Darren Berrecloth gone done and won it
Britain’s Lance McDermott pulled this frontflip out of nowhere
Paul Basagoitia: Backflip over gondola car
Aerial view of the course
The evolution of MTB freeride competitions looks set to continue. And while Saalback Hinterglemm, Austria might not trip off the tongue as readily as Virgin, Utah, the European comps are getting more numerous and ever-bigger.
Which brings us to last weekend’s adidas Slopestyle 2006, held in the aforementioned town in Salzburger Land. Fifty pro freeriders (yes, there are at least fifty people in the world who make some kind of a living doing this…) competed on an all-new course designed by Canadian Riley McIntosh.
This was the third year of the adidas Slopestyle, and it definitely seems to have reached maturity in terms of the course and the calibre of riders attending. McIntosh built the course on a shallower, wider slope than previous years, allowing him to add more features and obstacles while giving the riders more line choices.
“This was the best contest I’ve ever been to,” said Paul Basagoitia, who placed second after the finals. “It was so much fun. And the organisers did an amazing job. They took great care of us.”
Reigning adidas Slopestyle champion Darren Berrecloth successfully defended his title, despite a crash in his first final run. But his second run seamlessly linked superman seatgrabs, one-foot tabletops, can-cans and of course a big 360 to score him 85.7 points.
Paul Basagoitia got close, though. A huge backflip over the gondola jump was followed by three big 360s, but the last one sent him off the course and left him unable to do anything with the final double jump.
In third place was Germany’s Carlo Dieckmann, with a simple but large jump over the gondola followed by a 360, backflip, suicide and another backflip in his first run. He crashed in his second, though.
Then in fourth, and winner of the “Smooth” trophy was Britain’s Lance McDermott, who’s clearly going to be huge any time now. He pulled off a frontflip into the wooden “Fruit Bowl” and a flair in the quarterpipe, neither of which are commonly seen in MTB comps.
“Now I know what Slopestyle is all about, watch out for me next year. I’ll be hitting the big stuff,” said Lance.
Another relative unknown, Darren Pokoj, was fifth. He won his entry in the open RockShox Ticket2Style Qualifier competition the previous Thursday. He was, in freeride parlance, “stoked” to reach the finals, so what he felt like after getting fifth place is anybody’s guess…