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Euro Team Update - Next »

Suzuki BMX World

Jul 9 2004 / Friday

Cologne, Germany
June 24-27, 2004
When you mention the World Championships for BMX Freestyle, the city of Cologne, Germany comes to mind, and after a two-year hiatus, it was back. The etnies crew was on hand to show the thousands in attendance what etnies is all about. Only a couple of team riders didnt make it, due to prior commitments. We had Rooftop, Taj Mihelich, Ruben Alcantara, Joe Rich, Nate Wessel, Sandy Carson, John Heaton, Dave Freimuth, Brian Terada and Garrett Byrnes. Also rocking it for etnies was Sergio Layos, Aaron Behnke, Brian Kachinski and Manuel Prado. All in all, etnies was more than well represented.

A play-by-play would be way too boring, so weҒll just have to make do with some highlights. Attendance was ridiculous! A good five or six thousand were there on the weekend , even with rain showers--not much deterred this crowd. I guess when you come to see world-class riding, you're willing to put up with little discomforts like crappy weather. Well start with the Mini-Ramp comp. Everyone on the team rocked the mini, but with the event running until it was completely dark with no lights kinda kept a lot of people from qualifying. Although I think that could be considered unfair, the final lineup was pretty well rounded, for the most part.

The etnies crew was in abundance going into the Finals, but one by one, they took themselves out for the weekend. Rooftop killed his qualifying run with huge flairs and big 540s much to his own surprise, but then he tweaked his wrist during practice and was done for the rest of the weekend. Taj Mihelich rode the Finals with huge whips over the spine and a massive table over the volcano portion of the mini, but after a stall attempt gone awry on a tree five feet off the side of the mini ramp, he got ejected fifteen feet to his back. Luckily, there was nothing beneath him like on the previous day's attempts.

Joe Rich surprised himself by riding way smoother than expected and blasting huge Joe Rich-style invert airs on one wall and riding amazingly overall. Joe decided during the next day's Park Prelims to step out of a wall tap and tweaked his knee enough to make him return home to Austin early to get it checked out. Surgery is on the cards for Joe. Ruben Alcantara admitted he was not really riding the mini too well, so he was really surprised to make the Finals. All he did was carve around in the Prelims due to the darkness. Come the Finals, he decided not to ride in respect for guys who actually deserved to be in there.

Sergio Layos has a style that has to be seen to be believed. This kid flows like the proverbial Nile, and it doesnҒt stop there. He can throw down the big moves that impress judges, too. For example, he fired out some big opposite lookback airs and fat turndowns to go with his patented downside whips and tech lip tricks. He took himself out pretty good on a big no-hander on a borrowed bike when he missed the grips before landing, going straight to his head and shoulder. Newly acquired etnies rider Brian Kachinski strikes a nice balance between gnarly and tech that helped him hang with all the guys in the Mini Finals. A barspin to fufanu attempt one too many times kept him from placing higher.

For a lot of people, Dirt was the highlight of the weekend, and since so many etnies riders had already taken themselves out, only Sergio Layos and Nate Wessel were healthy enough to represent. Needless to say, there are plenty of bad-asses who ride dirt and its not really the focus for our guys, but I know Taj and Joe were having a blast in the dirt prior to getting hurt and were so looking forward to the comp. Sergio rode oh-so-smooth, employing big no-handers, styley whips and basically carving up the jumps like a Thanksgiving turkey--all for a respectable 11th.

Nate Wessel, on the other hand, had only one thing in mind for these jumps--to go big or die trying. People had no idea that Nate had something up his sleeve, so in his second to last run, he fired it out: a bike flip, end over end. Some people have attempted it, others claim they have pulled it, but until today, no one had seen anyone come as close as Nate did. On the last jump, a step-up hip that went both left and right, Nate hit it full-speed, pulled straight up and fired it out, flipping his bike end over end. He didnҒt expect it to come all the way around first try and, much less, come back under him. Scrambling to grab ahold, Nate ball rode out of it and slid onto his side, but for the most part, he pulled it. All fired-up, he went back to the top of the hill to conquer it. Nate tried it again, but had to eject because the lip sent him in a weird direction. Oh well, maybe next time. At least now he knows it's possible.

The Park Finals went down on Sunday and the weather had finally cleared, bringing the crowd out in droves. Cheap beer, beautiful women and bad-ass bike riding was what it was all about the day of the finals. Much to the dismay of many who rode it, the course was pretty much box stock, but those who can use their imagination can make something out of anything, and the crew that made the Finals did exactly that. John Heaton made it along with a couple of other etnies riders, but due to them deciding to kick their own asses on other stuff, they were unavailable to appear. John made up for all of them by basically just killing it. He fired out all his usual stuff with some added flair, so to speak. Huge gap to manuals on top of the trailer wall rides, huge whips over the hips, big wall ride to whips and a perfect 720 over the box jump--all for 2nd place honors in Park, right behind the nearly unstoppable Gary Young. How cool does that sound? 2nd place in the world? Congrats, John! Drink a beer for me!
Pro Street Finals
1. Gary Young
2. John Heaton (etnies)
3. Jay Miron
4. Corey Martinez
6. Chris Doyle
7. Colin Mackay
8. Chris Mahoney
9. Markus Wilke
10. Bruce Crisman
11. Tobias Wicke
12. Clint Millar
13. Paddy Gross
14. Ben Wallace
15. Hannu Cools
16. Taj Mihelich (etnies)
17. Dave Mirra
Pro Mini-Ramp Finals
1. Paddy Gross
2. Jay Miron
3. Chris Doyle
4. Kevin Porter
5. Tobias Wicke
6. Luke Fink
7. Clint Millar
8. Taj Mihelich (etnies)
9. Sergio Layos (etnies)
10. Brian kachinski (etnies)
11. Damien Croce
12. Joe Rich (etnies)
13. Mike Escamilla (etnies)
14. Ruben Alcantara (etnies)
15. Hannu Cools
16. Dave Mirra
17. Gary Young
Pro Vert Finals
1. Simon Tabron
2. Jay Eggleston
3. Tom Stober
4. Zach Shaw
5. Matt Fairbairn
6. Peter Geys
7. Benni Kopp
8. Shaun Egglinton
9. Stephan Geisler
10. Ronnie Surridge
11. Achim Kujawski
12. Ricky Roich
13. Ronnie Remo
Pro Dirt Finals
1. Chris Doyle
2. Cory Bohan
3. Gary Young
4. Ryan Jordan
5. Cory Walters
6. Romuald Noirot
7. Luke Fink
8. Kye Forte
9. Heath Pinter
10. Markus Hampl
11. Sergio Layos (etnies)
12. Matt Macleod
13. Fabien Francois
14. Allesandro Barbero
15. Moritz Pau

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