At the old Bicycle Stunt Contests there was an unwrtten vert rule that if you could walk away from the contest, you didn't try hard enough! All riders were hucking themselves in positions that were hopeless but it all contributed to the level of vert riding. With foam pits and resi sections around, the hucking is saved for the foam, not the wood. Foam free rider Simon Tabron organized a vert jam at his local ramp which resembles of the old B.S. contests. No foam, different vert classes, loads of fun and most riders getting injured. We checked in with Simon to see how the Spin Like Hell jam went.
FATBMX: With Vert being Dead, it seems like there are a lot of halfpipe jams/shows/contests going on in 2005. What made you decide to have your own event?
Si: I decided to hold an event so that we could have an amateur vert comp. There are a lot of pro-only vert comps and events but it seems like a closed shop for new kids who want to ride vert, I thought it would be good to have an old-style vert jam with different groups to give the younger guys an opportunity to compete on their own level.
Where did that vert ramp come from and where did you park it?
Si: The vert ramp is actually Zach Shaw's old 414 ramp that has been used for competitions like the Urban Games and NASS. Zach was selling it so I asked the people that run Mount Hawke skate project in Cornwall if I could put the ramp in there. At first they weren't sure if it would be popular but they agreed and now we have probably the best vert scene in Europe. Mount Hawke is a charity run project to help the local kids and it has been really good to see so many skaters and bmxers get into vert since we built the ramp.
You decided to have amateur classes at the Spin Like Hell jam too. How was the turn out for those classes?
Si: In C Group, we had about 10 riders and B group had 8 plus about 10 in amateur best trick. There were some locals and some people who had travelled.
What was the reason behind doing amateur vert groups?
Si: Because there are no amateur vert comps any more. It must be so hard for kids to enter against the top pros - unless we have amateur comps, there will be no vert riders in the future.
What were the standouts in these classes?
Si: For me, the standouts were the kids who could barely make it to coping but were trying no footers and one handers and going opposite way. It was also cool to see some of the skatepark riders adapting their style to the vert ramp. One guy called Lee in B group never really rides vert but he did tailwhips, 540's, downside whips and had some good lines.
You had a car available for the winner of the PRO class. Who drove off in the new ride?
Si: I put my car on the line. Luckliy, I got first and didn't need to get a taxi home!
Any other highlights?
Si: Aside from seeing so many people having a good time on a vert ramp, my personal highlight was the
' Worst trick contest' . There were lots of chicken butts and jammin salmons and other stupid stuff but a guy called Jean Marie who came over from Switzerland took first place . He balanced on top of someone else's bike and bomb-dropped straight to flat bottom. It was pretty funny until he had to go to the hospital!
How was the vibe over the weekend?
Si: I think that the atmosphere was the best part of the weekend- everybody was laughing and smiling and I think that's what vert really needs. With all the big money events and sponsorship, it has become really serious for a lot of people and we have to remember that riding a bmx is about friendship and fun, not money and glory.
SpinLikeHell contest number 2 next year?
Si: Yes, I think I have to. It was a really good reminder of why I ride a bike. It was just like the old days - I rode hard, had a laugh, it cost me money and I got hurt! What more do you want! I'm sure we will do one again next year.
I have to thank all the people who made it possible - Mount Hawke Skatepark, Mark Theaker, Toby Gresswell, Eastpak, Ride Magazine, Dig magazine, Fatbmx.com, Clive Mitchell Cycles, Eastern Bikes and Hotwheels.
Pics by Peter Geys