Photography: Jim Cossey.
Round 1 of the 2018 UK Flatland Championships took place last weekend in Margate, Kent. Margate is a seaside town about an hour and half from central London for all of you reading this outside of the UK. Matti Hemmings once again is the man behind making the event happen, this year a different location and a better set up. Dreamlands, an amusement park smack on Margate seafront which somewhat bizarrely to me, goes in land rather than out towards the sea, two years ago we sat on the seafront having fish n chips after the Wheels and Finns festival and wondered what Dreamlands was. A great use of space and in terms of planning, this place is epic. You wouldn’t know this amusement park was even there, if you drive along the seafront road.
Matti managed to secure a legit flatland area, which is used for Roller Discos daily in Dreamlands. When we arrived on Friday, we did get a little scare when the management insisted Matti would have to insure the floor for scratches and dents and pay for damages, needless to say Matti can’t afford to pay for an expensive new floor so Matti asked about alternatives to cover the floor.
Right about now we all, Matti, Dino and myself have a stressed look on our faces, and the management bring out what looked like a plastic resin floor. I’ll be honest I feared the worst, after about an hour going back and forth we agreed what was going on and the plan was to lay down this plastic resin floor tape it down and brand the area ready for the Saturday morning. Upon the plastic resin arriving from PIC Plumbing Services website, we quickly realised the plastic resin wouldn’t cover the whole area, so we covered around 3/4 of the Roller disco area with the plastic resin, the management were spot on in helping out and cutting the resin for us and once the branding was up, the whole area looked like we meant to do it like this. All branded and colour coordinated. We had one problem left, the lighting, no white light so the light was very dim. The floor rode great to our surprise, not slippery and fast as well.
Seaside fish n’ chips seems to be the thing to do when in margate, so I caught up with Dino Jeffers whilst Matti did his thing with the Dreamlands crew.
Saturday morning soon rolled around and an early start, I was first out on floor. I got lucky and grabbed a session whilst riders arrived. We were scheduled to start at 1pm, and riders started to arrive for 10am onwards, DJ Stuart Rose set up the decks and starting spinning the tunes..
The AM class had a good turnout for the UK, 11 riders made the trip out to Margate and all busted out with a two run x 2 minute format, best run counts.
In 11th place, the return of Random Rob, Rob used to leave quite close to me so I would regularly ride with Rob back in the day. It was good to see after some time off, that Rob is now back into flatland on a fresh Heresy ride. Backwards hitch, and mega spins to take the last place spot, looking forward to seeing Rob ride agin at KOC this weekend.
Strowlin’ his way to tenth place, James Ovens rocked up on a fresh candy blue Hoffman Strowler. James has been in the game for years, and you can see that from his bike control, smooth as you like squeakers and one handed fork wheelies.
In ninth place, the man behind the Ride On interviews you might have seen over the last year with myself and James White, Neil Waddington! Great to see Neil riding flatland once again, Neil grew up riding with James Needham and you could see the skills coming back, hang 5 to whiplashes on lock, and fire hydrant to decades to boot as well.
Erik Faustmann made the trip from Austria and went for some really hard rolling tricks. Erik had a tough time in his runs but did hit a lovely xft jump lash from the pedals, 8th place was all his.
In 7th place, Dino Jeffers scuffed his way through both of his runs. But unless like Dino messed up quite a bit, Dino wanted another shot at it so we bumped him up to Pro Class.
Like Dino. Yinka Thomas had a tough time making a few mistakes, no handed hitch, spinning lawns to 6th place.
In 5th place, Johann Chan despite Matti Hemmings heckling attempts on the mic managed to keep it together and get a well learnt top 5 spot in the UK Champs. Smooth hang nothings, hitchhikers, spinning circle ks, and his unique opposite spinning lawn to regular lawn bar flip out!
Pinoski made the trip from Barcelona, we hadn’t seen him ride since the NEC British Champs a few years back so it was great to see Pinoski on the Uk circuit once again. Pinoski hit a really nice pilot to two footed rolling front yard, and yammer style xft backwards spinning fork wheelie to take 4th place back to BCN!
In third place, Remus Simion! A lot of hype after qualifying first at Round 2 of the MOC contest with his seat stand rolling backyard which was unfortunately not able to hit clean. Remus did hit a nice whiplash to foot on bar cliff.
With his selfie game strong, Michal Pietruszewski had a sweet first run hitting half cab nose, bar flip pedal squeakers a’la Alexis Desolneux and a nice half cab to front scuff pedal 5 to take home the second place spot.
In first place, a cut above everyone else. Turi Istvan rocked Dreamlands with his first run which would have placed well in the pro ranks. Battling front wheel bike problems, that didn’t seem to phase Turi one bit. Turbine two footed ice creams on lock, two footed turbine mega spin step up to pedal time machines, all with authority of a pro! Loom out for Turi in the future! This cat from Hungary ho now lives in London has a big future, stoked to see him ride!
We took an hour break to let the pros warm up, and grabbed some lunch. Around this time, Keelan Phillips rocked up, great to see Keelan back on the UK contest scene. Dominik Nekolny was once again back at the UK Champs, Amos Burke, Dino Jeffers, Remus Simion, Andy Hale, Dan Margetts, and Varo Hernandez all got warmed up.
Format for pros was as always, two x 3 minute run and your best run counts.
In 8th place, Matti announced riding for S&M even though Amos Burke was riding a BSD Alex Donnachie, it did cause a few funny looks from Amos and laughter to boot. Bless Matti! Amos had a tough time with the lighting, and despite myself and James heckling for a rolaid we didn’t get to see one, maybe in Southsea this coming weekend Amos?
Remus Simion got closer to his two footed set stand rolling backyard to take the 7th place spot in the Pro Class and once again like in the expert class nailed his whiplash to foot on bar cliff that he does in a Pete Brandt kind of fashion if you get me.
In 6th place, Dino Jeffers got it together and had two solid runs. Nailing his inside carving xft peg wheelie to switch b backwards ice cream to degroot style undertaker out, and taking home $100 for the Scuffington post contest!
In 5th place, Andy Hale was a little off the boil, but did hit one really nice 540 bike pivot. Always good to see Andy ride, just wasn’t his day at the UK Champs.
Dan Margetts was a man on mission and lit things up with a super fast inside upside down pedalling mega spin, one handed fork wheelie with his knee on forks, 4th place for the man that thinks beer tastes like ear wax!
Top 3! Making the trip from Madrid, Spain. Varo Hernandez is looking more dialled every time I see him and under the guidance of Martti Kuoppa is going to be a name to look out for. Varo made things hard for himself messing up his first run, and came out swinging in his second run hitting his signature xft no handed steam, and regular no handed steam with his foot locked on pedal stop easily to half packer (such a nice switch) to take home the third place spot!
In second place, Keelan Phillips was totally zoned out in his runs, hitting a super nice long 720 nose, multiple turbine hitchs, half cab to nose, but a few touches knocked his confidence a bit. Great to see Keelan back on the contest circuit.
In first place as if you didn’t know, Dominik Nekolny dropped a no touch run with xft hitch backwards backpacker pivot xft hitch double xft stream pivot right side half packer opposite xft pivot out, nose manual boomerang to steam, xft hitch turbine round the back opposite xft hitch out, slightly toned down from what Dom would normally do. But nevertheless, Dom is impressive and with his level of riding a hard man to beat even with a slightly tined down run.
Big ups once again to Matti Hemmings for making something happen in the UK for flatland and all the banter all weekend was a lot of fun back and forth, 6-2 to me old boy, next up King of Concrete this weekend. I hope to see some of you there!