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Recap: Red Bull Pump Track Worlds

October 15, 2018 by · Comments Off 

David Graf of Switzerland wins the  first-ever Pump Track World Championships

By Brian Strieby

In action sports Red Bull is known for putting on some very innovative events, so last year when details came out about a pump track world championships, with qualifying events all over the world, and a final, there was a lot of interest.

Pump tracks have been popping up all over the world, and have became a great venue for a broad spectrum of riders. Young or old, race, street, or mountain bike, all you need is a set of wheels to have fun.

Red Bull tapped into this rider base with no limits on wheel size, or proficiency for their series, and had a class for the ladies also.

When the news started started showing up about the first event held in Indonesia, I was excited to see that the event looked like a blast, the pump track was rad and well built, and had attracted a lot of riders on a bunch of different bikes. At that point, one had to wonder, what kind of bike would have a advantage: BMX, or a mountain bike?

I knew I had to get in on this new format, so in May, after begging for time off work, made my way down to the event in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The first thing that became apparent was that these events were extremely fun. There was a pretty relaxed attitude, even to the point you would find yourself cheering for the rider you knew you were going to be going against in the next round.

It also demonstrated the ability to pull riders that were relatively unknown into the spotlight. This was demonstrated there when a rider wearing a flannel shirt by the name of Keagan Nelson beat out Free Agents Alex Bob to go head to head with Tommy Zula. Zula took the win on his mountain bike, and it started to look like the bigger wheel size might have a ever so slight advantage. It was hard to judge, but looked like Tommy might have been able to win on your grandma’s bike.

The final event of the series went down this past weekend in Springdale, Arkansas. I decided to make the short 12 hr drive in a desperate attempt to qualify at the last chance qualifier the day before.

The surrounding area has become a biking mecca of sorts, with a USA BMX track nearby, and a vast mountain bike trail system funded by the Walton Foundation. WalMart’s corporate headquarters are in nearby Bentonville.

Velosolutions had been taking care of designing and building all of the pump tracks for the events, and had just recently finished building the track.

When I arrived for practice and started riding the track, I was very impressed. This was the most technical, smoothest, and well designed pump track I had ever seen. All the features were excellently designed, including the back to back, tight, steep triple berms, and some steep, deep “consecutive rollers” that only a hand full of riders were jumping. The corners could hold so much speed it was scary.

It quickly dawned on me what a truly world event it was when realized how many countries and the depth of talent from a variety of biking disciplines that were represented.

Brian Strieby at the Red Bull Pump Track World ChampionshipsLet’s be honest, it’s not every day when you have a mix of past BMX Olympians, the current Elite Women BMX World Champion, assorted other Elite Men and Women BMX racers, Mountain Bikers that race enduro, riders that race both MTB and BMX, hardcore Mountain Bikers, dirt jumpers that have never raced, and one washed up vert ramp riding vet pro BMX racer (above…the photo was Carruth’s idea)–all at the same event.

Rain started to fall as the time trials got under way for the LCQ. Barry Nobles won on the men’s side, securing him a spot for the final the next day. He had failed to qualify at an earlier event with a wreck that, as he told me later, allowed his competitor that day, a rider that was over 50 years old, to move on in qualifying, a dream come true for him.

Jordan Scott won the women's LCQ at the Red Bull Pump Track World Championships

Jordan Scott won the women’s LCQ at the Red Bull Pump Track World Championships

The Worlds final that kicked off the next day truly-was a world championship event, with riders from far from locations around the globe. Red Bull had poured-in a ton of support for the top riders, with paid airfare and hotel rooms to get them to the event.

On the men’s side, the field of 40 was narrowed down to 16, with one hour to put your fastest time up.

You got to do a rolling start to get up to speed before starting your time. Later in qualifying and all the way to the final events, the format was different, with riders going head to head starting from a dead stand still.

This format was a little controversial, with some of the mountain bikers making the argument that the BMX bikes had more of an advantage off the start. All the participants were having a blast and having fun with fist bumps and hugs after races, despite the light rain that had set in.

Tommy Zula had the top qualifying time till the French rider Eddy Clerte posted a faster lap. The Swiss ride of David Graf was looking good, as well.

Clerte made it to the final round to go head to head with David Graf. Barry Nobles almost made the final, but in the semi round against Graf, he was ahead at the half way mark but a bobble in the triple s-corners kept him out of the final.

In the final race, David Graf and Eddy Clerte lined up, the starting gun was fired, and Clerte slipped his petals, costing him the title of world champion and three thousand five hundred dollars in prize money. Graf rode to an easy victory and became the first-ever pump track world champion.

Christa Von Niederhausern wins the Womens World Final at the Red Bull Pump Track World Championship
On the woman’s side, it was cool to see the rainbow jersey of the current UCI BMX Elite Women World Champion, Laura Smulders. She ended up in the semis going head to head with her sister Merel, with Merel winning and moving on to face Christina Von Niederhuasern (above) in the final lap. Von Niederhausern prevailed in the finals for the title.

It was really cool to participate in an event like this. Red Bull did a great job of marketing the series and put a lot of work into it. The pump tracks are top notch, the format is great, letting you race riders you would have never otherwise had competed against.

There is talk of the series making a comeback next year, so if you missed out this year, keep your eyes open for next years series details.

I think this style of racing has potential to become a force to be reckoned with. Even though BMX racers took the top spots this time around, I’m sure the question as to what bike size is faster is far from over.

It was fun racing with people that I usually don’t race with. It was crazy to see how good these riders were. There is a 16 year old kid on a jump bike from Scotland just killing it, then moments later, pro BMXer David Graf.

It’s not about classes or age or the bike you ride, it’s relatable to a whole family. It’s amazing that it gets so many different types of riders together. Coming to this race I was just super excited to see where I was against other riders, both male and female. If they bring it back to the States in 2019, I’ll definitely be there.

Editor’s Note: Strider Bikes was set up at the event, to introduce the next generation of riders to the two-wheeled lifestyle. News will have some photos and a brief recap of their experience later in the week.

Highlights from the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ)

Highlight reel from the Final Day:

Red Bull Pump Track World Championship Results

Men’s Podium
1. David Graf (SUI)
2. Eddy Clerte (FRA)
3. Barry Nobles (USA)

Women’s Podium
1. Christa Von Niederhausern (SUI)
2. Merel Smulders (NLD)
3. Laura Smulders (NLD)


Photo Credits
Top Photo: Dan Griffiths / Red Bull Content Pool
Jordan Scott Photo: Ryan Fudger / Red Bull Content Pool
Brian Strieby Photo: Ryan Fudger / Red Bull Content Pool
Christa Von Niederhausern Photo: Ryan Fudger / Red Bull Content Pool

Caroline Buchanan in Hospital After “Vehicle Roll”

January 2, 2018 by · Comments Off 

Caroline Buchanan Rollover
Things are said to be “moving in a positive direction” for Caroline Buchanan after what has been described as a “vehicle roll,” leading-up to New Year’s in Australia.

The above image was posted to Caroline’s Instagram on Tuesday with the following caption:

I wouldn’t say 2017 ended quite as planned. Its been a rough couple of days in ICU after a vehicle roll. I just moved to a private room and everything is moving in a positive recovery direction.

Injuries are… Broken sternum, broken nose, collapsed lungs. I’ll will keep you guys up to date as we go.

Happy New Year! Off season just got a little more tough!!

Not much else in the way of details are available about the accident, but News will monitor Caroline’s recovery, and report back as details emerge. The good news is that her main man, Barry Nobles, is by her side and even posted up some scenes in his Instagram story of Caro on a hallway walkabout (a few steps at a time). All good stuff, given her list of injuries.

Our prayers and positive vibes are with our friend for a speedy and complete recovery, and we hope BMX News readers will join us in that effort.

—Mike Carruth




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Caroline Buchanan Wins 4x Worlds

September 10, 2016 by · Comments Off 

Caroline Buchanan wins 4x Worlds

After crushing disappointment in the first turn of the Olympic semi in Rio, Caroline Buchanan dusted off and headed back out to the next race. After some chill time with main man, Barry Nobles in Europe, the pair ended up in Italy for the 2016 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships Read more

Barry & Caroline: A Day in the Life

March 21, 2016 by · Comments Off 

Barry Nobles and Caroline Buchanan Edit

ODI is out today (well yesterday, actually), with a “Day In The Life” edit featuring Barry and Caroline. The four-minute show makes good on its promise, and gives us a quickfire run through a typical day of our favorite action couple.

The video was shot and edited by BMX dirt/freestyle star Ryan Guettler, and we have to give Ryan the big props for a job well done. The full shoot was, in fact, over one day, and Barry tells us they ran out of time for this one, and hinted that a part II might be in the works.



We also asked Barry to list-out the locations featured in the edit. Here’s what he said:

-My house
-My 110 track behind my neighborhood
-FOD Trails
-Perris (Grandprix BMX) track

Good stuff, all around! We hope there are more in the series coming down the pike.

Trivia: Their French Bulldog’s name is “Jax.”

Links

ODI Website






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Roadtrip Notebook: Jonas Harmon – St. Etienne

December 19, 2014 by · Comments Off 

Jonas Harmon at St. Etienne

Talk of going to France started a few month back between Sean Gaian and I. Then, in September, Sean got hurt and I thought the trip was off. But shortly before the Grands, Steve Spencer told me the trip was on, and that Felicia would be joining me. In Tulsa, I spoke with Barry Nobles, and he said he was going as well, so GT and DK would be teaming up for an American invasion.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by our hosts from Frenchys Distribution. They would be taking care of the three of us during our stay.

Jonas Harmon and Felicia Stancil in Lyon, France
Felicia and I arrived a day prior to Barry, so this gave us an opportunity to tour the City of Lyon. Lyon is the third largest city in France and we were both excited to see the town, and dine on horse. Yes, horse! It was all-good until we left the restaurant and saw some horses at a Christmas festival, then I felt bad for eating their brother.

The next morning, we toured the Frenchy’s warehouse. It was awesome! They specialize in BMX, so we were stoked to see their setup. They also had a quarterpipe, which we rode, getting rid of some of the cobwebs of the trip-over, and laughs all the way around. We then headed back to pick up Barry at the airport, then back to St. Etienne to check out the track.

Thursday night at the track could have gone a little better, that’s for sure. During practice, they were letting everyone have a free for all, rollout-style practice, and that is when Felicia took a digger. A little guy went down in the middle of a jump out of turn one and Felicia didn’t see him, as she exited the corner. It was all over but the crying. She went down pretty hard and they carted her off in a wheelchair.

I knew she hit her head, but didn’t know what else. They soon called me back to be with her, and informed us they called an ambulance, and that we were going to the hospital. “Dont worry, its all free.” They said. So, yeah, we went to hospital, and it sucked.

First thing they did was ask her where it hurt. She showed them, then all-of-the-sudden the doctor straight-up hits her in the back. She let out the most excruciating scream I have ever heard. My mind was blown that he would do that! Over the next five hours, they did some X-rays and left us sitting for what seemed like forever. In the end, they didn’t check her head, and said everything was fine. I could go on and on about this form of medicine, but I’ll save you my rants for another time.

Friday was pretty uneventful. The heat wasn’t on at the arena, and it was cold. Barry bought a pair of socks for 29 Euros ($35) to try and stay warm. We laughed, but he was pumped. Practice was ok, though I crashed on the pro section. Thank the maker for gymnastic pads.

Saturday was the big race for the Elite men— the “Trophée des Nations” (Trophy of Nations). Around 200 entries from all over Europe, and it was such an incredible race/event to watch.

I couldn’t believe how many people were there, and the production they put on. “Indescribable” is most appropriate. It was standing-room-only, and even at that, you were shoulder to shoulder, seven people deep in the walkways.

The French Federation pays for radio time, TV time, newspapers, and billboards to promote this race. BMX fans and everyday spectators crammed into the arena to watch the race.

I would have to say the track is the toughest track I have ridden this year, maybe ever. The changing elevations, mixed with the large, super-deep doubles, random rhythm, and large off-camber rollers in the entrance and exits of the corners made for some interesting tactics.

Barry Nobles at St. Etienne 2014
Barry was killing it through his motos and 1/8th finals, and was looking prime into quarters, until he found the dust on the wooden starting hill, making him spin for three consecutive pedal strokes. He made the transfer to semis but would end up as last gate-pick, landing him in gate 8.

He was making up ground and went for a move in turn two but the turn couldn’t hold him, and he went down. Day two for Barry was more of the same. Killing motos, and working his way back into the semi but drawing last gate pick he was put on the outside again. Short straights made it hard to do work from the outside, and Barry would have to settle for a fifth in the semi as well for day two.

One thing I can say about Barry: it’s like traveling with a rockstar. Everywhere we went, fans were stopping to get pictures and autographs. At one point I had to play the “fullback,” and block for him so we could leave the building and get some food. It was refreshing to see him always take time for pictures and talk to the fans. He’s an amazing ambassador, and is the true definition of a “professional.”

Felicia Stancil at 2014 Saint-Étienne
Felicia, our “concussion queen,” was able to re-focus and work her way into the main both days. Facing incredible French and Dutch comp, as well as the ever-so-fast Mariana Pajon, this would be no easy race. She was able to stay composed and did what she had to do. Fly’n Felicia would finish the weekend with the two-spot both days, behind Mariana (and a zero- balance at the hospital). Much like Barry, Felicia is always a professional, signing tons of autographs and taking photos with fans, she too is a great ambassador for BMX Racing.

My race day was Sunday, and I really had no idea what to expect. Our host for the week informed me that I had the French champion, European champion, World 7, and World 3 riders to compete against, but I had no idea. I was going to have some fun, and see what I could do.

Jonas Harmon on the 2014 St. Etienne Podium
In the end, I was able to put it together, and would win every lap that day. The race got a little interesting in turn two, when a competitor took his foot off the pedals and cut the corner straight into me (top photo), but I race some big boys here in the States and they prepared me well for this. I pedaled out of it, and was able to squeak-out the win. I couldn’t believe it!

So many thanks go out to everyone who make these trips possible. Thanks to GT Bicycles, Steve Spencer, and all my incredible sponsors, but most of all thanks to my wife for letting me pretend I’m a kid and chase my dreams. I hope more Americans make the trek to experience this event in future years.

Upward and onward!

-Jonas

Links

GT Bicycles Website

DK Bikes Website

A big BMX News thank you for help on the photos by

Fabien at FABMX1.COM

Bruno at BMXR.IT



Next: Joris Daudet Red Bull France Edit






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Barry Nobles Check in From Manchester

April 15, 2014 by · Comments Off 

Barry Nobles at Manchester BMX Club

Barry Nobles posted the below YouTube clip yesterday, as members of Team USA rocked out a pre-SX session at the Manchester BMX Club’s “Platt Fields Park BMX track.”

What he said in the Facebook version of the post made a lot of sense to us:

Rode Platt Fields Park BMX track today here in Manchester, England. One of the most fun amateur tracks I’ve ridden in awhile. No pro set either. No reason we shouldn’t have more tracks like this in the states.

I watched kids who looked like they rolled in from the street and were having a blast on loaner bikes. Track operators don’t be scared to pack jumps into tight straights or add an extra roller somewhere. It’s only going to make our younger BMXers better for the future.

The 40+ guys, I love seeing you guys still riding but I’ve seen too jumps being changed because a dad couldn’t ride it well. Why is that? becuase everything we have now is jumpable for all skill levels.

I love this sport and just want to see the progression growing and back wheels leaving the ground.

Anyone ever have questions. I’d love to help in anyway I can. No matter where the track is.



Links

DK Bicycles Website

Barry Nobles YouTube Channel

This Shot: Barry Nobles

January 20, 2014 by · Comments Off 

Barry Nobles - This Shot

We spotted this action selfie of Barry and Luke Madill on Facebook over the weekend. It is just the kind of shot we want to know more about, so it is today’s “This Shot.”

Here’s what Barry said about it:

How did you capture the image?

On my GoPro Hero3 (video setting) Just grabbed a screen shot from the video.

Where was the camera mounted to get that perspective?

I had the GoPro taped to the top of my hand and just hit the second straight as normal with Luke next to me. Just did a little whip and stretched the ol hand out there.

Anything else you’d like to add about the photo or the session?

Always stoked to know you guys out there love my pics.

Great shot, great action from what must have been an awesome session.

Here is a sweet “drone-enhanced” video edit from the session at Luke Madill’s place:



Links

DK Bicycles Website

Barry and Brooke Buddy-Up With BOX

March 11, 2013 by · Comments Off 

Brooke Crain and Barry Nobles sign with BOX Components

News reported just before Phoenix that Caroline Buchanan signed with BOX components. Editing the Oldsmar photos, we noticed Barry and Brooke rockin the BOX forks, and select other goodies. Just then, the BMX News ticker started..well…tickin’ with some official orations on the additions.

Barry Nobles sent the following quotable:

I’m really excited to start the new season with a new company with a growing brand. BOX is only like a year old, but it’s already a leader in design and innovation and is really popular with BMX racers. It’s exciting to be a part of that.

With the quick turnaround between Phoenix and Oldsmar, seems we didn’t scrutinize the photos close enough, because Team Toby tells us Barry was on the BOX carbon X forks, Focus rims, Genius brake lever, Promax P-1 brakes, BOX Concentric cable and BOX X-Ray pads, and more as of the Winternationals.

Brooke added her bit:

I’m excited to run the BOX forks. I rode them for the first time this past weekend in Oldsmar and I loved them. They are super lightweight, which is what I like the best about them.

Toby told it true on these two:

On Barry: We’re really looking forward to working with Barry this year. He’s one of the most stylish and skilled riders in BMX racing. He’s also super professional, has a great attitude and is really picky about the part he uses, so we’ll learn a thing or two from him.

On Brooke: It’s good to be working with Brooke again this year. As one of the most popular riders in both USA BMX events and on the World Cup circuit, we’re very fortunate that she approached us to be her fork sponsor. With a line of three professional-level forks with 20-mil dropouts, from the base X to the lightweight Xl and oversize X2, we have a fork to fit her every race need.

The countdown clock is on to Desoto. What will we see in two short weeks?

Note: Brooke rides for Haro Bikes as her main sponsor. It just so happens the photo clearly showing her on the forks was from Friday Night’s UCI Continental Championships, where a USA jersey was required.

Links

BOX Components Website

Promax on Facebook

Red Bull REvolution Sparks Words With Friends

August 23, 2012 by · Comments Off 

Link to the Red Bull Revolution webcast via BMXNEWS.COM

The first events of the Red Bull R.Evolution got under way today in Berlin, Germany. We have been watching social media attentively over the past few days, as Tweets from LAX and East-Coast hop-over points #JFK started to show the key people moving over the Atlantic, like some sort of aggro invasion. The track looks amazing, and it is going to be one heck of a show tomorrow, when the webcast goes live on RedBull.tv at around 1PM Eastern Time.

Barry Nobles posted the above shot to Instagram and Facebook (possibly shot by Steve Spencer). Barry is in the middle (in case you could not tell, via the “Nobles 95″ on his jersey). On the left is Chris Christenssen from Denmark, and on the right is Darryn Goodwin from Australia. This is from the last straight style section where, according to lore, the athletes will earn cash for laying up tricks after the speed run is done.

Putting the Fun Back In…

The event boldly states, as one of its goals, that it is going to “put the fun back into BMX,” a statement that is mildly offensive to BMX traditionalists, who take issue with the assertion that BMX is not fun in its current form, and must go looking for ways to add fun in. Like putting a couple extra packets of sugar in your can of Red Bull, because if sweet is good, double sweet must be better!

Add to that, the fact that, with a name like “R.Evolution” (a clever combination of Revolution and Evolution), it begs the question: “is someone, somewhere, thinking THIS will be the (“new,-improved,-now-with-more-fun”) direction our sport tries to take in the future?”

We posed this question to event promoter and one of the masterminds behind the event, Johan Lindstrom, when we interviewed him earlier this month. (Click to open Podcast in new window)

At 13:19 in the podcast, we ask Johan if the sport has a chance at being a TV spectator sport WITHOUT becoming more extreme. He said, “Absolutely!…the sport has what it needs to succeed….The Red Bull (event) is just icing on the cake, (with it) being shown a little different way.” We liked that answer. A lot.

Later, at 15:13, we asked Johan if he saw Olympic BMX racing eventually morphing in to the Red Bull format, where racing and tricks were incorporated into the Olympic Program?

Naturally, there is concern, among BMX Racing purists, who feel even the current state of Supercross racing is beyond the scope of “true BMX Racing,” so we were interested in hearing Johan’s response to the question of whether we will see so-called “progression” to a point where Olympic BMX becomes a new hybrid species of speed and style. His answer came quick, “no, honestly, I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Influential Opinions Heat Things Up

As the world waits for the revolution to be webcast, Wednesday night, a Transatlantic clash of the titans got underway, via Twitter, with Tony Hoffman, non-plussed by the whole thing, Tweeting:

BMX racing… IS not Redbull Event.. Maybe to some people.. Just not the best in the world.

(then a whole bunch of responses with @JustinTravis)

Then Mike Day, Tweeting from Germany, jumped in, Tweeting back:

So over your opinions on BMX events. One of our sports downfalls is guys like you. Beat it. #makeamain then talk. @TonymHoffman

(then a few hours, and some other tweets where T-Hoff directly addressed the slam, but the net result was…)

Tony jumped back in:

All i’m saying is these events don’t help BMX grow.. No one is going to change my mind on that until it works

Haro TM, Derek Betcher, a figure usually engaged in online parry-and-thrust, not breaking it up, came in as the voice of reason, Tweeting, “…You guys gotta shut it down #pointless.” Good advice, DB!

The two heroes patched things up, and it’s all good among the friends now. We include this Tweet-chain to demonstrate that, like the politics that is raging daily in the non-BMX world, there is a lot of passion for BMX Racing, and the ideas surrounding the direction the sport will take in the coming years.

A Debate for the Ages

The debate is one that will go on, to be sure. BMX Racing DOES have to be sensitive about losing its identity further–especially “classic” BMX racing, that encompasses the local scene.

If BMX racing were viewed as a “Brand,” what would it be? Would it be the tens of thousands of riders who participate in “classic BMX Racing,” would it be national racing, where the skills of the exceptional riders begin to break away from what is possible in the lower ranks (demanding more puffed-up tracks, and the ecosystem that supports it)? Would it be BMX Supercross, which is orders-of-magnitude removed from the local program?

Anyone who knows branding would look at the above, and tell you that BMX Racing cannot be all of those things simultaneously. McDonald’s isn’t known as a place to go for hot dogs and fine steaks–and that isn’t an accident. “BMX Racing…what are you?” Is a question to be answered.

That said, it is not necessarily important for every, any and all events to have a direct responsibility for “promoting the sport.”

We would like to see more effort made by the UCI Supercross series to make the connection back to “classic BMX,” if for no other reason, to improve the context for what the SX athletes are doing, and helping spectators understand that SX is not what they will encounter at their local track.

…But For Now, All About the Fun

A one-off event like the Red Bull R.Evolution is something we have not seen in BMX Racing in quite some time. It was pretty cool to see the riders out there working on the track, hanging out together as BMXers, not Team A against Team B and you go to your pit and I’ll see you in staging next time. It looked like a fun time, and we’re stoked for them, and for what tomorrow holds.

It’s not for points, it’s not for titles, it’s not for medals or some beyond-the-horizon goal. It is just…for lack of a better word…about the fun for the riders– and entertainment for the spectators. Maybe the evolution part already happened.

Thanks to Barry Nobles and GSX for the photo

Links

Red Bull R.Evolution Streaming Webcast Link


Comments






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USAC BMX Elite Portraits

January 28, 2012 by · Comments Off 

USA Cycling BMX Elite Women

During our trip to the US Olympic Training Center/Chula Vista earlier this month, we were privileged to shoot individual headshots of all the riders taking part in the Elite Camp. We thought you’d enjoy seeing some of your favorite riders suited up in their Team USA Jerseys.

We are saving the goof-around outtakes for a more opportune time :)

Check Out The Photo Gallery Now

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