You would have thought we'd learnt from Peterborough but no...we had to go all out. We staggered back to the hotel after sambuca rounds at around 5.30am, discussing the finer points of salad kebabs vs. meat, chips and cheese. Then stole an undrinkable 5ltr bottle of wine/vinegar from someone's room service and eventually passed out at around 6am.
URGH 8am! Shower, clothes, cash tin, check out. After getting lost in the multi-storey car park, which had mad little stairwells for the pigeons!? (Yeah we wondered too) we were on our way to Motion - Late again, hung over and no time for breakfast. Why do we do it to ourselves? We arrived at 10am on the dot and immediately got registrations set up. After a solid 2 hours of packing people in there was still a queue and I was dying for a subway!
By 1.30pm we had managed to get everyone in and it was the time for the under 14s. 15 entered; the most under 14s so far in our qualifying rounds, so the competition was strong. All 15 riders were amazing for their age and showed real confidence on the course.
Martell McGowan came in 15th place but he rode well pulling a can can, 1 footed step through and a turndown with ease. Kieran Parish and Tommy Baker both pulled 360's and no handers to share 7th place closely followed by Will Peckham who just missed qualifying by 1 place. A shroud of doubt was held over this next guy's age causing unrest and controversy in the under 14s group. Amidst all of this he still managed to pack turn downs, inverts and an impressive transfer over the door into his run; this was all enough to put 13 year old Joe March a full 5.34 points ahead of Will taking a well deserved 5th place.
Josh Cox not only shares his surname with other amazing riders but his skills too, he brought a look back, a 360 turn down and no foot to no footed can can to the table winning him 4th place. In 3rd was Jon Foxley Evans who crammed more tricks into his run than commuters on the tube. Most of his moves were based around the 360 theme, with 360 turndowns, 360s both ways over the spine, a tyre grab 360 and a tabletop. But it was the Shepherd brothers who were to take the top 2 spots. Both brothers were really pulling out all the stops with bar spins, look backs, 5ft airs, ice picks and no footed 360s. Unfortunately for Dan a face plant from a failed table top looked as if it cost him first place and when Del pulled a flair and the first large transfer of the day it was in the bag. Leaving Dan in second and Del reigning champion of Bristol under 14's!
It was safe to say the spectators anticipation of what the over 14s were gonna do in response was as high as the level of riding so far. After a short break and a trip to the ice cream van it was onto the over 14s. With a record 53 riders entered after drop outs it was going to be a demanding round. Proving that determination is key was Luke Padgett, he travelled 240 miles from Liverpool to Bristol after he missed qualifying at Rampworx by two positions to take home a perfectly deserved joint 7th with local rider Scotty Hamlin. Hugh Roach was a point ahead after a comprehensive run including a 360 tyre grab and a 270 transfer into the extension. Peter Meakin who was wrongly called Peter Mashir all day and was too polite to say had the whole crowd behind him. Unfortunately a serious face plant, which left him picking up his glasses lens from the ramp floor, may have cost him a higher placing but he was psyched to collect third.
All 53 riders battled it out, there were cross footed backflips, a front flip and a back flip 180 over the jump box, an amazingly implemented 360 tyre tap followed by opposite 360 tyre tap over the spine and an astonishing attempt at a body varial which was as close to being pulled as a fat chick after 10 pints! But there were only 10 places and it is a cruel world, so we had to send 43 disappointed riders away. Two riders that definitely weren't disappointed were Chris Nunn and Harry Main . Chris Nunn's 360 X up, no footed can can, whip, look back flips and a huge flair got him second but it was Harry Main who was to collect 1st. Harry commanded respect from the course and clinched the deal with a switch foot flip, one of the biggest flairs of the day and a 720 over the jump box. So we now have our next 15 riders who have the opportunity to ride at Sheffield. If the quality of riding so far is anything to go by I reckon expert finals are going to be just as electrifying as Pro!!!
I was truly gutted when the day had ended and we had to pack up and leave. I felt like Motion had encapsulated exactly what we were trying to achieve form the qualifying rounds. A local park rammed with riders from all over the country with their mates and families supporting them and everyone riding for the love of it! Thanks to everyone who was there, congratulations to our next 15 and to the rest of you I guess we'll be seeing you in Scotland.
Under 14's Results
1 Del Shepherd 91.67
2 Dan Shepherd 89.67
3 Jon Foxley Evans 87.33
4 Josh Cox 86.00
5 Joe March 84.67
Over 14's Results
1 Harry Main 90.33
2 Chris Nunn 88.00
3 Peter Meakin 87.00
4 Colum Walshe 85.00
4 Jack Marchant 85.00
6 Hugh Roach 83.33
7 Luke Padgett 82.33
7 Scotty Hamlin 82.33
7 Richard Perry 82.33
10 Patrick Nelson 82.00
To register for your final chance to qualify you will need to go to backyardjam.com to download a form, or call Rachael on 0845 310 3660.
If you can't make it to Unit 23 you will miss your chance to qualify so you better get yourself there! Sunday September 17th 2006 Round 4 Unit 23 Scotland.