UK Series ’15 – Round 5, BoarderX and Freestyle at Another World

Round 5 (or should we say Rained 5?) was hosted by Another World, and boy were we glad we were racing on their all weather track! Qualifying went off without a hitch, and the dry, fast and smooth track hosted some great races and close finishes. As qualifying came to a close, the rain decided to make things extra interesting by throwing some spice into the mix in the form of continual rain with heavy bursts. After the number crunching, and wishful waiting game, break the rain didn’t let up but the UK mountainboard contingent showed the famous mountainboarder mettle and braved the mud and rain to get the racing finished.

The Knockouts kicked off with a cracker of a race between Mark Hale and Leon Dove, who were racing to claim to top qualifying spot which ended with Leon Dove attempting a nollie frontflip to get over the finish line as Mark made a late overtake. The attempt was successful, depending on how you look at it, as it lead to a dead heat, with three of us on the finish line unable to determine who had won. The race was re-run, the boys were gentlemanly and swapped gates and leading position down the track. This time, Mark Hale blundered and slide out in the final chicane however Leon was unable to dodge and went down with him. Both riders crawled with all their might to the finish line to claim the all important top spot (giving you gate choice) with Leon’s powerful crawl proving too much for Mark.

This weekend’s big BoarderX upset came in the shape of Matt Brind. It was the first round of knockouts and Andy Brind was leading the race, with Matt in second and Andy Dumelow on his back wheels in third. Matt slid out in the final chicane, leaving Andy Brind and Andy Dumelow to progress to the next round and end Matt’s four year streak of making the finals in BoarderX (to raucous cheers and applause). As we got closer to the finals, the rain got heavier leaving riders struggling to see where they were going and increase the number of slides and, by extension, the amounts of cheers and laughs of the brave crowd of spectators and Amanda on the finish line. bRad Sykes didn’t have any competition unfortunately, but used the opportunity to get used to his new board and improve his wet weather skills which, we think everyone will agree, improved run on run.

The Masters was another battle between the top seeds Leon Dove, Mark Hale and with Scott Leadbitter thrown in the mix. Wheel to wheel to wheel into the first corner, Leon was on the outside but was caught out by the constantly changing grip and span out leaving the gates open for Mark and Scott to battle down the rest of the track, with Mark pinching the victory. In the Seniors, George Pollard has a great day at the office, qualifying first and taking the win with Graham ‘Cheb’ Wedderburn close on his wheels and Simon Neck in third. The Pro final was a scrap between locals Alex Smith and Jack Chew with Andy Brind in the mix for his first Pro finals. Andy got half a boards lead out of the gate but the ferocious competitive nature of Alex saw him overtaken into the first corner, and a sunglasses removal for Andy half way down saw Jack get out of his reach. Alex rode a blinding finals to take a deserved win, following through on his first place qualifying and giving him his first Pro BoarderX victory with Jack Chew in a solid second and Andy Brind third. In classic fashion, 30 minutes after the BoarderX was finished and the prize giving started, we were graced with glorious sunshine!

simon-neck-crazy-back-flip-barrel-rollSunday came along and fortunately it only rained a little over night and only drizzled intermittently during the morning. The jumps were running slow but were still trickable. Everyone came together for one big jam. bRad showed that practice makes perfect as he was first on the hill to get practicing and progressed from straight airs to floaty grabs and landing a 180 on his final run. Claire Cannell made an appearance in the Ladies for her first ride in three years and looked solid all day long with some nice runs and airs. In the Masters, Mark Hale was looking worse for wear but pulled off a steezy backside shifty frontside 180 on his last run but he wasn’t able to match the 180-ing madness and solid grabbing of Neil Kimmins, who took second. Scott Leadbitter made the most of the absence of his Masters Overall and Andre La Roche Memorial Trophy rival, Harry Jessop, and threw down in the freestyle, landing 360s and 180s to take the top spot.

The Seniors saw Simon Neck return to his old crazy form, attempting his strange backflip/barrel roll/rodeo trick. At the top, Morgan Price and Cheb were battling to land similar runs of switch 180, 360, 360. Cheb managed to stick the run at the end of the competition and just pip Morgan to Gold. In the Pros, Mark Adams came straight out the gates with a frontflip, backflip and cork 5, finishing off his session with a fs 720, a cab 540 and attempting switch frontflips. This was enough for the 15 year old to edge out Matt Brind and claim the Gold for himself, becoming the first person to beat Matt in a freestyle competition since James Wanklyn back in 2012. Matt put down some impressive runs and secured the Silver with frontside 360 one footers, cab 360s, cab 540s, frontside 540s, corked 540s and nollie frontflips with two failed 720 attempts at the end potentially costing him the win. Andy Brind and Alex Smith fought it out for the Bronze, with Alex throwing nollie frontflips and backflips while Andy was linking runs of 180s, 360s and 540s. In the end, Andy’s trick-filled runs and a couple of big frontside 540 melons claimed him third place.

The results are on the ATBA-UK website.

Words by Matt Brind. Photos by Samm Heathcote, Marah Andrei and Connor Smout