Backflipping in the flash garden
Two-thirds of the festival already over, day six brought the first glimpse of what made Crankworx the world-famous spectacle it is today
– slopestyle. It wasn’t the false-start of previous years’ qualifying round as is traditionally done on the Thursday, but the all-new “Best Trick” competition, essentially a cut-down slopestyle event. Two sessions on two features, one winner for each and that’s it. All or nothing for a $3000 cash purse each.
First up was a huge gap jump booter which gave riders ample time to get multiple trick combos under their belt before touching back down again. Remember playing mountain bike video games where it was possible to throw in three or four tricks in a straight run? Turns out life’s imitating art again – backflips-to-x-up, flip-whips, 360 to barspin – they’re all a reality now. Nothing, however, could top Casey Groves’ ridiculous quad-no-foot-can – that’s four on the run – for complete lack of time being properly connected to a bike. Three thousand dollars well earned.
The session then moved to the “Kokanee Box”, a large S-topped feature that marks the end of the Boneyard and replaced the old and much maligned “Gap-o-tron” of recent years. It’s smaller, with a better shaped take off and landing and the riders sure seemed to appreciate the changes. As the 45 minute time period wore on, the difficulty of the tricks gradually increased until all of a sudden, people were pulling flips and tweaked 360s. It took a silky-smooth Flip Whip from Greg Watts to finally decide the winner, as soon as feet found pedals and tyres found dirt it was sealed, another winner with another near-impossible trick. $3000 in the back pocket and a sigh of relief, from all the participants no doubt.
Regular backflips just don’t cut it any more apparently. Justin Wyper steps it up a notch.
All pics: Dan Barham