SIMPLE SESSION 19, ESTONIA.
With the year 2019 being over I hereby present you a few flashbacks of 2019 activities starting off with my 15th year working at Simple Session in Tallinn, Estonia. Look up Simple Session and you'll come to find that the event is on everyone's calendar during the wintertime. I had the role of BMX head judge at their 19th edition in February of 2019 and I'm sad to say I'll have to miss the 20th episode of Simple Session because of a clash of events in 2020. I'll be in Australia instead so no need for any sympathy. Good luck to the organizing crew and congrats on 20 years in advance.
RIM NAKAMURA, 040BMXPARK, EINDHOVEN, NL.
In early February we did a little photoshoot with Japan's top BMX Park rider Rimu Nakamura. The 2020 Olympic medal contender came over to Area51 in Eindhoven to get some riding in and we took the opportunity to do an interview and a bike check for FATBMX.com.
Rim turned out to become the 2019 UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Cup champion, something we did not know when taking the photos before the season started. Rim is sponsored by JYKK, Vans, Red Bull, Visa, Subrosa and Falken tyres. Brands that will profit from the media attention leading up to the Tokyo Games in July/August of 2020.
FLAME TRAILS. BRANDEVOORT, HELMOND, NL.
Was 2019 the year of the pump tracks? For many years we've helped shape the local trails of the Sugar Hills in Aarle-Rixtel, the Helm Trails in Helmond and the Flame Trails around the corner of the EBC offices. It's awesome that so many asphalt pump tracks are being built by companies like Velosolutions, Hurricane Tracks, Pumptrack.nl, Daniel Wijsmuller, Betonlandschaften, etc. Asphalt is the way to go if no maintenance crew is available to take care of the dirt spot. Unfortunately we did not have as much time available to keep the dirt spots going in 2019 but that doesn't mean we're done.
If new year resolutions need to be made, we'll say we'll spend more time at the local spots to keep them running well. It's the best fitness program there is, and it's free. Anyone wants to join the fitness club?
Earlier this year Vans introduced the Vans Waffle Cup sole, specifically designed with BMX Freestyle riding in mind. Kevin Peraza received his own Vans shoe and got on a promotion tour through Europe to explain the shoe to riders who had the opportunity to ask questions in a BMX Support Group setting.
Kevin's one of our favourite riders and when he comes to the local park, we of course had to make the 20-minute drive on a Monday night to catch up and take some photos for a report on FATBMX.com.
MINI FATJAM AARLE-RIXTEL, NL
The 30th edition of the Mini FATJAM in Aarle-Rixtel was another good one. The Sugar Hills were the location for another dirt jam where riders expected to ride the Killer jump and the several lines. Of course this meant once again that preparations were needed; a poster was made, sponsors were contacted, the tents, banners, PA, shovels, and BBQ had to get to the spot at the Valkendijk, local media received the press release, and also the trails had to be fixed. 30 years in a row giving back to BMX, motivating riders, creating good times and memories. It's a reunion every time. Even 2-hip announcer Kevin Martin (USA) made it over this year. With so much going on in the first half of 2020 we have yet to find a free weekend to pull off #31. Stay tuned for the date.
Whenever we have the chance to go visit a Youthstream Motocross Grand Prix we take the opportunity. This year's GP in Valkenswaard, Netherlands took place on 31 March, the day after the Mini-FATJAM Afterparty at OJA in Aarle-Rixtel. It's always great to catch up with the people from Ambulance Event Servies (AES), Monster Energy and Twin Air. Seeing the best motocross racers of the world battle for a GP victory is exciting. Youthstream have developed motocross in a big spectacle. This year we've started taking studio product photos for Twin Air adding them to the European BMX Connection clientele. Seeing the Twin Air products on the factory bikes is exciting.
To know where you're going, you've got to know where you're coming from. Oldschool BMX is a real thing these days and on 7 April 2019 we visited the Oldskool BMX happening in Heesch and paid a visit to the BMX Museum as well.
On 5 December 2019 it was exactly 40 years ago that we got involved in real BMX racing. The CPX 100 got delivered by Sinterklaas and we never looked back. Without any breaks BMX has ruled our life which is something not all players in the game can claim. Been there, done that but still motivated to look ahead and go places we've not been before.
UCI BMX FREESTYLE WORLD CUP, HIROSHIMA, JAPAN.
The 2019 UCI BMX Freestyle World Cup started in Hiroshima, Japan. As the UCI Technical Delegate we're dealing with multiple tasks during the weekend such as the state of the course, the UCI branding, schedule and re-scheduling, safety control, following of the regulations, and add to that updating of the UCI BMX Freestyle social media platforms. In 2019 the Flatland World Cups (Men & Women) took place for the second time.
The BMX Park World Cups offer a lot of points for the riders towards Olympic Qualifying. Pressure is on for everyone and it's a challenge to run the event without any mistakes. Those 40 years of BMX experience come in handy.
TOKYO 2020 SITE VISIT. TOKYO, JAPAN.
Preparations for Tokyo 2020 are in full swing and a site visit was in place on April 22nd. Not much was to be seen but to get an actual feel of the venue and the visit to the Tokyo 2020 Organisation offices show that this event is going to be massive. We're fortunate to have Van Homan as the BMX Freestyle manager at the local organization committee. You know it's in good hands with him around on their side.
4 trips to this very place are planned for 2020 and we're excited to deliver a good BMX Freestyle Park contest at the 2020 Olympic Games the first weekend of August.
UCI BMX SX WORLD CUP MANCHESTER, UK.
It's still April and we're off to Manchester, England for the first two UCI BMX SX World Cup races. As the UCI Media manager we distribute the photo bibs, handle the press office during the weekend, make sure the media have access to the internet, start lists and results and also keep the UCI social media platforms fresh during the weekend. At the same time we cover the races on www.fatbmx.com.
Never a dull moment.
The 2019 UCI BMX SX World Cup at Papendal got rewarded the Best World Cup of the year award. It's the third time the title goes to the Dutch organization.
Rounds 3 & 4 had an incredible script with all wins going to Dutch athletes. Once again we were on BMX Media manager duties working with great people and we're looking forward to go back in 2020 for the European series, the UCI BMX SX World Cup and the 2021 UCI World Championships. Papendal loves BMX.
2019 recap continued. A new series popped up in 2019; FISE European Series with the first one taking place at the Wizink center in Madrid, Spain. We were hired to judge the event. Actually, we have judged BMX Freestyle contests since 1986 making that 33 years of judging experience.
Madrid was a tough one to judge as 11 out of 12 Men finalists rode the run of their lives but that's how it goes sometimes. For the UCI we've helped create a judging document. If you're interested in it, here's the link: https://lnkd.in/gyRt7cE
UCI BMX SX WORLD CUP MONTPELLIER, FRANCE
The Festival International des Sports Extremes (FISE) in the south of France has grown into the biggest action sports festival on earth. With 630.000 visitors in attendance in 2019 it sure was a big one. On UCI's part the 2nd World Cup for Flatland and Park were on the program for the 2019 season. Flatland saw the biggest crowd and best atmosphere ever at a UCI BMX Flatland World Cup.
5000 people witnessed Dominik Nekolny (CZE) win the comp. Even more people saw American Justin Dowell (USA) take the win in BMX Park. We've been part of the event in Montpellier for more than 20 years now and it's always a pleasure to go back. The 2020 edition is already on the calendar for 20-24 May. See you there.
Another weekend, another UCI World Cup. BMX Supercross in Saint Quentin-en-Yvelines this time for rounds 5 & 6 of 2019. The grandstands were packed all weekend showing that BMX racing in France is huge.
Manon Valentino (FRA) gave the French a win on Sunday in the Elite Women class while Niek Kimmann (NED) scored two UCI World Cup victories which formed a strong base for a dominating season with a UCI BMX SX World Cup title in the end. EBC handled the media centre and took care of the UCI BMX SX social media which hit 82.000 followers on Instagram that weekend.
The popularity of BMX shows by the number of people that come to an event. The Vans BMX Pro Cup in Stuttgart, Germany was another sold-out event. On Vans' invite FATBMX covered the event. It was nothing but happy faces all weekend long with pure BMX riding in the concrete bowl of Waiblingen by the biggest name in the sport.
We hear it's on the calendar again for 2020 so make sure to follow the series for dates and info.
You get the impression, 2019 was a busy year for BMX. During the Urban Sports Week Amsterdam (USWA) three high class BMX Freestyle events were on the calendar at the same time. It gave riders a choice to either go to the Ruhr Games, BMX CGN or USWA event. EBC made it over to Amsterdam to judge the BMX Park and Street disciplines at the Urban Sports Week.
The stage was amazing (Museumplein) as was the weather which always helps with an outdoor event. We also covered the event on our FATBMX website and gave it some love on our FATBMX social media platforms.
To be honest, we did not ride a whole lot ourselves this year and hopefully we can turn that around in 2020. We did however ride the Helm trails in Helmond a couple of times with good friends. The trails date back to 2005 and lots has happened in the meantime. It's still great to see the dirt jumps being used.
If we can find a free weekend in 2020 I think it's a good idea to get together for a session. We'll announce the date online, where communication seems to happen these days.
This past July it was off to Chateauroux, France for the second round of the FISE European Series, an international BMX Park contest in the UCI C1 category which means these points count towards Olympic Qualifying. We ended up on the judging table with quality judges to give those who took the effort to travel to Chateauroux the points they deserved.
As always we covered the event for FATBMX and handled the social media updates while working at the event.
DIRTPARK GRONINGEN, NL
BMX is about the community. It's one big family, or at least it should be that way. Ego's seem to come in play from time to time but that's life so let's live with it. Likeminded people who love riding bikes put in the effort to create something to ride. We had never made it to Groningen to ride their Dirt spot until this past summer. Blood, sweat and tears are what's needed to create something good. Shovels, wheel barrows, hoses, rakes & brooms are all tools a Dirt Park builder needs. We were welcomed with open arms by the locals as they know they would be welcome at our spots as well. Let's take a moment to pay respect to the trail builders out there. Those piles of dirt that you might come across in the woods have a meaning. Don't touch them if you don't know what they're there for.
It's touch to switch off the BMX button completely. Even when going on a family city trip it's looking for spots or interesting places. London didn't disappoint as we managed to join a great Street art city tour, found the wooden bowl at Selfridges (on accident) and visited Henry's oldskool Vans section at the Vans store on Carnaby street. We wrapped it up by stopping by the Volt BMX Store, a place we had not paid a visit to yet. Any suggestions for a city trip?
SPOT CHECK: CHATEAUROUX, FRANCE.
People don't know how good they have it. I'm actually referring to ramp riders specifically. Growing up in a time when ramps had to be built yourself, it is good to see that every town now seems to have a place to ride. Some are terrible, we agree, but we also say that in part you're to blame for it. Unless there is a BMX rider or skater who works at the city council, they will need help with the design of the local skatepark. If you do not provide it to them, they'll pick up the catalog and randomly point at a few obstacles and make the order. You know that this is not the way to go but you can advise them how to do it. Point them to the companies that know how it's done or if you have the skills, offer to help. It will take time, it will be frustrating at certain moments, it requires a lot of your energy, but in the end, it's worth it because money needs to be spent the right way so you can enjoy it later. We found this park in Chateauroux, France. It's out there, free to use for everyone and has something for all to enjoy. Money well spent.
UCI BMX SX WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, HEUSDEN-ZOLDER, BELGIUM.
Operating from The Netherlands has its benefits. Being centrally located in Europe with a good airport based in Amsterdam it's fairly easy to go places. What we prefer though is get in the car when events are close enough.
The 2019 UCI BMX Race World Championships took place in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium, a 75 minute drive. Perfect. With not much on the agenda other than covering the event for FATBMX we set sail for Belgium and saw Alise Willoughby (USA) and Twan van Gendt (NED) grab the Elite titles. Since we had no flight to catch at a certain time we decided to stay the night to celebrate the champions and drive back the next day. More races like this please!
Talking about events happening close to home. With the MXGP in Valkenswaard, NL being 40 minutes away and the city of Lommel, Belgium being 20 minutes from Valkenswaard, we did not have to drive far to attend the second Grand Prix of the year.
We brought the camera in order to take some photos for Twin Air and enjoyed a weekend with lots of braaappp action.
In what other sport can beginners and pros line up together for a good time?
The annual FATJAM offers different lines of dirt jumps starting with rollers for the young ones/beginners to the outside line with gaps and of course the KILLER jump. Because of the support of our sponsors all participants leave home with some sort of prize.
The day is free to attend, free to participate at, you bring your own drinks and food, enjoy the free burgers while supply lasts and simply enjoy the day in the dirt.
After organizing more than 30 FATJAMs it would be easy to pull the plug, but seeing the happy faces of the BMX-ers and their parents and friends, that time has not come yet. And yes, we'll be back in 2020 for another one.
URBAN WAVES, KORTRIJK, BELGIUM
This one almost slipped in the 2019 recap. The C1 contest in Kortrijk, Belgium. Interestingly enough C1 events count towards Olympic qualifying so it attracts riders from all over the place to score points. This one also clashed with another event in Italy but still riders from Argentina, Germany, China, USA, Great Britain, Czech Republic, Belgium, and The Netherlands showed up.
We head-judged the comp in Belgium and visited the opening of the new spot at Kooigem all organized by Pieter Possenier. In 2019 the number of events grew from 5 contests in 2016 and 2017 to 24 BMX Park contests in 2018 and 67 this year. In 2020 flatland events will be added to the UCI calendar as well. The momentum is there, let's keep things rolling.
SITE VISIT CADENAZZO, SWITZERLAND
In the fall of 2019 we noticed the European BMX Freestyle Park Championships had been put on the UCI calendar. An important event for European BMX Park riders points-wise. The UEC was in charge and needed some BMX Freestyle advice. After our meeting at the UEC road cycling championships in Alkmaar, NL it was worked out that we should work together to make things happen starting with a homologation test in Cadenazzo, Switzerland.
Hurricane Parks delivered the permanent BMX course in Cadenazzo which looked great to have the European Championships on. Approved. 5 more weeks to go until showtime. Still lots of work to do....
In a weekend where we did not have much on the agenda we still managed to go see some friends over in Peer, Belgium at Rounds 9 & 10 of the European BMX CUP.
Catching up with UEC's Jolanda Polkamp and UCI's Norm McCann is always good and at the same time we shot some pics to run with the race results on the FATBMX website. Multi tasking. Always.
WORLD URBAN GAMES BUDAPEST, HUNGARY
New on the calendar for 2019 was the World Urban Games event in Budapest, Hungary. Since the inclusion of BMX Freestyle Park, surfing, skateboarding, breakdancing, speed climbing and the likes to the Olympic program, doors are opening. A €33K purse for Women Park and €33K for Men Park is not a bad thing. Getting the trip paid for isn't bad either. Free food as well. Riding a Hurricane Park with plenty of practice time? You got it. From the beginning to the open bar afterparty, there was not much to complain about for the invited BMX Park riders who participated at the first World Urban Games. Also the local competition was a hit. It's nice when weeks of pre-work is paying off. Thanks to the DJ, MC, judges, LOC, and Viktor Bako for their hard work. The World Urban Games Budapest were one of the highlights of 2019.
UCI BMX SX WORLD CUP ROUNDS 9 & 10. SDE, ARGENTINA.
How much BMX can you put in one year? Believe us, there's more, lots more. The last two rounds of the 2019 UCI BMX SX World Cup took place in Santiago del Estero, Argentina and we were back on UCI BMX Media manager duty. The travel to the race is a nightmare (30+ hours for a single journey) but once in SDE it is soon forgotten. The local hospitality, empenadas and red wine add to the killer vibe while the racing on the smooth BMX track always delivers. A weekend of sunshine and 33 degrees at the end of September doesn't hurt either. The 2019 World Cup champs were crowned at the end of the race both being Dutch. Congrats to Niek Kimmann and Laura Smulders on getting the job done. Santiago del Estero have hosted a UCI BMX SX World Cup since 2013 but will not be back on the calendar for 2020. We're off to Australia for the first two UCI BMX SX World Cup rounds in January. We doubt the travel there will be any shorter.
2019 UEC EUROPEAN BMX PARK CHAMPIONSHIPS
After setting up a qualifying system, creating a time schedule, approving the BMX Park, preparing a TM meeting and plenty of advising, it was time to head over to Cadenazzo for the first ever UEC European BMX Park continental championship. Arriving in the wet wasn't ideal but it cleared up in time for first practice and the weather cooperated during the rest of the week(end) in order to stick to the schedule as originally planned. I love it when a plan comes together, just like Hanibal does. But for things to work out as planned, you need good people and that's just what we had. People that think in a positive way, act as expected, be on time, do their job, think in solutions and are willing to put in the extra mile. It's a team effort, as it always is, to deliver a good product. History was made in Switzerland. The UEC is motivated to do more with/for BMX Freestyle. Count on the continental championships to be held on an annual basis from now on.
UCI WORLD CYCLING CENTER, AIGLE, SWITZERLAND
It's great to see BMX Parks popping up. It creates new spots to ride for the locals and if built right, riders will travel to the park or put it on their bucket list of places to visit. You can blame or thank the Olympics for several parks being built. We'd like to think that organizations, clubs, cities and promoters now have the possibilityto make dreams come true. If the Olympic word needs to be dropped for it, so be it. More riding spots for everyone is never a bad thing. We paid a visit to the UCI World Cycling Center in Aigle, Switzerland to admire a freshly built BMX park. The program around the accomodation is in the works. Contact the WCC for more information.
UCI BMX FREESTYLE WORLD CUP, CHENGDU, CHINA
It was off to China again for the last UCI BMX Freestyle World Cup of the year. The Park as well as the Flatland World Cup champions would be crowned after this very last World Cup of 2019. With titles still up for grabs it got exciting till the last minute.
In the Technical Delegate role some decisions had to be made when the BMX Park course was too wet to ride and we were running out of daylight. The Semi-final results turned out to be the final results which made Japan's Rim Nakamura the UCI World Cup Park champ of 2019. Hannah Roberts (USA) ruled all year and clamed the Women Park title. The flatland cups went to Matthias Dandois (FRA) and Misaki Katagiri (JPN). Another World Cup season in the books.
Park course, check. Flatland FOP, check. Medical, check. Judges, check. Sound, check. Media, check. MC, check. Scoring, check. Spotter, check. Timer, check. TV, check. Riders ready? For the third year in a row the UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Championships took place in Chengdu, China. This year BMX Flatland was added to the program so the first UCI rainbow jerseys would be handed out to the 2019 Flatland World Champs. Next to handling the TD duties the week also included the UCI BMX Freestyle forum, flatland and park TM meetings and the UCI BMX Freestyle Commission meeting. Never a dull moment. Congrats to the 2019 World Champs: Brandon Loupos (AUS), Hannah Roberts (USA), Dominik Nekolny (CZE) and Irina Sadovnik (AUT).
We really had no role in the sold-out Red Bull Uncontained event in Nijmegen, NL so we could enjoy it as a spectator. And what a show it was. As to be expected from Red Bull they put energy in the smallest details and made sure all, who managed to score a ticket to get in, had a great time.
With Red Bull TV and Red Bull's media power, BMX Freestyle ended up on the internet and TV for thousands to see. Thanks to Red Bull for the hospitality and the riders for putting on a great show.
FVR JAM 2019. Area51, Eindhoven, NL. 7 December 2019. It's awesome to see people who are active and put on BMX jams. Jesper Vervoort (FVR) is one of those guys.
Jesper runs his own clothing brand, plays in a band, makes videos, rides bikes, creates street art and much more.
BMX needs people like Jesper. Keep BMX fun. Ride what you want to ride. Explore. Create memories. Join in. Everyone's welcome.
The Gigantische Kerstshow at Paul's Boutique BMX Hardware store in Aarle-Rixtel, NL has become a tradition. It's a way to thank the customers and find a reason for another party. The gathering has gained some steam over the years and the 2019 version was a good one.
This is the perfect moment to wrap up the 2019 FATBMX lookback post. A new decade has started. 2020 has some exciting moments in store for us. We're looking forward to see or meet you at one of the events. Let's do this!