It was an extravaganza! Rider after rider hammered down the sculpted twists and turns of the main line and clearing the iconic road gap. Kids cheered and heckles rang out loud as the loose cannons let their wheels hang out in the crazy turns, dust exploded from berms, the atmosphere crescendoed and the riding grew wilder and wilder. Vol.2 of the annual DirtJam was going off in style!
Whip Off Finals Were Awesome
The Bull Track located in Crowborough, East Sussex is a private mountain bike park, home to the annual DirtJam Event, the most laid back event in the region.
The DirtJam is the brainchild of the DirtRiders Southern MTB Crew, and headed by the man behind the Dirtriders Southern MTB Crew and the DirtRiders official Race team Stephen Fenner. 2019 is the second year that the event has run, and it went down as a classic.
I was lucky enough to make the 2-hour trip over for Saturday and capture the hijinks that unfolded.
Starting off with general practice and hi-jinx’s
The Bull Track is the fastest growing bike park in the south east! Downhill, Free Ride, Dirt Jumps and progressive lines make this the regions premier venue to develop your mountain bike skills. What better place for a bank holiday weekend of Mountain Bike madness.
The event is in its second year now (hence the Vol.2) and was bigger and better. With added events such as a Whip Off, High Jump, Minibike Race and more as well as the normal race runs. There was day entry and camping, food and drink was provided by Fire and Crust. There was support and stalls on site from Rhythm and Bikes and Rip ‘N’ Roll Goggles.
On the Saturday I got to shoot and enjoy the Whip Off and High Jump contests as well as the practice runs. As always, the atmosphere was awesome and very relaxed. The crowd were loud and fun. Ages ranged from young shredders through to the oldies.
Everyone had an eye on the weather in the week running up to the event and must have been doing their voodoo weather dance as once again the trails were dry and dare we say it, dusty! Boy did we get treated to a bank holiday heat wave. The trails had all received a lot of work prior to the event and racers were in for a treat, conditions were perfect and there was not a drop of mud in sight. As the sun rose higher the track got dustier and riders were reporting that their bikes were cooking, as well as their skin (there was some very red shoulders by the end of the day).
The weather had been kind and led to some awesome riding by everyone. When it comes to Saturdays competitions, it was always going to be a tough battle for the top step with such a local talent pool there, it was only going to end one way………total madness.
The high jump competition was set up on a 6ft tall kicker, with a brilliantly built high tech high bar meter (a pole hooked on two planks with some height markers cnc’ed on to them, good work chaps it really was brilliant).
Every rider had two attempts to get over the bar, which made it interesting and caused some excitement amongst the crowd.
Controversy arose at the end of the High Jump as Elliott Glynn thought he had won it, but after some clarification the Frenchman Jaim Kerchiched still had one more run. He had failed an attempt previously and then failed another attempt but this was not an official run as his jump was over two chaps and the bar for a quick media grab.
So it turned out he still had one more attempt, both Elliott and Jaim squared off again but in the end they called it a draw and both took home a new set of Rip ‘N’ Roll Goggles!
Three random spectator judges were picked from the crowd to keep it fair. All riders trained down the main line to pull their biggest whip over a 25ft table, with the two lowest voted whips being evicted.
There were some very impressive whips and some very sideways landings and one young lad braved two very nasty crashes before calling it quits. Ultimately Dan Capes took the win (mainly due to the epicenes of receiving a high five from a spectator to his rear wheel, Pictured below), but he did share his cash prize winnings with runner up Caleb Holford (Pictured below) who was riding with a broken RIB!
The vibe from the event was brilliant and positive, everyone was encouraging of each other’s riding and there was lots of personal progression for riders. This is why I love these events as the hype just breeds progression and energy.
Thanks to everyone that came and raced, the supporters who made the atmosphere in the woods more like a World Cup than a local race, all the Marshals, First Aid, and a special thanks to the DirtRiders Crew and The Bull Track for putting on another awesome event.
DirtJam Vol.3 is planned to be back at some point so make sure you keep an eye out on it and add it to your calendar when its announced.