Words Tristan, Photos Ed
The show went on in the final day of competition at the Brits – despite the fact that the weather was about as bad as it could have been. Riders and spectators alike got involved, displaying a very British (ans slightly insane) disregard for the frankly god-awful conditions.
Jamie Nicholls won the men’s category, with Declan Power getting second and Chris Kightley third. In the women’s, Laura Berry beat Katie Omerod and Stef Nurding to tke the top spot on the podium.
We’d been warned the night before that the weather wasn’t likely to behave itself, so people had got up especially early to try and squeeze the contest in before things got really bad. But although qualifying kicked off at 10am, the weather caught up with us quickly. The women managed to make it as far as starting their finals, but the rising wind was wreaking havoc with the riders over the three kickers.
Gilly Seagrave, who’d been riding well in the masters’ category all day, went over the second big kicker with a nice straight air when a strong gust of wind caught her, blowing her off balance. She landed hard on her toe edge, falling over and knocking herself clean out cold. Col Mytton, who got to Gilly first said: “It felt like she was out for about five minutes!”
When she came round, like the true trooper she is, the first thing Gilly asked was: “Do I get another run?” Unfortunately the answer was no, as it was decided that the kicker line had become too dangerous for anyone to hit. It was decided that the women’s ressult would be taken from their qualification scores, giving Laura Berry the win. Bezza, who had nailed stylish font boards on the rails and a sequence of stomped straight airs over the kickers, was pretty chuffed with that result, especially given the injury problems she’s had of late. Pint-sized shredder Katie Omerod got second place, while Stef Nurding won third.
She said: “I’m really stoked to have won because I’ve been injured loads this season. My collarbone’s in two pieces and I had some problems with my arteries. I just made sure I was solid. Knowing that I only had one run, I just made it a bit safe.” To read the full, mad story of Laura’s injuries (and why she’s riding with a broken collarbone!) Have a look here.
After Gilly’s accident both the organisers and riders agreed that it would be best to use just the rails for the men’s comp, a decision that played right into the hands of the many dome-trained riders in the field. In the riders’ meeting, pretty much everyone voted to have two runs through the course, despite the fact that the conditions were worsening. This blatant disregard for their own personal safety might have seemed a little bit like turkeys voting for Christmas, but their will to get on the shred was pretty damn impressive.
Once they were given the go ahead, the boys got stuck in with a will. Andy Nudds was showing some of the silky rail skills that have made him one of the most impressive riders to watch at this year’s championships, whipping out smooth front boards to a 270-out so steezy it would have made MFM proud. Matt Macwhirter, Nuddsy’s team-mate and riding buddy, was also looking impressive.
Tight-trousered style-merchant Declan Power whipped out a new-school rail run worthy of his look, with 180 on to 50-50 switch ups on the rails, a nice front board and and uber-stylee back-lip across the top of the wall-ride to finish. This impressive and stylish display earned him second. Chris Kightley rode consistently well to claim third, with solid front boards and a nice frontside wall-ride.
But it was Jamie Nicholls’ sweet run that won the day. Jamie proved that he doesn’t need kickers to dominate in slopestyle, throwing down this run. Cab boardslide switch up, 270 out on the first rail, switch boardslide on the c-box, switch 50-50 to switch front-flip out on the box rail and a switch wall ride to finish. Not bad eh?
Once the riders had got through their runs, pretty much everyone headed home, cos it was now starting to rain. The rain got worse as people headed down, meaning many of us arrived at the bottom soaked to the skin… but stoked to have seen such impressive riding in such shitty conditions.
Again, the Brits had produced three great comps and while not being able to use the full slopestyle course was a bit disappointing, overall the week had been incredible – the level of riding had been off the hook in some cases, the spirit of the competition had been consistently good-natured, and from the boozing to the riding, the best bits of the British scene had shone through regardless. Here’s to another great week next year!