After the first leg of our November Knockout Tour at Tamworth last weekend we knew it would take something special to top the level of riding and top notch park setup that were cooked up at the country's original real snow slope. Thankfully for us (and the riders), the good folk up at Castleford certainly gave them a run for their money, pulling together an innovative skate-style plaza feature that incorporated the Shred Collective down flat down rail as well as a rainbow box tap and rail to wallride feature. A whole assortment of Cas locals as well as riders from North and South of Leeds showed up to ride and quickly proceeded to rip the whole slopestyle course to pieces. On the lookers left of the slope were a whole bunch of mellow features to suit all abilities with the right side of the slope being where the money was at. Two street-style rails preceded the plaza feature with another rail/gas pipe feature at the bottom to complete the run. While the snow at Tamworth didn't really allow the Shred Collective wally down flat down to be dug into the slope, the Cas shapers opted to bury the middle legs into a knuckle, making it safer and less intimidating for the riders. But don't take that as an indication that the riders were taking it easy...
The jam session was everything that you'd want it to be - nice and mellow with good tunes being cranked out of the speakers thanks to our travelling DJ Jack Adams, spot prizes being chucked around to deserving riders and a laidback opportunity for the riders to score points with the judges. After a good couple of hours sessioning the rails and boxes, Mikee from FBBB called out the eight male and four female riders to have made the cut. There were a few familiar faces from the Tamworth leg in the final eight with Grindhouse riders Ollie Dutton, Will Smith and Si Foster all making the cut, alongside Calum Paton, John Weatherley, JP Ainger, Charlie Clark and Corey Copeland. On the women's side of things, Tamworth winner Becky Menday made it through along with Orla Doolin, Alise Balode and Issy Jones.
After some solid attempts from all four female riders on the down flat down it was Orla and Becky who went through to battle it out for the £100 cash money prize. While Becky managed to put down a solid frontside noseblunt on the rail it wasn't quite clean enough to better a picture perfect frontside lipslide, done good and proper between the feet from Orla.
The men's knockout stages were another close affair with some tightly matched pairings and solid riding throughout. Will Smith was taking a unique approach by missing the first down section and hopping on to the rail for the last down section (with steezy front blunt 450's we might add), while Charlie Clark was one of the few riders hitting the wally with a frontside 180, 50-50, 180 out. JP Ainger and Corey Copeland were also riding impressively, with Corey going on to win the best unsponsored rider prize. When the dust settled after all eight riders had finished their first two runs, it was Charlie Clark who would face off with John Weatherley with Will Smith squaring up (and dropping in) against Ollie Dutton in the semis. Dutton pulled out the same calibre of bolts front boards and switch blunts that saw him take the win at the Tamworth leg and managed to knock out Smith. Meanwhile John Weatherley, who had been going huge all evening was dropping in from way up the slope and gapping to the down part of the rail with buttery smooth frontside noseblunts and front boards - Charlie Clark had to settle with a third/fourth place playoff with Will Smith. And settle he did. Charlie, who first made waves on the scene back in the day with his part in legendary UK shred flick Standing Sideways, and has openly admitted that he's not the biggest fan of riding in comps stepped up in the playoffs and stomped a perfect front blunt 270 out to secure third place.
There was however only ever one man who was ever going to win the Castleford leg of the November Knockout. Despite a bolts switch blunt back to switch from Dutton, it wasn't enough to top Weatherley's huge and ridiculously consistent transfers, and it was indeed John Weatherley who walked away with the £300 cash and iON AirPro camera. There were perhaps only two riders who did anything gnarlier on the night. Si Foster, despite being knocked out in the quarters carried on riding as the tournament progressed and starting whipping out enormous 270 transfers to the down section of the rail - you really had to be there to see quite how huge they were. The other rider to really step it up was Sparrow Knox - with a £50 spot prize for the first rider to gap from the wally part of the rail to the down section, Sparrow manned up and after a few unsuccessful attempts managed to stomp a 50-50 gap to noseslide bolts. Stupidly impressive and hella ballsy stuff. We will literally shit a brick if we see anyone spin that at the next two stops. Roll on Hemel this Friday we say!
A big thank you to SNO!zone Castleford for putting us up and to our title sponsors ION Action Cameras (www.iontheaction.co.uk) - look out for the edit from the night (shot entirely on the many iON Air Pro's dotted around the slope) dropping tomorrow. Big thanks to all of our other sponsors – Monster, Dragon, Stance, Head, Mons Royale, FBBB and SSX as well for another superb evening.
WHITELINES NOVEMBER KNOCKOUT CASTLEFORD RESULTS
1st: John Weatherley: £300 and an iON Air Pro Plus and board kit
2nd: Ollie Dutton: £200 and an iON Air Pro Plus
3rd: Charlie Clark: £100 and an iON Air Pro
1st: Orla Doolin: £100 and an iON Air Pro
BEST UNSPONSORED RIDER:
Alise Balode: Head Snowboard
iON CHALLENGE WINNER (MOST PROGRESSIVE):
Corey Copeland: iON Air Pro
SPOT CHALLENGE WINNER (first to gap from wally to down):
Sparrow Knox: £50 and pair of Stance socks