The final day of the Brits was blessed - like the rest of the week - with blazing sunshine. Many members of the assembled media, riders and industry types were nursing hangovers (ranging from the mild to the full James Thorne) following the shenanigans at the previous evening's punk fancy dress party, so the warming sunshine was welcome. But despite not all the competitors feeling at their brightest and best (yes, we're looking at you Joel Plaja!) it didn't really show in the overall standard, and spectators were treated to one of the best British Slopestyle Championships we've seen in a while.
It helped of course that Jamie Nicholls (fresh from his eighth place finish in the European X Games) decided to get involved, and he duly won with a super-solid run that included a monster cab 10 - a trick he seems to stomp absolutely bolts every single time. But despite his dominance, the day was far from being just the Jamie Nicholls show. Sam Turnbull was looking sick throughout practise, and had a run that included his the double backside rodeo that won him the Big Air title and a cab 9. Meanwhile Jamie Trinder was whipping out his steezy as hell back double 10, and also threatening to podium.
In the end unfortunately neither of the lads could land their run clean in the final, opening the door for Team GB's experienced coach Nelson Pratt to grab second place. Nelson was far from the only veteran ripping, with perennial seasonnaire James 'Honeymonster' Philips landing back seven and a cab 9 truckdriver grab on his final run, putting him in contention. But with young rippers like Rowan Coultas also pulling out all the stops, it was also gonna be a tough ask to get onto the podium.
And in the end, sure enough, it was a young ripper who claimed third place - Matt McCormick rode with a maturity that belies his years, landing a run that included a sick SWBS 180 off the pole jam, and front and back sevens to take the bronze.
In the women's contest, Becky Menday was showing her superior rail skills on the top and bottom sections of the course, whipping out all kinds of steezy combos, and Americanised-Brit India Stephenson was also ripping, showing the skills she honed at Stratton Mountain School (see the 'School of Rad' article in our latest issue). But at the end of the day, neither of them could quite match the display put on by young Roxy rider Katie Ormerod, who added the Slopestyle title to the Big Air crown she'd won the day before. Her runs included frontflips off boxes, and a cab five, making her hard to beat.
Overall the comp served as a reminder of the broad-base of British talent, and the strength in depth that exists in UK slopestyle riding - especially amongst the younger shredders. Jenny Jones, Aimee Fuller, Billy Morgan, Nate Kern and the rest of our senior Olympic slopestyle hopefuls better watch out, as the likes of Rowan, Katie and Matt McCormick will be nipping at their heels in the chase for places!
PROTEST BRITISH SLOPESTYLE CHAMPIONSHIPS RESULTS
1st – Jamie Nicholls
2nd – Nelson Pratt
3rd – Matt McCormick
1st – Katie Ormerod
2nd – Becky Menday
3rd – India Stephenson