What a blast! The 13th iXS Dirt Masters Festival has raised the bar once again thanks to the high variety of contests with stacked line-ups and a stoked crowd on the first two days. The biggest German gravity event of the year welcomed thousands of spectators to watch world-class contests and athletes go head-to-head in near perfect weather conditions. We still have jam-packed hours of mountain bike action ahead of us!
The first two days at the iXS Dirt Masters Festival saw thousands of spectators and hundreds of athletes and their families celebrate their favorite athletes and show their stoke for mountain biking at Bikepark Winterberg. It was the groms that kicked off the festival during the premiere edition of the Sparkassen Kids Race and the Specialized Rookies Cup. With parents and friends of the athletes lining the tracks and cheering the young guns on the atmosphere was already trending in the right direction before the first big highlight of the long MTB party weekend the “ROSE Best of Ten” contest.Best tricks and bunny hops get the party started
Lukas Knopf and Erik Fedko (both GER), both world-class slopestyle riders in their own right, had been given the task of defining ten tricks, which challenged a mixed field of amateur and pro riders. „Dirt Masters is special to me because it was the first event in my career, where I had the chance to prove my skills. We each thought of ten different tricks and then agreed on the final list. I am stoked it worked out so well,” explained Lukas Knopf. The new event was based on a “cash for tricks” format, with challenges set by riders for riders and let the audience decide who won each round by how loud they got. 24 athletes from all over Europe battled it out to perform their best version of No Handers, Nac Nacs, Backflips, Flip and Tailwhip Combos and “Best Goon” in ten separate bouts.
“The Dirt Masters Festival is all about having fun, meeting friends I don’t get to see the rest of the year. We wanted the contest to welcome locals, amateurs and pros alike and everyone was meant to get the chance to show what they can do. It was great to kick off the event and I am really looking forward to everything that is still to come,“ said a grinning Erik Fedko. The Grand Finale of the “ROSE Best of Ten” put the riders to the test as they performed their “Best Trick”. Despite rain starting to drizzle the spectators set the place on fire with their support for the riders that gave all they had. With a weekend of contests still ahead of most of the participants it came down to a showdown between Janek Röttgen (GER) and Erik Fedko. Röttgen certainly gave Fedko a run for his money but wasn’t able to prevent the 21-year-old pro from taking the win home.
The first day concluded with an intense Bunny Hop Battle, which saw YouTube and bike phenom Fabio Wibmer from Austria and two German riders Max Wegener (GER) and Jonas Grau (GER) push their limits in a nail-biting final. Mexican waves from the spectators and a monkey from the crowd doing the limbo spurred the young riders on and created a massively infectious stoked atmosphere. After both Graus and Weber were able to hop over the bar lying at 110cm the crowd went mental and celebrated the winning tie.Tight racing, Dark Fest prominence and Currywurst
Athletes and spectators were welcomed by a mix of sun and clouds to the venue on Friday. The promising weather set the scene for an intense day and good vibes in Bikepark Winterberg. The “Braap Off”, a contest honoring the best roost, got the crowd up to temperature before the second big highlight of the festival was on the cards. The BMO 4X Rumble saw over 80 athletes head to the start line in hope of taking home the prestigious win in their respective categories.
The tight head-to-head racing got the spectators roaring and an international field of riders left everything they had on the dirt. One name raised a few eyebrows. Normally known for building massive jumps and sending it to the moon, Brit Sam Reynolds made his way to the iXS Dirt Masters Festival with Ben Deakin (GBR), who will compete in the iXS Downhill Cup on Sunday, and dressed up for some 4X shenanigans. The only problem: he didn’t have a license to race the pros. But thanks to some helpful clues from the organizers and a brief call to British Cycling, he was ready to rumble.
Even though he wasn’t able to get past the quarterfinals, it was evident he had had a blast racing: “I haven’t been in Winterberg since 2013 and it has grown a lot since back then. I heard the Whip Off is ten times bigger now, so I am really looking forward to that too. Racing Four Cross for the first time in 10 years was super fun and a cool experience. I just fancied having a go in front of the nice crowd. I really enjoy Dirt Masters, it is one of those events, where you can have fun without pressure and that is why I am here. Now, it is time for a couple of beers and some Currywurst!”
The win went to 5-time German National Champion Benedikt Last (GER), who rounded off an exciting two days of contests: “I just want to race events for fun and Dirt Masters in Winterberg is a must-see. I think I have been here nearly every time in the past eleven years. It’s always great to come back. There are so many different disciplines on one fairly small hill, they certainly max out their potential. It’s great to see so many spectators and how the town itself is stoked for the party and racing bikes.” And the first ladies were honored during the Four Cross on Saturday evening with Laura Küderle (GER) taking the win.
Racing commences on Saturday and Sunday where athletes such as Josh Bryceland, Sam Reynolds, Fabio Wibmer, Dawid Godziek and Jasper Jauch amongst many others are in for masses of fun during contests such as the iXS Downhill Cup, Enduro One, Continental Slopestyle and the legendary Warsteiner Whip Offs powered by Spank.
Photos by Dirt Masters Festival - Felix Hens / Nico Gilles / Kai Brake
For more information about the iXS Dirt Masters Festival 2019 please go to: www.dirtmasters-festival.de