So a few days back we brought you Daf Price's report from the ATBA-UK '17. Now we have Mark Hales perspective of what has gone down as an epic event.
WORDS: MARK HALE
The road was looong....with many a winding turn....Well thats pretty much the trip to hereford for you..... We set off in the flagship Jimmy, heading south towards the fair shores of Hereford Board and Bike Park (these nautical terms working for you?). Arriving with my not so savvy crew of 2, we set up camp and took a tour.
I had never been a fan of the old track and freestyle at Court Farm buuuuuut that was before a big track refresh and a whole new jib/freestyle line had been added.. schweet! And you know we Hale's boys like jib!! Well impressed was our Tom, Miss James, Phil and Amy!
The track looked narrow, fast and dusty as hell!.... Whats that i feel?? Oh yes, the familiar butterflies called Fear, Hope and Death have returned to their natural habitat... my bowels!... In typical mountain board fashion, we descended the hill to warm up for the next day.. Star jumps, squats, leg stretches and sit ups were all completely ignored in favour of food, fire, ale and great company. I think it was 4am when i passed out but it was defo 9:30am when i awoke to ATBAUK action man Matt Brind announcing the order of the day. I have competed for 10yrs now, never been up before that buzzer, always next year!
Racing kicked off with some bangers and i don’t mean a wee christmas chipolata, I’m talking old school beano string of sausages butcher chasing the dog with a cleaver bangers! My Tafia boy Daf entering his first race, you sir are now a man! Daf will agree, freestlye and downhill are all good... but you want a buzz akin to jumping out of a perfectly good plane, you race.
"Hips were hugged, jumps were jumped, pumps pumped and the corners were deadly! ? Regardless, an amazing day."
The masters and pro categories were seriously competitive! With new faces in both, a big welcome to Graham Wedderburn stepping into the old man shoes and a masters/red dwarf rimmer stlye - We salute you - to Scott Leadbitter for a huge berm exit! So gnarly mate! Racing finished with a 4th for myself....#rerun. Joint first into the first corner but with only one line available, Pete 'nosno legend' Tatham held his line, I did not.. Ah well, one less layer of skin on ma buttcheek to worry about!
Saturday night was filled with beers, bonfire, jolly stacking big time, confusing lead singers and a wee bit o' ShireFunk. Making for the usual epic mountain board party with Hale's and Trampa leading one another astray again!! Nicest people in the world this lot x
Downhill was awesome, 2 tracks, accumulated time. People were flying! First track was crazy fast and off camber, didnt make it down clean once! Second track was quick and rough but way more forgiving. Everyone had a blast! Joshua Hale - my nephew - beat me! I knew i shouldn’t have given him a board...
Sunday evening, i think was supposed to be a quiet one, great movie screen set up with constant edits streaming buuut this all changed when a small man named Frieda mounted a giant circus ball and was propelled 20ft up and across the park, genius! Video is online and well worth a look! The night then went off, i love mountain boarders.
3rd day.... Man i was tired! Party, compete, repeat was taking its toll! Fortunately the super fun freestyle gave us all a boost, folks be throwing down some serious tricks! Ben10 trying 1080's the size of a house, James switch rodeos, fellow Chalfordian Emlyn flipping everything, Ash speed flips and Matt Brind again and again going frickin' huge with a pile of steeze on board with too many tricks to name! The masters was a bit more tame but not by much. Harry hitting up big front 3's, Neil throwing big back 3's, Cheb carving up the park and myself trying a load of things i dont remember, bloody loved it!
I walked away with a few podiums, broken fingers and the 'takes a hiding keeps on riding award' which pretty much describes my weekend well.... All in all a great weekend! Team Hale's taking the national champs for the 6th year running, just saying.
Big shout out to Josh Hale - the future. Matt Brind - the present. Roger Swannel - the ghost of xmas past. Lei Leonard - Harry Potters fav teacher. Adam Hale - master of ceremonies.
Big up all your bad selves! Until next time - Mark Hale X
The team at tafia.co.uk would like to thank ATBShop.co.uk for their photo contributions.
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