Red Bull sure know how to throw down an event: Take a nightclub (the Studio, Auckland), a photography exhibition (Mike Davies and Hagan Hill), a bunch of enthusiastic bike riders, multiple media types, a pro Enduro Motorbike racer (Chris Birch) and a ‘hair metal’ band, sprinkle with some tattoos and Vans shoes, then slam a mini velodrome down in the middle of it all and see what happens. That’s basically what Red Bull NZ did on Sunday night.
Fixed gear bike riding is a pretty fringe sport in NZ, but with some motivated types heavily involved in the, and riders who cant get enough, the Mini-Drome was set to be the event of the Fixed gear calendar, and it didn’t disappoint!
Walking through the front doors you were greeted by a lobby area filled with bikes, people and photography by two uber-talented fixed riders, Mike Davies and Hagan Hill. Through the lobby, through another set of doors, and past a couple of big ass bouncers you walked into the main arena and were presented with something strange yet exciting. A huge-mini wooden velodrome (yes I said Huge Mini) filling the floor of the clubs main room.
The riding started with each of the 50 entrants vying for a qualifying spot in the top 10. This was easier said than done with the 10 lap time trial being as much a mental game as fitness and skill. Qualifying saw many a crash with riders sketching out and heading off course into the crowd, or plowing into the wall beside the track. Fortunately no big injuries were sustained!
Between qualifying and the main events, Shot Gun alley, an all out ‘hair metal’ band rocked out for near on an hour as riders chilled in the lobby, at the photography exhibition, or grabbed a quiet beer.
The band screeched to a halt and the top 10 qualifiers were announced. Riders nervously gathered beside the track, attempting to be cool, calm and collected and tried to discreetly do some stretches without the competition seeing.
After the top 10 shoot out, the top 4 were selected, then onto the final top 2. Competition was fierce with a few more crashes and sketchy moments, and the crowd egging riders to go faster and looser, which of course they did!
Big thanks out to Ivan and Justin from Red Bull, along with the Steady Rollin’ guys for pulling the event together.
Next year, be there!
All pics: Lester Perry.
Grant Davis cut the below clip, Red Bull will be dropping their clips soon….. cant wait.