Alexis Desolneux – Rebel Jam Interview

Photo/Intro/Interview: Effraim

Throughout my time riding, there are always moments I remember and will no doubt relive many times. Case in point this past weekend, as Alexis Desolneux rode out of his double backwards whiplash at the Rebel jam I looked around and saw how stoked all the riders were. It was a beautiful moment. I wanted to catch up with Alexis to ask him about the weekend, his feelings on the contest format, judging, and his up and coming solo project! Read on!

Firstly, congrats for winning Hard trick, tell me about it, you were obviously stoked with double backwards whiplash! And rightly so, but that area was tiny for this trick?
Thanks a lot Effraim, I feel on a little cloud at the moment and enjoying riding so much…Yes I was completely stoked with pulling that trick at the beginning of my run last saturday for a few reasons. We only had a 10x10m floor, flexible and bumpy (though not too bad), but it was so small. In fact I didn’t manage to pull neither a double backwhip nor a single backwards turbine whip during the two days we had to get used to that floor. It was hard to get any momentum or speed, also riding in jams doesn’t help for that kind of tricks where you shouldn’t rush and need to be relaxed. I needed to go slower than usual and also to downside the second whip if I wanted to stay within the floor limits which of course made things even more complicated. I’m doing these tricks everyday at home so two days without nailing one isn’t the best situation as far as my self-confidence is concerned, ha, ha! That’s why I could hardly contain my emotion when I did it after a few seconds of my time. I felt so relieved. It wasn’t my intention to do a traditional run. James (Smith) told me minutes before : “it’s not the difficulty of the whole run that counts so just go for your hardest shit!” so I was like “OK…pressure!” ha, ha! I was just ready to fight for a couple tricks like I do when I know that I’m in the last two minutes of a dying videocamera battery… But things happened quicker. It was really fun after that, the remaining time felt like bonus where I could show some other stuff with less pressure and more focus. I’m always deeply happy to pull that trick in a contest as it was only the third time it happened, but that particular day, lots of cards except the judging system were against me, so it really gave it a sweet taste.

Do you feel like this judging format is the future?
Absolutely. It made me feel like my riding was judged fairly. This kind of tricks means years of practice. Surely the system still needs its refinement here and there like for example the question to do a traditional run to have access to that system in the finals (though I doubt it can be worked out another way…probably too complicated). But I think it naturally tends to push variety and self-expression in flatland as it gives more value to experimentation, be it in terms of mobility or through the mastering of high difficulty technics (one doesn’t usually go without the other anyways), than all the other existing judging systems. That said I think it’s cool to have different systems, it will be boring if it comes to be all standardized to one system. That’s the good thing about BMX in general, to have different styles of events. But we need a few more like the Rebel to balance things a bit at the moment. And 200 square meters minimum rectangle floors to bring back democracy in flatland, ha, ha! And to raise the level even more too, because unless you go spastic, amplitude and speed are missing. And I’m not even talking about riding on smooth asphalt or concrete (which should be standard!)…But Rebel Jam has the potential to be even better. So come on Andy, you can do it 🙂

What would you say to anyone who missed out on the Rebel jam?
An amazing location, great weather, perfect vibes between all disciplines as many park/street/dirt riders came down to the beach to enjoy the flatland finals, in return a chance for us flatlanders to watch the best park contest ever with so much variety too ! Generally speaking it was just a great atmosphere which made the event “more than riding”, somehow it reminded me of certain legendary 90’s contests…

There’s rumour of a solo project from you soon, can you confirm?
Yes I confirm a project of that kind but probably not that soon… I’m definitely more towards the end than the beginning though. I knew it would be a long process because I’m used to my riding being a long process in general so I didn’t need to talk about it. We started before I got that riding accident in 2008 which put a year hiatus on it. It’s been quite an adventure. Too long of a process? Certainly…Never again ha, ha! But I guess it has to be that way to be completed as it should.

Any final quick shoutouts?
First of all, all my friends who supported me or had a kind word to me at Rebel, especially the Peynier trail crew, Matthias D and crew, the De Jong bros, Jesse P, Roman, James and so on, there are too many to name but I love you all. Big shout out to Andy Zeiss for organization. Effraim thanks for this interview and your support as well. Shout out to the cosanostra skatepark crew for constant help, Matt@Profile and my Heresy buddies! See you guys soon.

Thanks for your time Alexis! cannot wait for the solo project!

Vans Rebel Jam Press Release!

Photo credit : Vincent Perraud.

Tossa de Mar, Spain 7 October 2012. The world’s top BMX riders gathered in Tossa de Mar, Spain this weekend, 5-7 October, to ride the Street, Flatland, Park and Dirt features of the incredible Europark set up during the 6th Annual Vans Rebel Jam.
Saturday’s qualifiers narrowed the field for Sunday’s Street, Park & Dirt finals, and the flatland finals took place in an isolated cove on the seaside, with some spectators crowded around the platform, sand in their toes, the others dotted high in the cliffs overlooking the action. Creativity, Hard Trick and Style awards were up for grabs in flatland, which is a different format compared to the one point score used normally. In the end, 2012 Flatland world champion Matthias Dandois from France amazed the gathered crowd and grabbed the style award, Jesse Puente from the USA won the Creative Award and flatland veteran Alexis Desolneux took the Hard Trick award back to France.
On Sunday the Vans Rebeljam continued with a straight final in the pro dirt class. The field of pro riders was split into groups and each rider got to roll down the hill three times to impress the judges. With a good crowd enjoying the riding it was Daniel Sandoval who ruled the dirt jumps. After making it to the last sets via the trail section on the top of the hill, the American busted loose over the trick sets and won both the Hard Trick and style award.
Up next was the street contest at the Eurocamp facility. The newly built stair/rail/ledge section had serious dimensions but it didn’t hold back the riders one bit. Diogo Santos from Portugal scored high with his 180 crooked grind to 180 down the rail. Third place was his. Germany’s Bruno Hoffmann needed his teammate’s bike to finish the tricks he had in mind, but it worked in the end as he pulled the Luc-E grind to 180 off the 2 meter high ledge to the delight of the crowd. But it wasn’t over because first place qualifier Dan Lacey (UK) was on fire on Sunday too and pulled what he wanted to do. First place was his as he destroyed the new obstacle.
The park set up at Eurocamp had many lines which riders got to use on their own during their runs. The 24 finalists were split into six groups of four for 10 minute jam sessions plus time for a last trick for each rider. In the Spanish sunshine Kevin Kalkoff styled around the course and found more lines than any other rider. His speed and flow was amazing. The style award went to the Frenchman. Gary Young is known to use a course differently than others so having a Creative Award to give away, the American had good chances to get it. With a score of 90,80 he beat second place winner Ben Hennon with 2,80 points, winning the award. You don’t see double backflips every day but Andrew Buckworth showed more than one in the park finals. The one over the box jump was a no-handed version but after a few attempts the Australian also did a double loop over the spine. The final award of the event (Hard Trick) went to the young Australian.

Rebeljam number 6 is in the pocket and it was another good one. The vibe was chill and the scene was impressive. Eurocamp now has new ramps to enjoy thanks to the event being held in Tossa de Mar.

Vans Rebeljam is made possible with support from Monster Energy, Jansport, Federal, Pro-tec, Fiat, Eurocamp and Marshall Headphones.

Results for all events at:

The 2012 Rebel jam winners are….

Hard Trick
1st Alexis Desolneux
2nd Jesse Puente
3rd Dez Maarsen
4th Matthias Dandois
5th Guelo Monzon

1st Matthias Dandois
2nd Jesse Puente
3rd Kevin Nikulski
4th Thomas Noyer
5th Aleksi Ritsilä

1st Jesse Puente
2nd Alberto Moya
3rd Alexis Desolneux
4th Matthias Dandois
5th Thomas Noyer

Congrats to all the winners, Alexis Desolneux, Jesse Puente and Matthias Dandois. The 2012 Rebel Jam kicked ass! Great vibes here in Tossa del Mar.

Matthias Dandois qualifies 1st at Rebel Jam!

Prelims just finished about 30 minutes ago. Finals will start in 40 mins, 630 Spanish time, 530 GMT. Here are the qualifying results! Matthias Dandois qualified first and will ride last, the top 12 make the final! Congrats to everybody that made the finals.

1- Matthias Dandois
2- Dez Maarsen
3- Jean Francois Boulianne
4- Thomas Noyer
5- Guelo Monzon
6- Jesse Puente
7- Didier Genet
8- Kevin Nikulski
9- Aleksi Ritsila
10- Bert Ribul
11- Alberto Moya
12- Alexis Desolneux

13- Miguel Tardio
14- Camillo Guitterrez
15- Varo Hernandez
16- Jean Bulhon
17- Alex Neijma
18- Alvarito Fernadez
19- Santi Notario