RocketWorld is originally a Motocross track situated on a quiet airfield on the border between Somerset & Dorset. The slopestyle course there was put together a year ago for the final of the 2012 series but with the weather not going in our favour the RocketWorld event never happened. Luckily 2013 has been a much better year weather-wise in the UK and although we didn’t have the most settled weather in the run up to the 2013 final, things had been a whole lot drier than 12 months previously.
For the first time in Dirt Wars history we would be putting on a two day event, with the intentions of Qualifiers on Saturday, DJs, loud music and beer Saturday night followed by the finals on the Sunday. As with the best of plans things didn’t actually turn out as intended but there were still a lot of smiley happy faces around the venue all weekend. With the risk of heavy showers hitting the venue on Saturday evening and some quite strong gusts of wind blowing through the decision was made to put qualifiers on hold and just run the ‘Slam69 Best trick’ jam on Saturday, leaving the main event until the second day. This turned out to be welcomed by most of the riders who had never ridden the course before and it allowed a non-pressured day of practice before things got competitive.
The ‘Slam69.co.uk Best Trick’ jam was the normal laid back affair and brought the practice day to a close nicely; with the usual format of a 30 minute jam in which any of the competing riders could throw down some of their big tricks. The jump that was being used was the first kicker of the line – an 8ft tall FMX ramp that had been borrowed from the MX area at RocketWorld. Although some riders weren’t a fan of the long, mellow transition, many riders loved the floatiness of it and it didn’t stop a whole host of shapes from being thrown. The main contenders in the jam were Blake Samson who was sending perfect 360 whips over it, Adam Williams who rocked out the no foot can backflips; one of his favourite and more technical tricks. Again best trick saw the Open category rider, Ben Nolan, sending his signature ‘Bolan Box’ (a no-handed shoe box to Pendulum) which with the FMX style airtime looked to be the best executed Bolan Box he had done this year. But for the third time this season it was Spank/Marzocchi/Getabmx’s Freddy Pulman who showed the most progression and pulled what the judges classed as the best trick – a backflip barspin to late tuck no-hander. Having not been seen in UK comps before and the first that Freddy had sent on dirt, it was without doubt the biggest and most technical trick pulled in the jam.
Sunday morning arrived and with it so did the rain. We were woken up to some quite heavy showers that initially made the course look like a complete write-off. However several of the riders and the venue owner, Chris Rocket Rose, got to it with shovels and brushes to try get things rideable. The forecast was for no more rain until late afternoon so most of the riders headed to the airfield’s cafe for breakfast and once the sun was out again it didn’t take long for the course to dry up.
The decision was made that due to the unsettled and unpredictable weather both categories would go straight to into the finals rather than have a qualifier too. The wind was just as bad as the day before but luckily only effected riders on the second straight. Fighting for the series overall title in Open were Daniel Stewart and Ben Nolan, separated by just 2 points. Both were capable of the win but there were also a few other riders present who wanted to throw a spanner in the works. Unfortunately for Ben he didn’t manage to take the big points and ended up in 5th place despite again looking like one of the more composed riders in the windy conditions. Sam Lewington Booth did enough for 4th with sweet 360s on the second kicker and various other tricks around the course.
Third place went to Alfie Stephens who was one of the first riders to 360 the smaller stepdown as well as neatly tailwhipping the FMX kicker and smoothly spinning the second jump of the line. Second place went to the young Scotsman, again traveling down from Edinburgh to compete, Daniel Stewart. Although still recovering from a fracture in his shoulder Danny continued to impress the judges without going upside down or round in circles. Clean combo tricks throughout the course coupled with a super composed style and big supermans sealed his series title for 2013 making the long trip all so more worth it.
However it was Essex’s Olly Parker who came all guns blazing to take the top spot,despite having two possibly fractured heels and saying he was going to take it easy! With backflips, tailwhips, combo tricks and sweet 360 nac nacs he was head and shoulders above the rest of the field taking a well deserved win.
Moving into the pro category again things were tight for the overall series top spot. Currently in first overall was Ray Samson but only 3 points in front of the only unsponsored Pro category rider, Wig Lewington Booth. Unfortunately for Wig, the judges seemed a bit harsh on him and although he had a decent run his score left himself well down the leader-board. His rival for the overall, Ray Samson rode consistently all weekend showing he meant business but not going all out and taking risks, but 5th place was good enough for the series title. Winner of his third best trick comp of 2013, Freddy Pulman again rode well and despite his scoring run looking like hard work at times there were big tricks all the way round the course, including another flip bars to tuck. Freddy rode away with 4th place taking him to a third place overall finish in the series.
Third place in the pro event was taken by Ryan Nangle. Ryan was one of the few riders to successfully 360 the large stepdown and carry on to the end of the course. His mixture of flip tricks, whips and twists were clean and stylishly executed which scored well with the judging panel. Saracen/Animal/Ogio/GoPro’s Blake Samson, who was riding his first Dirt Wars event of the year due to a packed schedule riding on the Animal Bike Tour, took the second step of the podium. Showing that he hadn’t let riding demos week in, week out take away his competitive edge were sweet 360 whips, 360 inverts, tailwhips off of the smaller stepdown and a nice flipwhip on the last jump.
But taking the top spot was Identiti/Halo/Hayes’ Daryl Brown. Daryl really has had a good year and demonstared a real focus on tidying up any rough edges in his riding. Big flip no handers, opposite truck drivers and regular truck to x-ups showed how comfortable he is taking his tricks to any kind of kicker. As Daryl had missed three rounds of the series he wasn’t in contention for the overall title but he walked away a well-earned winner of the final round.
After an hour or so wait for the scores to be totaled and the overall series tables to be updated it was time to announce the winners over the last podium of the year. Again there were a lot of happy faces and a lot of support from the riders, their friends and the rest of the crowd. Its a shame that it had taken 15 months to get an event at RocketWorld but it was well worth the wait and I’m sure it’ll be a favorite venue for many on the future UK dirt jump calendar.
This year has been a great one for the Spank Industries Dirt Wars, possibly even the best one to date! Although we had to dodge the weather a few times we managed to run all 5 rounds outside at some amazing venues on some wicked trails. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank…
All of the Dirt Wars crew members that have helped in 2013, all of the judges at the events, our web & design man Steve Weir, the best MC/commentator in the UK Dylan Stone, Edit-maker Dave Inglis (and all Dave’s minions), First Aid man Brett Cooke, Head Judge Andy Thomas, Sean Mallett for being ready to help do anything, Luke Wyatt for being Freddy’s lover & not a bad judge, handy man Jack Williams, and the no so reliable Declan LePage.
Huge thanks to all our sponsors : Spank Industries, RedBull, Smuggling Duds, Go-Pro, PinkBike, Kapz Guru (for our amazing trophies), Dmr Bikes, Ogio, Saracen, Bell, Marzocchi, Dainese, One23, Kenda, Dynamic Style, Bulldog Tools, Odessa, Manitou, Sun Ringle, Answer Products, Hayes, Spy, Musucbag and Slam69 (for sponsoring the Best Trick comp).
Not to forget the Venues and their Crew’s; Wisley Trails, Holdshott Trails, P.O.R.C, The Track and RocketWorld.
And a thanks to all who have supplied us with media throughout the series.
Thats another year done and dusted. Now for the planning of the 2014 Dirt Wars UK dirt jump series…