Dennis and I overtook the Tour Dur Laarbeek stage on the way to Beek en Donk. The tractor wasn't moving fast and it even had to be bump-started every time it needed to fire up. It didn't have a lack of people who wanted a ride on a real tractor though and the seats on both fenders were full on every trip.
The plan was to start at 4pm and we had made up some time and were only behind on schedule for a few minutes. A nearby festival ended at 4pm so that was good planning on Mike Smits' side. Some music was played so people noticed there was something going on.
As soon as the band started playing they were tested on how long they could handle it. Good stuff. Kees even joined the local band for a Minor Threat cover and received a big round of applause and a straight edge Bavaria beer for his efforts.
After the first stop in Mariahout, the gypsies left for Lieshout, home of Bavaria beer. The 90 degree hipped miniramp was waiting for everyone to be treated right. We were already half an hour behind on schedule and this was only the second stop.
Banners were put back up, the tractor arrived with the stage for the next band and the PA system was set up. In the meantime a contest took place.
With the registration done and judging sheets ready, already some time was saved compared to stop one. It was a jam session for everyone but with the band playing, it was hard to tell the riders when it was time for last trick or when time was up. Not that it mattered much. Everyone just rode for the fun of it. Ed entered at the last minute and so did Kees. It didn't take long for Kees to take himself out so he could watch from the sidelines again.
"Can somebody get me beer, it's hot in here," was the comment of the lead singer of the band 5 Dollar Shake after they opened up the Tour Dur Laarbeek in Mariahout last Sunday. It was noon and the band was already asking for cold beer. Sweet! The Tour Dur Laarbeek is a fun event. We'll explain it in short: 4 miniramps were on the program for one afternoon. A competition was held at each stop. That meant that after stop one, everyone moved to the next one. Banners were put up during warm up and the sound check was being done during part of the contest. It was chaos and unprofessional but we wouldn't like it any other way. It ruled.
After each stop, the stage was moved to the next ramp by a little tractor. Competitors threw their bikes in the big bus and felt like they were on RoadFools for a day. Others just rode to the next town, it was that close.
At the moment I'm in a weird situation. I have a copy of the etnies Grounded DVD in my possession and I visited the pre-etnies Grounded premiere jam at the Marnix bowl in Amsterdam but did not stay for the first showing at the Kriterion. I could have beat everyone there by popping the DVD in the player at home and watch it but I did not. Tomorrow we will have the premiere for the Grounded movie in OJA and I am holding off until that moment when everyone is there and the big screen is ready. It's tough though as my fingers are itching....
Due to the late arrival I missed most of the session at the Marnix bowl in Amsterdam. Riders were still around but were either limping, done riding, or already started drinking to get ready for the Grounded premiere at 10pm. Still, good old Bjorn Eulink busted a killer fastplant on request and the local shredders weren't done doing all kind of foot jam variations. I've been promised pics of Mark Vos' fufanu on top of the Red Bull wall and Barry Kohne's flair, two highlights that I missed.
The first round of the "Eastpak BMX Series” - 2007 Portuguese National Championship happened this passed weekend in Ferreira do Alentejo. The number of registered riders was a lot higher than last year, and we could also notice that they have progressed a lot since last year. The prelims started Saturday afternoon, when finally the temperature was cooler. We saw awesome tricks during practice, but it got even better when the competition started. At night we had a "super dinner" with all the riders and friends, and everybody watched a Carhartt movie.
On Sunday, the weather was the total opposite of the day before. The sky was cloudy, so the competition started a lot earlier in the day. The beginner class, for the first time had 17 riders. The first 3 riders to qualify were João Carmo from Lisbon, Jondalar Machado from Santo Tirso, and Nuno Chaves also from Lisbon. In Amateur, Rodrigo Vieira, ended in 3rd place, Marco Almeida in 2nd, and the best rider was Gonçalo Cruz from Leiria.
On Sunday 20th of May there was an important freestyle event for Russia as it was the first official competition in Russia in BMX park dedicated to the opening of the biggest BMX park in Russia and maybe in Eastern Europe. Pro rider Alexey Malinin took the first place with a big score advantage over his rivals. Now Alexey Malinin (REDLINE , VANS , PRO-TEC, BOLLE) goes into the Russian BMX history books as the first winner of the first official competition.
Boom!! What a fantastic start! The first station of the 2007 Battle in da Club tour on May the 17th has definitely rocked the unbelievable CocoonClub. Exciting battles and at the end Sebastian Pospischil got the victory. There can be only one! Here is the ranking, which is also the current state of the whole tour ranking: 1. Sebastian Pospischil
Unfortunately we didn't see much of this year's flatland contest at the FISE. The flatland crew had their own platform built up which wasn't massive and a bit wobbly but you couldn't tell so when it mattered. One of the highlights that I did get to witness was a performance of Mike Spinner in Pro Flat qualifying. No front brake, no pegs, no freecoaster, just his regular street bike.
Sometimes you realize why people go to sports events when they can see it live on tv or see the recap of the game only a few moments later including replays. You can grab a beer from the fridge that only costs 20% of what you would have paid at the game, the temperature is good, there's a roof over your head and you don't have anything to worry about. And still people go to the stadium. And for a reason. Live events are the best. You experience the moment firsthand, hear the noise and live the moment. The miniramp contest at the FISE was one to remember. It will go in the history books of some tricks pulled for the first time, some riders riding the ramp for the first time in their life and a crowd so big it made you feel you were watching a football game.
Chris Mahoney went off in the finals. He was doing tricks back to back and didn't hold back. Ben Hennon's first boost over the spine (no-handed) scared people as they hoped he would land back on planet earth in one piece. So high.
Dude, I don't know exactly how many people were watching the Pro Dirt contest at the Fise but there were many. It's so much better when the crowd gets into it. It pushes the riders to go for those tricks that they either have been working on or trick they haven't tried on big sets yet. And big sets they had. From the top the jumps didn't look all too crazy but when you were standing next to the you realized how massive they were.