After a break of a month the Burton Hi 5 returned last week to Castleford for its third stop of the tour. Renowned for creating some of the best parks in the country, the shapers were keen to get their hands on the golden shovel award and wrestle the prize away from last years winners, Milton Keynes.
On arrival it was clear that they hadn't disappointed. Riders were faced with one of the most progressive parks of the tour to date with four sections of technical rail and box features. The top section consisted of two round down bars with a pole jam in the middle which left the creative likes of Jonny Russell and Will Smith salivating at the transfer possibilities on offer. Moving down into the mid section was the Burton down flat down which was dug into the snow to make it an up flat up with the Burton bench also acting as an up box. Both had a pretty big step down gap, so plenty of speed was needed to get through the section or you would have had some pretty sore knees the next day! Riders then faced the Burton wedge, which was suspended a couple of feet higher than usual with a kicker either side huge landing to encourage people to go even bigger. Finally, the box and butter section at the bottom of the course was one of the most creative combinations seen yet, with an up flat and a down Burton butters box.
With a course as impressive as this the riders were keen to get stuck into it. Although the levels of intensity during qualification were not as high as they had been at Braehead, the level was still ridiculously high with the likes of Ollie Dutton, Sam Turnball and Matt MacWhirter concentrating on smooth styles and consistent technical rail tricks rather than going big. Not that this was a surprise as the set up was a jibbers dream! The kids were particularly impressive, with future big names Tomski Robinson, Harvey Ormerod and Jake Binnie all riding with skill and power that belied their young years, dealing with the big gaps and drops with ease. The Burton wedge saw its fair share of action with Katie Ormerod and Orla Doolin impressing with a steezy cab 1 off and nonchalant front board respectively.
The final saw the top riders of the night go head to head, the highlight of which was the mens final which saw Calum Paton take third place with an array of technical tricks, the highlight being a sick front board 270 out on the Burton wedge. Will Smith was the most creative of the riders on show, combining features with smooth transfers, which was enough to take second place. In first though was Matt MacWhirter, who destroyed the upper and lower sections of the course with a quiver of nose presses, spinning in and out. From the ladies, Katie Ormerod stood out with a smooth as you like front board on the Burton down rail to take first place. Following her were Orla Doolin in second and the young Becky Menday coming third with an evening of solid and smooth riding.
With the night and prize giving wrapped up the tour now moves south to Milton Keynes on November 11 where last years champions will be looking to keep the standard of this year's parks as high as on the two previous stops!