Tue, Jun 9 2009 5:49 pm |
Words and photos provided by Vans.
The Vans Let It Ride tour came to an end in Kortrijk this weekend as each team descended on the small town to compete in the Bowl contest on Saturday 6th June. The tour and contest were huge successes, showcasing what talented teams Vans supports across Europe.
Each group spent 10 sunny days on the road checking out some unexplored spots. Team Europe took in the sites of Barcelona, Sabadell and Terrassa before heading to Montpellier and Dijon. Andy Zeiss European TM says of the city “Its unbelievable how big Barcelona is and what spots it has to offer. I really think you can stay here for three months and never ride the same spots during that time”. This was reflected in the photos and footage gained by the team.
Team Germany covered lots of ground and kicked off their tour in Bremen with one of TM Steffi Weiss’ legendary BBQ’s. They stopped at the “slaughterhouse” park in Flensburg, where Ty Morrow and Bruno Hoffman entered the FlensBMX contest and took 2nd and 3rd place. Hoping over to Denmark, with Niels Thanhild, Danish BMX TM as a guide, they searched out some secret spots before heading back to Germany, then to Kortrijk to finish the tour.
Team France stayed on their home ground starting with trails in Toulouse. TM Julien Scheubel said of the week “We started the road trip with only two French riders (Lilian Conry and Alex Valentino) and Dylan Smith from the US, as the other two riders who were planned onto the tour (Anthony Lille and Nicols Cambon) were injured. Our trip was focused on riding and chilling. We rode only unknown spots in France such as our Vans Pirate Boat. To complete the team on each spot we met up with other Vans French riders such as Romuald Noirot, Alex Dropsy, Jeremy Muller, Alex Bourguignon. During this trip we drove around 3000km to finish the tour at Kortrijk.”
The UK suffered a couple of early losses with Ash Charles breaking his arm and Steve Bancroft getting out from behind his camera only to smash his face in beyond recognition. But Zack Williams and photographer Benson were drafted in as worthy replacements as the team made their way around France.
TM Andy Zeiss, Photographer Rutger Pauw, Filmer Stew Johnson
Ben Hennon, Kevin Kalkoff, Tobias Wicke, Bas Keep
TM Steffi Weiss, Photographer XMX, Filmer Dominik Worbel
Bruno Hoffman, Markus Braumann, Benny Paulsen, Timur Karadschajew. Joined by US rider Ty Morrow
TM Jon Taylor, Photographer Benson, Filmer Markus Wilke
Levi Rogers, Phil Aller, Matt Priest, Zack Williams. Joined by US rider Kym Grosser
TM Julien Scheubel, Photographer Hadrien Picard, Filmer Alex Barret.
Alex Valentino, Lilian Conry. Joined by US rider Dylan Smith
The small town of Kortrijk was over run with BMX’ers who were there to compete for the 10,000 euro prize purse on offer. Practice kicked off at 11am and there was already a crowd forming, by the time the comp kicked off at 2pm the whole of the bowl was surrounded by people eager to watch some top riding. MC DJ compared the day. Each rider had one run to qualify and as expected with US and European’s competing the standard was high. 10 riders qualified and were split into groups for the final where each had 2 main runs and a best trick run. Judges were looking for creativity and original lines as well as innovation and talent. Impressive riding came from Bas Keep, who used every part of the bowl possible and Geoff Slattery who pulled a huge gap over the cradle which sent the crowd wild and obviously impressed the judges as he took home the Pool Shark prize. But there was one rider who went faster and higher than anyone else and that was of course Ben Hennon, who has carved out a reputation for himself as one of the best riders in Europe. He banged out trick after trick on every part of the bowl, even breaking his bike in the process and quickly swapping for someone else’s to complete the comp and take 1st place.
Special mention goes to Stefan Lantschner who took home a Fiat Qubo for a month for the Most OG line.
The Vans Let It Ride photo contest was displayed at the bowl area, showcasing the best three images that summed up the tour, as chosen by each team’s photographer. The public were invited to vote for the favourite and Team Europe’s Rutger Pauw won the accolade with an image of Tobias Wicke. You can see all the short listed images at www.vans.com
The event was rounded off with the film premier at the after party where each team got to show off their hard work from the road trip. Filmers edited all night to make sure all the last bits of footage were in and the results were incredible. Team France were victorious winning the public vote for favourite video by Alex Barret. You can check out each video online at www.vans.com soon.
The riders then partied into the night with the last bits of energy they had left.
1. Ben Hennon
2. Kevin Kalkoff
3. Geoff Slattery
4. Stefan Lantschner
5. Dylan Smith
6. Sebastien Keep
7. Markus Braumann
8. Alex Valentino
9. Hannu Cools
10. Tobias Wicke
Pool Shark: Geoff Slattery
Fiat Qubo: Stefan Lantschner
Photo Award: Rutger Pauw – Team Europe
Favourite Film: Alex Barret – Team France
“After 10 days of travelling with 24-32 people across 4 teams, Vans Let it Ride had come to an end. As a part and parcel with BMX things didn’t always run smoothly, we had to deal with weather, injuries, broken bikes, schedules and 10.000 KM of driving in total. The trips worked out really well, great vibes and fantastic riding at every spot we went and the riders pushed themselves as each one really wanted to make sure their team won the video contest on Saturday night. The final bowl event in Kortrijk, Belgium was an awesome way to close the project, we wanted to create an “other” event terrain and the riders really appreciated that. Unique riding went down in the bowl and Vans EMEA rider Ben Hennon took home the win.
I wanted to say a big THANKS to Vans for making this project a reality. The trips, the bowl contest and the video and photo contests just created a unique and innovative project. Thanks to all our riders for throwing it down, to the photographers and filmers and to all people, partners and volunteers who helped us. The event really was “Off the Wall” Andy Zeiss.
Winning Photo – Rider Tobias Wicke, photographed by Rutger Pauw (Team Europe)