PUMP TRACK WORLD CHAMPS

melon

When I called Caleb this morning he tells me “It’s a good thing you rang cause I just got you into the unofficial pump track world champs. It’s invite only, they only let 200 people in and some of the big guns are going to be there”.

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So the pump track world champs are being held in the back yard of somebody called Garreth’s house, near a suburb of Canberra called Kambah. Way the hell out of town and I don’t have a car. After a courtesy shuttle to town and a AUS$45 taxi ride with a really nice Pakistani guy who had some issues interpreting the directions from his GPS navigation system I finally arrived at the place half an hour after the finals were due to start. Luckily, mountain bikers being the slack bastards that we are, I was just in time.

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Garreth’s back yard was pretty big, but it looked pretty tiny with the world’s tightest pump track occupying half of it, and a solid crowd of around 200 beer-drinking, BBQ eating, mountain bike crazed spectators occupying what little space was left.

It was indeed a who’s who of mountain biking – Steve Peat, Brendan Fairclough and Josh Brycelend were there, as was the infamous Brian Lopes and of course all the Aussie boys: Mick Hannah, Jared Rando etc. The format was simple – the rider who could complete four laps in the fastest time was the Pump Track World Champion and would take home $2500 in cash and a limited edition Mick Fanning signature surf board.

Highlights of the night included some local lad (I think his name was Dave) doing a few laps in his Y-fronts and a helmet made out of a hollowed out watermelon with a chin-strap made of duct tape. When asking Dave how he found the course later in the evening he commented “I think I’m going to spew”.

Other highlights (lowlights?) of the evening included another totally wasted naked Ozzie doing laps, only this time there was no bike and no Y-fronts. This chap finished his lap by jumping on Dirt photographer Victor Lucas and doing a pretty good job of totally trashing his camera. Not cool.

The racing however was cool. Aussie ripper-grom Tim Eden from Mullunbimby (don’t quote me on any of that - the music was pumping) put down a wicked time of 41.something seconds and for a while it looked like he was going to take it.

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He even held off Jared Rando’s best efforts. Kiwi Wyn Masters rocked up in his jandals (or double-pluggers as Aussies apparently call this sort of “thong”) and looked super fast but had a moment and lost enough speed to be out of the running. Then it was Lopes’ turn. He admitted to being nervous on the start ramp but was looking super fast and flowy on the pump track, manualing everything in sight and somehow picking up speed everywhere. He too lost it on one of the trickier parts of the track – Tim Eden had dodged a bullet. Finally Ocker Mick Hannah laid down the fastest run of the day so far to take the lead.

Brendan Fairclough was the last rider to race, and he put down a smoking four laps. Unfortunately there was no time when he crossed the finish line – apparently his pedal had snagged the timing cable at the start ramp. So after a bit of a recovery period he had to race again. He’d obviously given his all on his first go and was tired and nowhere near as quick on the repeat effort. A bit of controversy but Mick Hannah was the unofficial Pump Track World Champion.

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The organisers did give Brendan a surfboard as well though, so it wasn't too bad a result for the Specialized racer. A truly awesome event and a wicked night, just wish I’d made it there in time for some of the free beer and BBQ!