It's great to hear Josh Harrington is going to be riding in the next one, coming up the first weekend of February 2018. The Mini FATJAM took place in Aarle-Rixtel and the Beckers Cup at OJA was a good time. The UEC racing started in April in Zolder which was only an hour away and we managed to get some first pics of the riders in their 2017 gear. The UEC continued in Erp, Netherlands not much later which we attended as well (only 30 minutes away). With the 2017 World Cups happening in Papendal (1 hour) and Zolder (1 hour) we managed to cover a lot of racing without much travel. The trip to Argentina for the last UCI BMX SX World Cup however took around 36 hours but once there you forget the long journey quickly. Sylvain André (FRA) and Laura Smulders (NED) wrapped up the World Cup titles in Santiago del Estero.
On the freestyle side it's easy to lose track on where we all went. With multiple jams/sessions/contests happening every single weekend it was sometimes hard to pick where to go. The UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Cups in France, Hungary and China were the bigger ones. The UCI World's in Chengdu were held for the first time the weekend after the last World Cup of the season and it turned out great. It was a big year anyway for BMX Freestyle as the IOC observers came to visit in Montpellier and turned BMX Freestyle into an Olympic event. That news came in while in Croatia at the Pannonian Challenge.
In all the years of doing the FATJAM afterparty at OJA we can't recall ever doing a BMX award show. Since the year was young it was time for the 2017 Cups to be handed out on Saturday 1 April. Loads of people were nominated, but not everyone won. With Beckers supporting the award night with another 240 frikandellen, and cheap Bavaria beers from OJA, the vibe was good early on. A bit of improvising was needed to hand out all the cups but we got ourselves winners in multiple categories. And the winners are.....
1 Best BMX-drinker of 2017: Steven Görtemöller 2 Best Sugarhills volunteer of 2017: Dominique v/d Heijden
Back in 1990 we were surprised to get a dirt spot in Aarle-Rixtel. The elevated dirt oval received some shovel love right away and in April the first jam was held that turned into the Mini FATJAM. Transfer to 2017, 27 years later, and that spring jam is still alive. And guess what, the Sugar Hills trails haven't looked better over all those years. The rain has helped to fix the place up and the sun's out all week to finish it off. And yes, you're welcome to test the jumps and get a headstart on the others who are coming over on Saturday next week for the annual jam.
We've collected some prizes again, donated by our awesome sponsors, which will be going out around 15:00hr so for those who only ride dirt once a year, you've got 2 hours of practice because the jam starts at 13:00hr. Visitors who want to stop by Paul's Boutique on 1 April, Paul's shop is open from 11:00hr - 13:00hr only.
The dirt spot has something to offer for all ages and all skill levels. Even if you're not a frequent Dirt rider, you've got something to conquer in Aarle-Rixtel. We've got a small table/roller line and of course the Killer Jump for the big boys and everything in between. The two new starting platforms look absolutely fabulous and will get you ready to pull the entire outside line or the middle line as well. It's going to be good so don't miss out. It's free to ride, it's free for spectators. Free parking as well and you can bring your own food and drinks. No security either. The free spirit is alive on 1 April.
Not long now before 2016 is over and once again the year basically flew by. We traveled the world to cover many BMX events and hope you enjoyed the coverage here on www.fatbmx.com. For 2017 we're excited to tell you that we'll have a brand new website. Many props to FATBMX webmaster since day one Jos Wissink of Four05 for setting it all up and transfering all 41.000 articles to the new home which will go live on 1-1-2017. Mad props also to Michael de Wit for the new FATBMX graphics and all the support from everyone who is behind us. Without you we wouldn't be able to do this and we mean it.
We have the feeling that 2017 is going to be an epic year for BMX with so much happening in all corners of this planet in every aspect of the 20 inch world.