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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Brendan Fairclough with his new BOS fork setup