Meet my new coach…
Most of the riders said that one of the highlights for them was the 14-hour drive from the FMB event at FISE in Montpellier to Winterberg. (No, really!) The organisers arranged a big nightliner for all the contestants. The journey started at midnight, after the FISE award ceremony and with a few hours to gather all the guys in one place. Riders felt like rock stars in this luxurious bus with all the speakers and TVs popping up from the walls; so you can imagine how the party looked. Szymon Godziek called me from there at 5am to say goodnight!
A crash course in humour
When the course is as big and dangerous as the one at Red Bull Berg Line, unfortunately some nasty crashes are bound to happen. During one of his first training runs, Benny Phillips cased the wallride landing and hit the ground pretty hard. It resulted in a broken collarbone and ended the contest for him, but it didn't stop him from telling a few jokes. When the medics asked him where they were and what day it was, “Tuesday, France,” was his answer. “I'm so used to those questions, I always have to think what to say to freak them out,” he quipped.
Please feel free to drop in… or not
Usually, European slopestyle courses are more about technical dirt jumps than the American and Canadian ones. Even the world’s top dirt riders had some troubles with the first big drop. Guys like Sam Pilgrim and Sam Reynolds stopped riding after a few training runs until their qualification runs. Second-placed Reynolds had ridden the top section of the course only five times by the end of the final – including one qualification and one final run. But that didn't prevent the old continent's riders from showing off – the whole podium went to the European hardtail-bike riders in the end.
Berrecloth fail is an auntie-climax
Some of the riders are way too good for their (young) age and they need someone older to come along for their intercontinental trips. This time, it was Anthony Messere's aunt, and it was a very intense week for her, that's for sure. The highlight must’ve been Darren Berrecloth's over-rotated flair, which almost knocked her off the hill. But watchingher nephew win the fourth place prize must have compensated for all the inconveniences.
A smashing time at pizza hut
During the after-party, some of the UK riders went a bit crazy, resulting in them smashing some pizza on the ceiling of the nearby pizza house. Benny Phillips, already mentioned earlier, was also trying his best to cause mayhem by tapping his glass against another a bit too hard, smashing both of them. Not much riding for a guy like Benny results in using your energy somewhere else…