Mon, 8 March 2010

Extreme events are synonymous with extreme temperatures in Cape Town this year. Chris Mason and Pierre Marqua checked out what's hot at the 2010 Pro-X Event out at Zone 7.

The red dirt swirls occasionally in the hot wind. Everything is scorched, and the heat rises off the road in a thick wave. It’s around 12pm by the time I get to the event, and although there are a lot of people around, I can tell survival is a primary concern. In heat like this, 43 degrees, even the smallest movements, or a little too long in direct sunlight can be dangerous. On arrival I am told that the wake pool was popped by the riders the day before, but besides that all is well, and the athletes are doing their thing across the arenas while the crowd sweats and looks on. Like most X-treme sport events the Pro-X has a combination of disciplines including FMX, BMX, motocross, Trials biking and the discontinued wakeboarding and relocated skateboarding events. The arena was big, with an assortment of ramps, stages, stands and courses scattered amongst the wattle trees. Outside the forest was a big motocross course that looked permanent and next to it two huge lumps of dirt, which would act as the landing for the FMX riders.

The FMX riders started the second half of the day off by throwing huge plumes of orange and grey dust around as they sped across the course, hitting the bank and whipping their tails in a very cutback-esque way. Once fully warmed up the four riders started hitting the ramp, soaring 35ft in the air and landing to the cheers of the crowd. The four FMX riders, Stuart Cooper, Nick de Wet, Brendon Potter and Dallan Goldman showed some impressive antics. Even though I tried to be impassive, it was hard not to hoot when seeing these guys hook their feet around the handle bars and stand to full height on the top of their bikes all that way up in the air.
It was duly noted that due to the high cost of medical insurance these days, the riders didn't pull out all the flip tricks that had the crowd in awe at last years event. Even so the crowd hooted and clapped at every impressive run made. It truly is an awe inspiring discipline to watch. Maybe next year we can get a bloated medical aid scheme to cover the backflips.

After the FMX came its un-motorised cousin, the BMX. Skinny jeans, skate-punk type style dominated, and although the riders didn’t look very professional, with no pads and scuffed sneakers, they certainly performed at a top level. With five jumps lined up in a short course, the BMX riders launched themselves into spins, flips and tweaks that showed real skill, talent and commitment. Some of the guys even pulled off highly acclaimed back flips, and Wayne Reiche had the crowd on their feet as he slotted 3 perfect front flips. The front flip has to be one of the scariest BMX maneuvers around, literally head over heels and Wayne is landing them like a seasoned veteran. Gautengs Greg Illingworth, local boys Malcom Peters, the Loudon Brothers and Red Bull's Buddy Chullum all pushed one another to the limit and after 5 runs each the dust settled and the winners were decided You’ll find the results at the bottom.

The trials riding was also very entertaining, with the crowd gasping and groaning while watching the precarious progress of these very skilled individuals. A relatively new discipline in SA, with its roots in the motobike discipline with the same name, the bicycle version is more of a hybrid between mountain biking and street BMXing with a touch of madness thrown in.  It demands a high level of concentration and with the evolution in equipment, trails mountain bikers have learnt to hop and jump onto and over things, using their brakes and supreme balance to navigate off roots, branches and whatever else comes in their way.

At the Pro X there was a very technical course built for the guys to hop and balance on. It included a set of parallel beams that went up at least a 10ft. The guys were hopping up sideways to get up to a thin plank that ran through the trees and along onto a platform. They were walking the first part as a rider had come off and plummeted to the floor earlier in the day. After riding through to the next platform, the guys had to get up onto their back wheel and hop the 10ft high and 8ft wide drop onto a table. It was intense and they got a big clap on arriving safely on the floor. But the heat had its way eventually, and fatigued riders started coming off, whacking into the unforgiving wood corners around them, until they called it quits. It was quite a show nonetheless.

The day wound down with some motocross, where unfortunately one of the riders found himself on the wrong end of a huge tail whip, and he crashed to the floor with his bike landing on top of him. Amazingly he walked away about ten minutes later, with a shy smile and wobble, while the crowd gave him a big cheer. People dispersed slowly as late afternoon set in, moving off to the next party or maybe just a cool shower. Everyone looked hot, grimy and happy. It was fun, but next year I am wearing a sombrero.


1: Malcolm Peters

2: Stuart Louden

3: Greg Illingworth



1: Andrew Guess

2: Peter Haley

3: Reneir Du Plessis


Supercross (Biggest Whip):

1: Ryan Engelly

2: Dewald van der Berg

3: Jan Ryan


Zander Visser
0 #3 Zander Visser 2010-09-17 19:07
That's not Andrew Guess it,s Peter Haley!!!
Paul van Jaasveld
0 #2 Paul van Jaasveld 2010-03-09 13:31
Nice coverage and epic pics!
0 #1 Tara 2010-03-09 00:11
Awesome pics Pierre! Big up dude!
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