We’d heard about it from some riders we met, but pulling up outside
Ape Skatepark, in Thornaby, we’d no idea what to expect.
Inside the old aircraft hanger, were scads of riders, sk8ers, bmxers and kids on
rollerblades falling on their arse. A massive collection of brilliant crafted ramps
and rails were laid out as far as the eye could see.
BMXers were lined up to pelt, flat out, down the full length of the hanger, pitching
themselves at a quarter pipe and doing back flips and nothings into a huge pit of
foam by the cafe. But that wasn’t what we’d come to see.
Through a doorway we spotted a caravan, belonging to the BMX legend "Mr Pants".
That wasn’t what we’d come to see either, though it was remarkable to hear stories
of Mr Pants running around the site naked, living in this caravan, and not washing
for a month.
Nope – we’d come to see what as far as we know was the only UK indoor dirt jump spot
in the country. Trails, built by local riders and brilliantly built ones at that.
They change them about pretty often, and there was a bit of a grumble from some riders
that all their doubles had been converted (filled in) to tabletops because of a recent
accident (involving a BMXer, a sheet of plywood and two stacking chairs). This didn’t
stop riders ripping it up in the perfect conditions doing jump after jump.
Locals include dirt legend Jon Moss and top local BMX star Barry Smith.
The riding’s cool, and you can have access to it for as little as £1 an hour.
Check it out. It’s here, off Martinette Road in Thornaby,
Call them on 01642 764114