Jamie Nicholls bagged his second major contest podium in the space of a week at the Nike 6.0 Stairset Battle final in Munich. The Stairset Battle, which has been touring all over Europe, saw a whole bunch of jibbers, including Jamie Nicholls (obviously!) and the UK’s Little T, go head-to-head in the build up to the main event, Nike 6.0 Air & Style Munich itself. But this was much more than just a sideshow. The line-up featured some of the biggest names in the world of rail riding, including Keegan Valaika and Forrest Bailey from the US, Wojtek Pawlusiak from Poland, Eiki Helgason and Gulli Gudmundsson from Iceland, and Pierre Rue of France. Not that any of this deterred Jamie, who rode super-smoothly throughout the jam session and the ‘best trick’ final to claim second place – missing out on first by just a few points. German-American Mike Casanova won, with Forrest Bailey taking third.
The Stairset Battle got underway at as crowds were filing into the massive Olympic Stadium with an open-format qualifying jam. The Stairset itself was a slightly different one from the version that had made the rounds of the tour stops, featuring a longer down-rail and ledges, and in the middle, a monstrous down-flat-down. Invited riders and the winners of the nine stairset battle tour stops threw down side by side, and the level soon moved up from the sublimely tech to the frankly ridiculous. Russia’s Denis Leontev – the kid who cleaned up against the Finns in Talma – was dancing his way down the down rail. Despite taking a few nasty tumbles, he kept heading round for more hits.
Eiki Helgason was hurling his small Icelandic frame at the down-flat-down, and Forrest Bailey was throwing himself off the ‘close-out’ balcony drop with tail grabs into the transition at the side. Wojtek Pawlusiak was also riding strongly, and Little T, after taking a few falls, soon got into his stride, throwing down steezy front boards and back lips on the kinked marble ledge.
But it was Jamie Nicholls who really stood out for us – and OK, we might be biased, but seriously, he killed it. After nailing a gap 270 to back board on the down-flat-down early on, he switched it up, and proceeded to stomp trick after trick bolts, on every single obstacle there was. We weren’t counting, but we reckon he can’t have fallen more than twice during the whole half-hour session. And while some of the riders took their time strolling up the slope, Jamie was sprinting back up the hill after every hit, eager to get in some more. When the jam came to a close and he’d finished in 7th, we thought he’d been robbed!
Not that it really mattered – he was well in the top eight who were going through to the three run final. Jamie rode within his abilities on the first two hits, and as big name after big name stacked on the stairs, things were looking good for him. Only the final round, with four riders left to drop – and the likes of Keegan Valaika already out of the podium places, Jamie dropped in and threw down the most ridiculous front blunt combo on the down rail, spinning 270 to 50-50 halfway along and landing super-cleanly. Which put him in first place!
Hearts were in mouths as the last riders dropped… when Mike Casanova landed his hardway 270 to back lip, we couldn’t help but be a bit disappointed. But when the others fell, it hit that Jamie had just finished second! An amazing result for the Yorkshire lad, and proof positive that the UK’s rail riders are up there with the best in the world.
NIKE 6.0 STAIRSET BATTLE RESULTS
1 Mike Casanova GER/USA 89.33
2 Jamie Nicholls GBR 84.33
3 Forrest Bailey USA 82.67
4 Wojtek Pawlusiak POL 75.67
5 Keegan Valaika USA 73.00
6 Eiki Helgason ICE 68.33
7 Daniel Rajcsanyi GER 68.00
8 Boris Buhler SUI 15.00