Round 1: ATBA-UK Series 2011

Smilie reports on the ATBA, Hales Superbole, and the first round of the UK’s leading mountainboarding series, with photos from a selection of guest contributors.

ATBAseries2011For most, the Whitsun bank holiday marks the point in the calender when summer officially begins. For a mountainboarder, it’s the first round of the ATBA-UK series that’s the signal to dig out the shorts and start thinking about those long summer evening riding sessions with your mates.

This year, summer came early on the weekend before the bank holiday. It saw board riders from all over the country packing cars & vans and heading to Cheshire to Hales Superbole for round One of the ATBAUK series.

The events are still like mini-festivals, with a couple of nights camping, tunes, beers and the randomness you would expect from a load of people staying in field. And when it comes to events, Hales Superbole always throws a good bash- it even has it’s own resident DJ’s!

So what’s new for this season? Team ATBA-UK have been busy reducing costs to make the events cheaper to run. Meaning, from last years massive price hike to £60 (for non-members) for a weekends riding, entry fees have now dropped to 20 quid for a days BX racing or freestyling. It’s cheaper still if you are a member of the ATBA-UK with all entry fees half price, plus you get cheaper entry at any mountainboard centre in the country and some money off your board shopping at a couple mountainboard shops. And without sounding like an advert for the ATBA-UK, check their website if you want to know all the ins & outs about membership…

Of course the members of the ATBA-UK committee haven’t just been sat around since last season just slashing budgets. They’re all busy beavering away. Matt Brind for instance has been busy getting the digital timing system back up and running so during practice riders can get an idea of how fast they’re going down the track before the racing even starts. Aside from this there have been no big changes since last year’s introduction of 4 man racing qualification. But there has been the addition of a new category for first time entrants, meaning if you haven’t entered an ATBA event before you get free entry into the New Novices category. As ‘The Dirt Box‘ Ade’s mate Phil found out it’s a pretty good way to get an intro mountainboard events…

It isn’t just the ATBA-UK who have been busy in the lead up to the first round. Mark Hales & the rest of the team at The Superbole have been busy making sure the centre was well groomed. The track & the bole have pretty much stayed the same with just a few tweaks here and there, but they have been busy elsewhere moving soil about and building things with pipes & wood. The first new addition you will notice is the pump track (which is more for the mountain bikers really); Blow your tires up to skatepark pressure and it’s pumping, ollie-ing, wall-riding fun. And if you’re TK then the odd front flip or rodeo won’t go a miss either – check out Ben Ryes great life-styli vimeo vid of the weekend for ATC playing about and other quality trolleyboarding 😉

As you head up the main slope, you also notice the start of another bowl being dug and the back of another decent-sized quarter- if it wasn’t enough to have one big quarter at the end of their slopestyle area in the bole! This quarter is the end of another proper looking jib area with a good mix of rails, pipes, kickers and stuff to get creative on. With the old flood lit jib park, mini ramp, slopestyle bole and bx you always had plenty to ride if you were there for the day.
Now, with all the new stuff, plus all the features and track which have been built for the bikers, there’s more than enough to keep your mountainboard thirst sated for a weekend. They even have showers and sofa’s if you plan to stay the weekend. What a centre!
So what about the event I bet you are wondering!
248321_10150198067038449_44994738448_6835730_7481458_n copyIf you were there then you know it all ran well, even if turn out was lower than last year. But if you weren’t there – you missed out! The bx racing on saturday was close: wheel to wheel with lots of over-taking on different parts of the course. And the brave riders who make like the Trotters (he who dares Rodney, he who dares) and hip the tightest into the steep, get the just rewards by gaining places. But don’t be too brave like ATBshop’s Ant Wilson, who popped too early and slightly tighter than normal with the end result of pretty much missing the steep and near enough flat landing it. Props also have go PUATB’s own Lisa Mclernon for proving there isn’t much of a gender gap in mountainboarding and making it all way to the semi finals of the Pro category, till she was knocked out the air putting one last over-taking move ATBshop’s Beiran SM. Still, there were no hard feelings with both of them crossing the finish line holding hands- ‘I don’t think I ever seen that before in boardercross racing!!’
As well as the ATBA event regulars, it was also good to see a few new faces making their presence felt in the racing and ‘new’ teams like PUATB turning up in force….
When the racing was all done, the beers were opened and bbq’s lit and the Saturday night Bolesworth fun got started. Of Caves, beers, fires (breathing and standing round), ciders. Myles-wrestling and SteveO and Co banging out the tunes. Sunday morning arrived with most being woken by Raph on the loud hailer, annocing when registration for freestyle was going to open. Luckily for all those who were up late the freestyle wasn’t planned to kick off before the very civilised time of 12 o’clock.
Hales superbole 11 14
By the time the day had ticked round to the afternoon unfortunately the wind had started blowing and the day was pretty dull and over cast. The gray and windy condtions didn’t seam to have much effect on the competitors though, with everyone trying their best to light up the freestyle amphitheater which is the Hales Superbole slopestyle.
Riders were throwing down in all categories even before we got to the 45 minute Pro Jam… Emlyn Bainbridge was stomping fives and local Oscar Travis was looking sick as always. Keep an eye out for those two as they are only in the Juniors at the mo! Lisa Mclernon was also showing she is as good at trickin’ as she is at riding down tracks by landing three’s despite a swollen knee bone. There was loads of sick tricks, stylish moves, hucks, and stacks. Check out all the photos!!! Then to finish the weekend off we had what most people had been waiting for: the Pro Freestyle Jam. In the brief gap between sessions, the cunning spectators rushed off to the caterers to score one of their amazing hot chocolates- smothered in whipped cream & marshmallows- to warm up. It goes without saying by the time they had settled back into their seats with their beverages, the action was hotting up too. No-one was disappointed by the first ATBAUK Pro Jam of the year; Ironsides James Wanklyn was going huge with style, MBS’s Matt Brind seemed to be rotating sevens all ways, and Chris Horsley was owning the quarter by going bigger than anyone else. It’s also worth mentioning MBS’s Pete Hills burly style has come of age with him rockin’ plenty of steeze over the big table top…
With the end of the Pro Jam, that was it for round 1 of the ATBAUK competition series at Hales Superbole. With results collated, prizegiving took place to rapturous applause and woopwoops…
If you want to know who finished where, the results are at the ATBA-UK here!
So round 1 was another great event… it was real good to catch up with all those peeps you didn’t see over the winter, and for the newbies to experience the fun that is to be had at these comps… A big thanks needs to go to Raph, Roger, and all the ATBAUK event crew for running things so smoothly. Not forgetting thanks to Mark and his Team for playing host and proving when it comes to running centres, mountainboarders know best 😉
Wanna see more photo’s in glorious Removision from Hales then head to Eveey’s photo gallery
Next up: Round 2 @ The Edge on the 18th of June. Riders ready?!
Hales superbole 11 15
  Words by Jon Garfitt, with many thanks to all photographic contributors.