June 13, 2004
Apprehensive is how I felt while heading out to the UK for the Red Bull 3 Degrees event. Ive heard a bunch of good things about events that Red Bull has put on, but have never been to one to experience it for myself until now, so I was kinda in the dark. After much hard work and some rescheduling, etnies managed to get some of its bad-ass team out to the Oval Basin in Wales to check out the festivities on the weekend of June 13. Team members present were Rooftop, Dave Freimuth, John Heaton and Garrett Byrnes. Other etnies riders from various spots around the globe included Ben Hennon, Luke Marchant and probably some others, but I canҒt remember right now.
The whole idea behind the 3 Degrees event is that the street course is set-up on a downgrade, kinda like a snowboard halfpipe, but just with street obstacles. The angle of the Oval Basin is three degrees, hence the title of the event. The course was pretty spread out in an amphitheater of sorts, and many riders felt the ramps were too far apart with too much flat in between to really be put to good use. But after everyones runs, it seemed like all those thoughts were thrown out the window, because pretty much everyone killed it.
The finals were pretty wild and there was a good feel going in. Everyone was pumped and, for the most part, judging went according to plans. Coming in 12th was Luke Marchant, an etnies UK rider who was very Garrett Byrnes-ish in his riding style, except with a few more biggish tricks like tailwhips and big 360s. Coming in 11th was etnies UK rider Ben Hennon brandishing his big, burly, balls-to-the-wall style. This guy would put a motor on his bike to go faster if he could. He went big--a little too big at times-- which is why he crashed a bunch. No self-preservation for this guy.
Germany's Senad Grosic has a very strict tech style. He rode with the 3rd place rider in the finals and it showed. Senad claimed 10th. 9th went to AlabamaҒs resident Ford lover and all round BMX phenom, Cory Martinez. Cory is awesome, but this course just wasnt his thing--not enough street-style obstacles to satisfy his pallet. 8th went to the etnies slasher from New Jersey, Garrett Byrnes, who went into the event with a broken wrist. Garrett had fun anyway and it showed, as he threw the biggest, fattest Greg Hill tucks over the 6.5 box jump I have ever seen--a good twelve feet plus--not to mention some fast lines. He finished things off with an awesome fakie transfer across a twelve-foot channel. You could hear the song ғWipe Out playing in the background when Garrett rode.
Baz Keep helped design and build the course, so he kinda had an upper hand. He rode smooth and went big, but a few too many wrecks kept him from placing higher than 7th. Rooftop honestly did quite amazingly, considering he lives in Southern California, where there is next to nothing to ride unless you want to drive three hours to Woodward or sit in traffic and schedule your riding around the Vans park sessions. Mike went into the comp really not feeling much like riding the course because of the above stated reasons, but after his prelim runs, it was evident his mood had changed. Sporting big ol' 720s, a couple of barspins here and there, a dope no-hander held for months, plus some original grind lines and, to finish things off, a feeble to 180 on the huge jersey barrier at full speed to 180 out, pulled clean. Rooftop was stoked and did well enough for 6th.
Next up was a guy not too many people had heard of, but after this event there was no doubt in anyoneԒs minds what a bad-ass Hanno Cools from Belgium is. With looks that matched his name, Hanno pulled some big moves with a decent mix of tech stuff to nail down 5th. 4th went to etnies own John Heaton. He was having fun throughout the day--especially on the box jumps--and, come his runs in the finals, he was a full-on ball of energy, displaying huge no-handers, flips to manual, a big nothing, and he capped his run off with one of the moves of the comp--an alley oop 360 from one box jump to another, pulled silky smooth.
Germany has been breeding some pretty serious riders as of late. A lot of guys saw Tobias Wicke coming and he has definitely made his mark with one of the most tech styles out there. But Tobias still throws down the big moves like flipwhips and double whips, claiming 3rd spot on this day. Ball of energyӔ are words that also describe the 2nd place rider from San Diego, Gary Young. Still young but well accomplished, Gary has been leaving a trail of devastation in the contest ranks for the last couple of years. It was no different here in Cardiff, with ultra-fast lines mixed with tech tricks, as well as the big moves. Gary has it all and somehow manages to pack more into a run than anyone I know.
Last but not least, and always a treat to watch ride, legendary is the only way to describe Jay Miron. He does it all and pretty much invented it all. Jay rocked the house with some of the biggest moves all weekend, capping things off with a 360 double tailwhip on the box jump about eight feet up that brought the crowd to their feet. Thanks go out to all the folks at Red Bull, who definitely have their act together when it comes to putting on events. Ill be back next year, for sure. So should you.
1. Jay Miron
2. Gary Young
3. Tobias Wicke
4. John Heaton (etnies)
5. Hanno Cools
6. Mike Escamilla (etnies)
7. Sebastian Keep
8. Garrett Byrnes (etnies)
9. Cory Martinez
10. Senad Grosic
11. Ben Hennon (etnies)
12. Luke Marchant (etnies)