Groms to pros throw down at the BADDWORX dirt jam 

Words Haimona Ngata 

Images Seth Cornwall and Tim White

“Unbelievable. Completely amazing. Stoked. Unreal. Thanks for doing this for our kids.” 

Those were just some of the positive statements from parents, caregivers, and those in attendance at the first ever BADDWORX 2024 dirt jam event at the BADDLANDS in Woodall Park in Devonport, Auckland. 

And yes, before you ask, the name is a piss-take on Crankworx. While Crankworx is a high-octane, week-long mountain bike event beamed out to the world, BADDWORX is the complete opposite—a grassroots dirt event where everything is free, including the drinks, sausage sizzle, rider entry and participation. The crowds are encouraged to get as close to the action as possible, dogs are allowed, and you can bring your own refreshments. The music is a mix of old school metal and krunk rap and the organisers have little to no idea on how the day will play out. 

One thing that’s clear from the start though—the event is all about getting kids out on bikes and having fun together.

One thing that’s clear from the start though—the event is all about getting kids out on bikes and having fun together. 

The BADDWORX venue has a long history. In the early 90s some local kids got together with their parents to talk to the council about putting some dirt jumps in the corner of a disused playground in Takapuna. A few years later, the legendary Barrys Point Road jumps were established, and Auckland’s North Shore became the epicentre of dirt jumps in Aotearoa.  

Many famous Pro BMX riders frequented Barrys over the years, including multiple X-Games winner and BMX icon Dave Mirra. Unfortunately for Dave, one of the lines proved too technical, sending him into the adjoining swamp and resulting in a very muddy pair of white Fox kneepads. 

Fast forward to 2024, and after hours of hard graft by Tim White, Warren “Wazman” Gill, Danny Stenton, Chris Ward, and local kids, numerous days in diggers, and the generous support of local businesses, the BADDLANDS was established as a place for all riders to come and find their feet on their bikes.  

There are jump lines for varying skill levels, and a small dirt pump track for strider riders. The local council should also get a special mention here for backing the project, and the Devonport Golf Club for the use of the land the BADDLANDS sits on.

Social media had the hype buzzing for BADDWORX 2024, and excited local grommets were fizzing to sign up and strut their stuff. Registration opened on the day, early birds receiving a hand-drawn custom race plate. When those ran out, paper plates, a vivid, and a couple of zip ties did the job. 

There were classes for all ages and abilities, ranging from juniors under 12 to the elite open category. Even after registration closed, mums out walking the dog were running up to ask if their 7-year-old could enter. Of course, they could enter! 

The riding format for each class was simple. A 30-minute jam, ride as much as you want, stay on your bike, have as much fun as possible.  

The crowd was vibing when it came time for the first junior riders to drop in, cheering and clapping as the young gladiators navigated the small roller line. Seeing this happen in person made all the hard work and effort completely worth it. 

As we moved up classes during the day the skill level of the riders increased, the pro riders putting on a show to rival a full-blown, live-streamed dirt jump festival—corked-out flips, no handers, double tailwhips, barspins, no-foot cans, the list goes on. All this worked the crowd into a frenzy, and what better way to keep the energy going between classes than to have a couple of fun events. 

The final event was the elite class, with riders travelling from all over the North Island to attend. It came down to a three-way battle between Lewis Jones, Jayden Fleming, and Brad Webb. 

Brad showed his BMX dirt jumping prowess, executing flawless runs over the three jumps on the big line, his 360 whips, stretched out no foot cans, and superman seat grabs nabbing a well-deserved third place.

Marin pro rider Jayden Fleming was in top form all day with gigantic flips over the first jump. He was also one of the only riders to mix the course up and transfer over lines, which gave him the tick of approval from the judges for second place. 

Lewis Jones rode like he was possessed, the crowd erupting every time he dropped in aboard his Marin Alcatraz. Humble and quiet off the bike, he lets his riding do the talking, with giant un-flips over every jump, his signature stretched out superman, and flawless tailwhips. The judges were unanimous in their first-place decision. 

Let’s face it, growing up sucks, so let’s do all we can to help keep the next generation rolling! 

In typical grassroots-event style, there were extra prizes for crowd favourites from each class, random rebel runs with people hooting and hollering, stickers for the most rubbish picked up, and the free barbecue food was demolished. 

As the dust settles and the sun dipped low, there were still kids riding the jumps—irrefutable proof that if you provide a safe place where creativity and community can flourish, then we can encourage kids to be kids for as long as possible.  

Let’s face it, growing up sucks, so let’s do all we can to help keep the next generation rolling!