THREE RIDERS FROM three different countries stood on the top step of the podium after an incredible day of riding at the 2013 NZ Farm Jam on Saturday. Kyle Baldock (BMX, Australia), Andreu Lacondeguy (MTB, Spain) and Nick Franklin (FMX, New Zealand) all walked away with top honours, in a day that saw every aspect of the iconic action-sports event elevate to a whole new level.
In front of a vocal, 2000-strong crowd, Baldock went blow-for-blow with the likes of fellow Australians Luke Parslow, Danny Campbell, Ryan Lloyd and American legend Anthony Napolitan through the flowing dirt-jump lines.
It seemed each time the riders dropped into the trails the level ratcheted up a notch as they threw some of the biggest tricks in the book, climaxing with Baldock stomping a Double Backflip over the biggest jump in the course and a Front-flip Cliffhanger.
“I’m so pumped just to be back at the Farm Jam,” Baldock said afterwards. “I had such a great time last year and couldn’t wait to return. Everyone rode so amazing; the level of riding, the atmosphere and the course were spot-on. I love this place.”
Tokoroa’s Nick Franklin returned to the Frew Farm for his third crack at the Farm Jam FMX title and finally emerged victorious over the revamped contest. With 50 per cent of the riders’ scores accumulated at a media-only freeride session on Friday, Franklin finished second to Australia’s Matt Schubring on the natural terrain, then dominated the Farm Jam FMX course to claim his first Farm Jam crown.
Schubring was forced to sit out the FMX contest after injuring his hand while returning from the freeriding comp and lost his chance of victory as a result. “It feels really satisfying to win my first Farm Jam after so many attempts,” Franklin says. “I’ve had my fair share of bad luck here over the years, and even though this was my first contest on a 450cc bike, I felt comfortable enough to push it a bit more. I couldn’t be happier right now.”
In the mountainbike contest, Spanish freeride legend Andreu Lacondeguy dropped everyone’s jaws with his incredible style and huge trick repertoire. Lacondeguy, who also competed in both the FMX and BMX contests, showed his true class as he toppled defending champion Connor Macfarlane.
“The Farm Jam is the most fun I’ve ever had at a contest,” Lacondeguy beamed. “The amount of riding we do is insane and the courses are so sick. I love it here, man. I’m definitely coming back, for sure.”
Farm Jam organisers Dan and Brett Frew voiced their excitement at the success of the 2013 installment. “I’m certain that the riding that the crowd saw today would have to be the highest level that’s ever been shown in New Zealand,” Brett says. “There were so many talented international and local riders and as a result the riding across both BMX and MTB was above and beyond anything I’ve seen before.” “The new freeride FMX contest format was a huge success for the moto guys and added another dimension to what was already a popular competition,” Dan explained. “The FMX riders put on an awesome show at the Jam, too. When 360s get thrown off dirt for the first time ever and riders flip jumps that have never been flipped before, you know the competition is running hot.”
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RESULTS: BMX: 1 Kyle Baldock (AUS), 2 Luke Parslow (AUS), 3 Danny Campbell (AUS), 4 Anthony Napolitan (USA), 5 Ryan Lloyd AUS).
FMX: 1 Nick Franklin (NZ), 2 Tyrone Gilks (AUS), 3 Pat Bowden (AUS), 4 Callum Shaw (NZ), 5 Joel Brown (AUS).
MTB: 1 Andreu Lacondeguy (ESP), 2 Connor Macfarlane (NZ), 3 Lewis Jones (NZ), 4 Phil McLean (NZ), 5 Nick Dethridge (NZ).
About the Farm Jam The Farm Jam began in 2008 on the Frew brothers’ 2,600-acre sheep farm in Otapiri Gorge, Southland, NZ. From its humble beginnings it has rapidly grown into a bucket-list event for two-wheeled action-sports athletes, attracting some of the world’s biggest names in BMX, FMX and MTB. The “jam” formats see each sport judged solely by the riders, as they rank their peers. Thousands of spectators flock to the highly-anticipated annual event.