Urban Wheels Challenge 2015 - A Weekend of Flips, Flicks and Epic Finishes
Posted 3 years ago
There's Nothing Better than
the Smell of Fast-Rolling Tyre on
Sun-Blazed Plywood Ramps
Early in the Morning...
It was a weekend of pretty epic proportions, both in terms of the weather (which was blistering but exceptionally good, considering the recent bouts of haze that's beseiged Singapore in the last few weeks) and riding. The crowd was in full force, and everyone seemed to be imbued with an overdose of adrenaline and Red Bull. This became a very real problem, especially where the younger riders were concerned, but the challenging, albeit well-designed course, and pumptrack served well to siphon off any excess energy which parents may have possibly been somewhat worried about nearing day's end.
The racing was, to say the least, exceptional. There were highs and lows, both for the riders and spectators. As seems to be a burgeoning trend, the younger racers seem to have improved in leaps and bounds, bringing a fresh sense of discipline and all around "loose" riding to the local arena. Injuries abounded, as is only natural with a sport such as this. But as Darren Berrecloth says, this shouldn't be viewed as something negative, but merely something that is. Healing vibes to all who were injured over the course of the weekend.
The bottom half of the track took up a large expanse of space, not to mention the presence of the assortment of tentages and the pumptrack set up. With this much real estate to play around with, the organisers definitely had creative room to move. Riders loved the uncluttered feel next to the active course areas, although it did fill up pretty quick as the weekend progressed.
Breakfast for champions. A behind the scenes look at what keeps the Bikezilla Media Crew moving forward at full steam.
Where riders were out and about getting their race set-up going and suiting up with protective gear, Bikezilla's own Poch Maui readies his weapon of choice - In this case, a 200mm heavy duty lens, well ready to capture all the action that went down on the course.
Any rider worth their salt will tell you how important bike set up is. Racers were eager to get their bikes dialled in and ready for the gnarly, high impact course awaiting them.
Whilst bike set up is important, protective gear is equally so. DH helments were the popular option, being pretty much the best thing out there that offers maximum protection for your noggin. Goggles varied from rider to rider, but they became somewhat essential as the race progressed in the blazing glare of the afternoon sun.
DH rigs weren't the only two-wheeled entities out there. Many other forms and varieties of our favourite vehicle roamed the high-adrenaline woods.
Riders were eager to get feet on the ground. The most obvious attraction for inspection was the ominous drop leading down into a plywood receiver, which gradually evolved into a sections of stairs for riders to tackle. The other option was attacking this section via the whole flight of stairs, stage right.
The crowd came quick. Families, friends, and other members of the public. With this many awesome two-wheeled beasts, it's hard to stay away. That, and the high intensity race that was moving into practice sessions while the day was still relatively cool.
Just as eager as riders were to walk the course, even more eager were they to check it out from behind their handlebars.
A close up of Bikezilla's Joseph Tan as he wrestles the course.
Riders aimed to approach the drop as smoothly as possible. Executed well, it could reward with a hefty speed boost, which obviously translated into a tighter time on the course. Executed poorly however... Let's just say your race timing may very well be the last thing on your mind.
Chris Ng nailing the first of two lengthy stair sections. Chris put in a tight seeding run, but lost out on the 3rd tabletop during his race run, resulting in one of the gnarlier tumble-downs of the race. Luckily, Chris walked away unscathed, and ready to pin it another day.
The second section of stairs is just as treacherous as the first. Riders were managing their approach speeds with great care as they approached this section so as not to overshoot into an awkward position on the flat surface just before the rest of the stairs meets their tyres.
Just because it's a race doesn't mean there isn't any room for flair.
Riders were making great use of the practice runs, right down into the seeding bits. As the first day of practice and seeding came to an end, it was clear that riders were trying to squash the jumps to gas out as much speed as possible out of the course.
In a sport of this nature and intensity, injuries are almost always just around the corner. I caught a shot of this pretty nasty one. Luckily, the rider was completely unharmed, though pretty badly shaken. Great effort on his part though, as he fought to control the bike, even in that awkward position.
Another jump squashed low as seeding timing was preferred over some juicy air.
The level of riding was one of the best I've seen at an urban downhill event. What that meant was riders in the hot seat were being swapped around so fast, butts fried. Caught a shot of Bikezilla's Jeff and Mel enjoying their stay at top spot whilst it lasted.
Fat Bikes. They haunt our dreams and our waking realities. And yet, they proved impressive on the course over the weekend, what with their massive tyres being greatly suited to tackle the square edged bumps of the staircases.
A master at work, behind the hefty reins of his hefty steed.
The Open Category Winner, Irvin Tan. I very nearly didn't get a shot of him at all as the announcer didn't scream out his name. So luckily, I was rewarded with this pretty awesome one of Irvin tucking low and looking very fast through the 3rd tabletop.
The best trick category. Probably the one category everyone was looking forward to throughout the weekend. Ng Chee Keong taking to the air and giving everyone a reason to hold their breaths, apart from the non-existent haze.
Tailwhips. Something on my Christmas List.
Participants of the Best Trick Category took time to discuss and consider their approach to the course.
360s became something of a staple over the weekend. But no one was complaining.
Even bringing it low and tight looked awesome, all with just a little touch of flair.
Check out more of the shots on Bikezilla's Photo Gallery section to relive the action that went down!
Jerome Tan is part of the Bikezilla Editorial Team. He is currently off the saddle nursing some broken bones from a bad crash on the trail. When he is not writing about his passion, he is mugging his way to be a lawyer or enjoying his freedom somewhere in the trails. He enjoys spending time in the green rather than in urban jungles. Some may mistake him for a random homeless person living off the land in the depths of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. With all that said and done, Jerome enjoys wanton mee, and excessive amounts of laksa with equally excessive amounts of chilli just before a day out riding. You know, just to make things interesting.
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