After a postponement of our round at Adrenaline Alley in May then two postponements at Wisley trails due to the bad British weather, the Spank Industries Dirt Wars UK 2012 Series managed to kick of on the 1st of July. Despite the forecast of showers the riders arrived and the comp was on!
Practice went off with the riders throwing down their warm up runs and flowing the trails with style. An hour of practice went by with the Open qualifiers about to start and the heavens opened.
Holding off for 30 minutes allowed the shower to pass and the Wisley & Dirt Wars trail crews got to work drying out & patching the jumps. Open qualifiers were soon underway.
With 6 riders in Open/AM they were all set to take one of the three spots in the final. After Roman Pichnarcik and Will Jones took a big stack it was down to Jamie Nelson, Wig Lewington Booth, Freddy Pulman (who had broken his arm six weeks before the event) and Ben Nolan to throw it down and take one of the three spots.
After their 3 runs were up Freddy Pulman qualified first, Wig second and Ben Nolan third.
Just as we lined the 12 Elite/Pro riders up to start their qualifiers the clouds opened up again and put stop to play again. After another break to let the clouds blow over and allow some more trail maintenance to take place, we got the Pro qualifier going and the trickfest begun. The trails were slightly damp and running slower than they should be but the tricks were still coming thick and fast.
Damp conditions didn’t stop Danny Pace from going for his signature frontflip over the last but slid out on the landing. Clinton Johns threw down the three-whip whilst Ray Samson went huge with his tuck no-hander flip on the last. Further up the trails Matt Jones was impressing the crowd with his dumped 450s over the hip whilst Daryl Brown’s super stretched Indian airs over the same jump were dropping just as many jaws.
After the 12 rider had taken their three runs the 7 riders to go through to the final were as follows:-
1st Ray Samson (Dmr Bikes)
2nd Daryl Brown (Identiti Bikes)
3rd Clinton Johns (Dmr Bikes)
4th Matt Jones (Identiti Bikes)
5th Matt Cooper (Ram Bikes)
6th Marcel Hunt (Dartmoor Bikes)
7th Ryan Nangle (Dartmoor Bikes)
After another shower and more trail maintenance we had a call to make; any more rain and we would not be able to run the finals. Luckily the sun came out and stayed with us allowing the finals to go ahead.
The Open final saw two of last years regular podium placing riders, Wig & Freddy, up against a newcomer for 2012, Ben Nolan, who was actually riding his first ever Dirt Jump comp. Ben threw down runs full of tuck no-handers, no footed cans, pendulums as well as tech combo tricks such as tuck no-hander to x-up.
Wig also had some wicked runs showing that he had been working hard over the winter to improve his style and bag of tricks. Consistent 360s, Tailwhips, Barspins, Tuck no-handers and Tuck Threes showed that Wig was not to be taken lightly this year, as he is out to take the Series Title in the Open class from Jack Scotford-Smith.
However Freddy Pulman was there and showed that, regardless of it only being the second ride since cracking the head of his Radius bone in his arm and having 6 weeks off the bike, he is eager to be the 2012 series champion. He even said that he was going to ride reservedly and not throw any backflips or tailwhips but stretched tucks, no footed cans, nice tables followed by nice downside tables as well as huge disco cans (one handed can can) & 360 x-ups on the last took him into the top spot!
Onto the Pro Final, everyone there was capable of taking the win and it was a case of who was able to cope with the damp conditions and still show their best to the judges. Identiti & Halo Wheels’ Matt Jones was sending consistent flips on the first, mid-set tailwhips, Table 450s on the hip but had a hard crash on the last sending a super-flip took him out of contention. Ryan Nangle riding for Dartmoor UK, Smuggling Duds & Fox sent nice 360s, barspins, tucks & tailwhips on the top jumps but looked a bit reserved with sending his bag of tricks on the last jump, which had been changed slightly since last year’s competition. Identitis’ Daryl Brown was on form with 360 bars, big Indian airs & huge super-man seatgrabs but a couple of runs where he missed tricking jumps was costly. Ram/Charge Clothing’s Matt Cooper showed good progression since last year with consistent 360s, tailwhips and double whips on the last but it wasn’t quite enough for him to reach the top three.
Ray Samson showed that he is still a main contender for the win by taking third. His runs were full of tailwhips, both on the straight jumps and hips, big flip no-handers and he did a flip tuck to 1 footed x-up on the last. Clinton Johns again showed that he is still one of the best riders in the UK. His style has just become more dialled over winter & where some tricks had a rough edge to them last year, they look more polished now. Tailwhips, 360 whips, barspins and 360 tables took him into second.
And taking First place was Dartmoor UK’s Marcel Hunt. In the past inconsistency and crashes plagued Marcel and had stopped him from fully showing us what he’s got, but a winter of training has changed that. Marcel rode consistently throwing stylish 360s, tuck to barspins, flip barspins and downside table/nac nac type things on the hip showing loads of style as well as control & technique all day.
The ‘Mountainbikebitz.com Best Whip Comp’ came next; a 15-minute jam format for all the Pro & Open riders to send it as sideways as possible. Tom Reynolds, Wig Lewington Booth, Rob Newman, Daryl Brown, Ben Nolan and Jimmy Pratt we all sending it as far as they could but it was DMR Bikes’ Jimmy Pratt, a local to Wisley, who took the win. His whips on the last were way past 90 degrees - they were unreal!
Dirt Wars Best Trick comp finished off the days riding. A lot of the riders decided to save themselves for Round 2 @ Relentless Energy Drink NASS Festival on the 7th & 8th July but after a 15-minute jam with about half a dozen riders it was Ram/Charge’s Matt Cooper who took the win with a double tailwhip on the last.
Prize giving came, the results were revealed and prizes from all the great series sponsors were handed to those on the podium. With some new faces to the podium in both Open & Pro as well as some familiar ones from last year returning to the podium we wrapped up round one with only 5 days until round two...
For more info check out their website - DirtWarsUK.com
Big thanks to Jonathan Williams Photography for the great images!