Vienna Air King is an FMB World Tour Silver event, but it always feels like a much more prestigious contest. Together with a shed load of the world's best dirt jumpers, we got an eyeful of what's to come from some very promising newcomers.
Russian shredder Pavel Alekhin was the stand out rider on day one, laying down flip triple bar, flip bar to whip and finally flip double barspin to whip, giving him the best trick trophy. Unfortunately, Pavel crashed during practice and his final runs did not fulfil the huge amount of potential shown in qualifying.
Crowd's favourite Martin Soderstrom, having just released a hugely successful highlights clip of his 2012 season, was always going to be one to watch and did not disappoint. His runs in Vienna reaffirmed his position as a serious contender for the overall, but not for the first time in this contest lady luck was not on his side as he went down while executing a 360 double tailwhip.
With Sam Pilgrim absent, Sam Reynolds stepped up to represent the UK’s growing ranks of toothless wonders, and he once again showed his minerals, pulling numerous flip variants and a perfect 720 on the last. Unfortunately we haven't seen his signature double backflip, it’s probably still too early after his big crash last year.
Wonder kid Thomas Genon, despite carrying an ankle injury, again demonstrated his ample artillery of tricks, including a truck driver on the step up and numerous flip variants.
The winner of this year's Vienna Air King, without any doubts, was Brett Rheeder from Canada. He has a lot of tricks learned both ways, including backflip opposite tailwhip and opposite 360 barspin to barspin back. Adding consistency to that, he left the judges no choice but to give him the trophy and the king’s robe and sceptre during the final prize giving ceremony.
Once again, organizers did amazing work, preparing one of the best dirt jump contests in the world. But not only was organisation at its best, the level of riding was incredibly high, a clear step up from last year's Vienna Air King. As we saw at the first event of the season, we have witnessed some new trends this year, like pulling trick both ways, flatspin and other off-axis variations of 360s. The 2013 season has definitely started for good and we can't wait for the year ahead.