After a long time on the road, the Burton High 5 tour reached its end of its journey a couple of weeks ago at the newest of the UK fridges, Hemel Hempstead. With it being the final stop on the tour, the shapers at Hemel had probably the most difficult of jobs in out-staging the parks that have gone before them and use the features in a way that was fresh and imaginative. The infamous DWA did not disappoint and pulled out of the bag what must have been the most bold setup of the tour. The features were set quite far apart and combined the Burton rails with some rather eclectic Hemel offerings! This led to a sick night of riding with the riders stepping up to the plate, enjoying the diversity of features on offer.
The top of of the slope saw the ever popular Burton down bar alongside a rocket box box over a tree/barrel gap. The down bar has been a major focus of attention throughout the whole tour and this stop was no exception, with the likes of Gareth Andrews, Andy Nudds and Ross Needham continued to systematically slay it in the manner to which have become accustomed.
Next up riders were faced with a feature that would have been better placed on Venice beach in the 1970's - a multicoloured van which could either be hit from the Burton wedge or transferred to from the kicker alongside it. This is where riders got really creative with an impressive array of spins on and off and gaps over the whole thing. Local rider Lewis Sonvico particularly stood out with an absolutely sick backside 270 on to the van from the kicker. The Burton bench and the down flat down were up next and played host to a number of technical tricks, as has been the case throughout the tour, and the run finished with a crazy C box setup, which could be used to stall on or rode the whole way round.
The riding standard was incredibly high all night which meant spots in the final were closely fought for. This was particularly the case in the girls division which saw Emilla Vanni taking 3rd place with a 270 out of the down bar and Alice Blake coming in 2nd with a sick front one on switch back one out on the same bar. Heading the list, however, was Orla Doolin who proved just how important style and consistency is in competitions, with a set of smooth runs that didn't include any falls. In the mens final, Ollie Dutton, Angus Leith and Cody Herions rode solidly but in the end didn't quite make it to the podium. Sam Cullum took 3rd place with a massive rodeo over the kicker, 2nd place went to a Belgian, Aston Egelmeers, while local boy Lewis Sonvico took everyone by surprise to come in 1st!
Massive props must go to Hemel for stepping up to build a sick park to end the tour on a high note. Voting is now underway to find out which slope will be crowned this year's champion and win the prestigious Golden Shovel award. No matter who wins there is no doubt that all the fridges stepped up and proved that the UK scene is in an incredibly strong place when it comes to the dedication of shapers around the country, nice one guys!