DarkFEST - The Grand Finale

Feb 13, 2018
by Pinkbike Staff  
DarkFEST 2018
All photos: Eric Palmer / Monster Energy

With undeniably the most incredible course ever built for a Freeride event, DarkFEST absolutely lit up in 2018. No stranger to pushing the limits of the sport, Sam Reynolds dreamt up a whole new concept to the event this year, with a completely new location at the newly founded Hellsend Dirt Compound in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

With his co-conspirators Nico Vink and Clemens Kaudela, they dreamt up a dirt playground to rival the biggest courses seen in the Freeride world. Taking a natural approach to following the line of the mountain and building into the already impressive contours of the hill face, the course offered something for every one of the 12 invited riders to turn it up.

DarkFEST 2018

Opening with a winding 3-part shark fin line, before dropping over a road-gap, brings you to the approach to the 90 footer, which pushed each rider to his limits. Then straight into a long and low 55 footer that had to be scrubbed.

After this, the run-up to the hip flings the riders almost over the edge of the mountain, reaching heights of up to 6 metres over the lip.

No rest before the riders drop in the super steep landing of the second road gap and hurtled down at speeds of over 70kph to take on the 27 foot almost vertical Step Up.

DarkFEST 2018

The wind was a constant battle through the week, with sessions being called off due to the unfavourable conditions, but when the sessions were on, the boys were going full beast mode into each part of the course and pushing the limits of what they thought possible.

Standouts from the week were Adolf Silva, who was the first to flip over the 90-footer closely followed by Clemens Kaudela, who followed his flip and backed it up with a huge 450 over the hip.

DarkFEST 2018
Adolf Silva flipping the 90-footer!

Competition day saw the boys completely turn it up for the 1000 strong crowd, who bought their tickets and climbed the mountain to witness some of the best Freeriding that has ever gone down in South Africa.

DarkFEST 2018
Nicholi Rogatkin took the Best Trick with a mind-blowing Cash Roll on the Step Up that was voted by all the riders.

Sam Reynolds had the sickest Whip to win the Spank Whip-Off over the 90 foot Beast to win the goods.

Nico Vink had the sickest flow with the overall Best Style award going his way and after all his hard work admitted that the course was “a dream come true.”

DarkFEST 2018

DarkFEST 2018

DarkFEST 2018

DarkFEST 2018

DarkFEST 2018

DarkFEST 2018

DarkFEST 2018

DarkFEST 2018

DarkFEST 2018

DarkFEST 2018

DarkFEST 2018
Brendan Fairclough with his new BOS fork setup

DarkFEST 2018



62 Comments

  • + 58
 New USD BOS downhill fork? Did I miss something here? Is there a reason a fuss is not being made about this?
  • + 8
 bit of a on-the-sly info drop there...
  • - 70
flag colincolin (Feb 13, 2018 at 3:59) (Below Threshold)
 Sadly nobody cares about dh forks that much anymore.
  • + 21
 I care!! INFORM MEEEE!!!!
  • + 6
 over 6.6lb/3kg...
Combined with a carbon swingarm he could front flip easy!
  • + 6
 @Patrick9-32: Cheers.

That thing looks like an absolute beast and I want a go.
I do like their approach to tuning though...

"Bos are surprisingly ungenerous. Their philosophy is that they’ve perfected the spring curve and don’t want you to be able to mess with it"
  • + 3
 @qreative-bicycle: In all honesty, that isn't particularly heavy. I doubt my Idylles are far on the trim side of 3kg, if at all. They're wonderful forks bar the lack of adjustability, but they're a hefty pair.
  • + 0
 Beefy AF
  • + 1
 @codfather1234: Your Idylle is actually closer to 2.7kg than 3.
And it has an arch for torsional stiffness.
  • + 2
 Its been announced at the end of the summer, but considering how big is the presence of bos on the market combined with some mixed experience regarding customer support (from the internet, not mine), there was never much fuss about it...
  • + 1
 @qreative-bicycle: how do you know which fork I have?
  • + 11
 haha classic pinkbike community. The raddest photos ever of people charging massive jumps, BUT wait.. is that a new fork?!!
  • - 1
 @thestraightline: Yes, damn them for wanting to know the details of a relevant, high value product they might buy! The photos and the story are great, I think we're all in agreement. I don't see how being interested in an exciting new fork detracts from this, or why it is an unreasonable thing to bring up.
  • + 1
 @codfather1234: I don't think it was a negative comment mate, he was just making a joke about us mountain bikers beause that is typical us.
  • + 34
 Video or it didn't happen ;-)
  • + 8
 How you work yourself up to hitting jums of this size I have no idea, nutters. Immense though, its getting closer to MX size jumps all of the time.
  • + 1
 Bikes are also getting closer to mx bikes
  • + 2
 @MountainGoatLover: DH bikes are no closer to mx bikes than they were 10 years ago, same amount of travel etc only the angles have changed realistically, still pretty much no comparison, other than that hey have wheels....
  • + 1
 @Racer951: What about these moto-links serveral downhill bikes are using recently?
  • + 1
 @Joe0711: Im not sure there is a link that is specific to a 'moto' is there? I also cant see many 'moto' links about anyway?
  • + 1
 @Joe0711: I'm not going to keep arguing this but I really don't see what the sender has in common with a motorbike, linkage or otherwise - ever seen a Horst link mx bike for a start?

Mx bike shocks are usually down by the pivot and driven by a short pull to push dog link to control leverage ratio - not much like any mainstream push bike on the market, especially as mx bikes are almost exclusively single pivot.

If anything, bikes looked more 'mx' years ago with super monsters and strange extra large saddles etc.
  • + 8
 pick US or the "rest of the world" for units... switching between feet and meters is like talking in english and french in the same sentence..
  • + 44
 Tabarnac you parle pas en frenglish? How you comprend pas is beyond moi. Les boys on fait des sick tricks on le 90 footer et le step-up
  • + 4
 @juicebanger: lol est bonne
  • + 2
 @juicebanger: Reminds me of Salvatore in the name of the rose
  • + 6
 Omelette du fromage!
  • + 5
 it was great Event !! great having those riders by us !!
  • + 2
 Where are the videos, I get that its a bit difficult to go with the redbull type production but surely there is lost revenue on not making some sort of highlights package?

I really want to see these guys sending it!
  • + 2
 These guys are just amazing and I can't get enough of this. I can't imagine what it must feel like the first time you roll in to these mammoths.....
  • + 4
 Imagine if the step up was made into a normal double.... epic air time!!
  • + 1
 that's pretty much what the first jump is...
  • + 1
 @ericpalmer: yeah but the first jump is pretty much less inclined/ vertical take off
  • + 4
 26" isn't dead!!!!!
  • + 3
 Sick riding and awesome pictures. Waiting for the edit. Big Grin
  • + 4
 brendogs new fork??
  • + 2
 + brakes and cranks
  • + 3
 festive photos!!!
  • + 1
 Brendog's new brakes, TRP
  • + 1
 Spoiler alert on the home screen.
  • + 2
 Video?
  • + 2
 It will drop eventually, that's their end product so they spend some time making sure the quality of the sick edit is top notch
  • + 1
 But did Ethan Nell dip 3 the step up? And pics?
  • + 4
 look in my DarkFEST II album
  • + 0
 Did they use 26?? cant wait to see the Highlight video
  • + 0
 No footage?!
  • + 2
 They have it but given that the main objective is to produce a sick edit, it won't be out right away. Stay tuned
  • - 2
 Is this freeride or big ass slopestyle? Asking for me!
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