So the Frew Farm Jam went down over the weekend in Winton, Southland and if you weren't there (like me) well it looks like we missed out. Kelly McGarry and photographer Graeme Murray both made the trip and together they have put together this exclusive coverage of the 2011 Farm Jam for Spoke.
Farm Jam! This is the time of the year when anyone who is passionate about two wheeled action sports migrates towards the murky depths of the South Island, passing through the small rural towns, down kilometres of twisty country road that weaves between Southland's luscious green rolling hills until arriving at the Frew farm in the Otipiri Gorge.
The Frew farm is no normal farm, although it still functions like one. With over 10,000 sheep roaming inside its boundaries, the Frew farm doubles as a BMX, MTB or moto riders paradise with amazing dirt playgrounds meticulously carved and sculpted into the hillside by the tireless Frew crew.
Showing up at the Farm Jam has been a ritual for me for the past four years. It's always a pleasure to roll in the gates of the farm to be greeted by the incredibly friendly Frew family and associated crew. It has been amazing to watch the event gather momentum every year, this year attracting more riders and kickass sponsors than ever before.
As a rider there are many events to choose from , but the one I come to compete in is Mountain bike dirt and this year the course was looking amazing! The jumps were bigger, more tech, with more turns, hips and step-downs than previous years and it looked perfect for a huck showdown of EPIC PROPORTIONS! The rider list flush with talented riders hailing from around the country and the world for that matter, almighty Southland turned on some amazing weather as the 2011 UNIT Farm Jam cranked into gear at 1 pm on Saturday afternoon.
The moto boys were first up. Everyone headed to the course to watch the warriors go into battle and as expected, an amazing show of massive air and burly tricks was thrown down to the delight of the 2000 plus onlooking crowd.
After the Moto warrior's had wowed the crowd it was our turn to take the spotlight, so we all headed to the jumps for a 45 minute rider judged jam session.
All the riders were throwing down! As I waited to take my run I watched some amazing riding go down in front of me, there were so many crazy runs and stylish riding. A few things that spring to mind were Lewis Jones' kung fu kicking and bar spinning to the bottom of the course, Wanaka shredder Elmo cotter steezing the hell out of everything with some big tricks thrown in there too, up and coming ripper Nick Dethridge riding like he stole it , my hometown Nelson boy Karl Bensemann absolutely BOOSTING the shizzle out of everything with mad style and big tricks, Bretticus Frew rocking the course like he built it and showing everyone how to ride smooth and stylish and Huntly farmer Chris Beverland shredding his full sus bike like a BMX. There was a big show down between Invercargillian Conor MacFarlane and my temporary housemate Luke McCombie; the two boys were really pushing it with big tricks on all the jumps and it turned into a "front flip off " at the end of the session with both riders stomping the trick a few times, Luke even chucking a tuck no hander in with his front flip! Conor ended up trying to front flip off the flat drop but slammed hard and dislocated his shoulder which wasn't too cool but thankfully that was his only injury from such a burly crash.
I had so much fun riding the jam and was happy to lay down some tricks after initially thinking I would be watching the jam from the side line due to my broken collarbone only being four weeks into the healing process.
After the dust settled it was Coner, Luke and myself that rounded out the top three and Elmo and Lewis in 4th and 5th. With our jam finished up there was nothing left to do but sit back and watch the BMX boys tear the course to bits and have a cold beer!
The 2011 Unit Farm Jam wrapped up with a time trial style moto race and then we all headed down to the camp site to an open fire barbie, an enormous cauldron of goulash and some cold beers with good mates.
The Farm Jam is a unique event that brings all corners of the two wheeled action sports community together for one awesome weekend of shenanigans. It doesn't matter whether you came to do kick outs, wheelies and mech checks or make your mark on the freestyle community with gnarly trick combos or even just sit back and watch the madness unfold, everyone at the Farm Jam had one thing in common: a massive smile from ear to ear.
A big thanks to the Frews for a great weekend and Unit clothing and Red Bull coming on board as main sponsors . Also thanks to Gravity and Wide open for helping make it happen. CHEERS GUYS!