Malmedy, a little, yet beautiful and cozy town in eastern part of Belgium which, despite being very popular destination in all seasons, usually stays quiet. However, there is this one week in July when this peaceful bubble is broken. Yes, it's a week of another stop in FEST series, LooseFEST. And who would have guessed that in the mind of such a cool and laid back person like Nico Vink, there is this insane idea of a monstrous jump line.
The third edition of LooseFEST was as gnarly as the previous two where the "have fun, ride, party, sleep, repeat" rule is the only rule at The Ferme Libert Bikepark. Fresh blood showed they're not afraid, the usual crew rode like it's normal to jump 75foot doubles, and of course Nico Vink was riding like a total boss. But jumping big jumps brings big consequences when something goes wrong. Yes, several unfortunate crashes happened and it was Kyle Jameson and Damon Iwanaga who got hurt most. Luckily, even going down hard did not spoil their week and they had good times with all the good people who came over to enjoy this very loose week. So, here we go, it's time to go very, very big...
BOOM! Just look at the size of the last hip jump. Sam Reynolds fully appreciates the line built by Nico Vink.
Jasper Flashman, a very keen and enthusiastic mountain biker from Cornwall, UK.
His MX background definitely helps when riding at LooseFEST.
LooseFEST is the reason I bought a DH bike in the first place. I can't thank Nico enough for letting me be a part of it, along with Monster Energy and Jean David, the Bikepark Ferme Libert owner. LooseFEST is an amazing week, literally like no other! The feeling of the jumps is like nothing else, so much airtime! This year was awesome for me to hit the pumptrack on the BMX, main line on a Moto with Andreu, then jump straight onto my DH - that was a cool feeling. It's so mellow on a moto and pinned on the DH bike! Three bikes in one day is always a win in my book. See you there next year! - Jasper Flashman
Andreu Lacondeguy casually warming up and doing speed check before swapping to his bike without an engine.
Every evening's routine...
The run-ups, same as the jumps had to be perfect. Nothing can put any rider at risk of unwanted injury.
LooseFEST 2016 was the best FEST stop so far. Nico Vink knows how to build the best and the biggest jumps on earth. It was an awesome week! Thanks to Nico And Jean David for everything. - Vincent Tupin
Two or more riders trains were a normal sight at the Loosefest. These guys really enjoyed riding in trains and feeding excitement from each other. Here, Vinnie (black helmet) follows Nico.
It was clearly visible who the main man is at the event. The jumps gave back a lot to Nico in exchange for how much time, effort and love he put into building and shaping the line.
Kurt Sorge was truly enjoying his time at Ferme Libert and he's riding really reflected this fact.
Motocross bikes are not unusual things going through the jumps.
Conor Macfarlane felt like a bird in the sky.
LooseFEST was amazing! The amount of air-time was like nothing else I had ever experienced! Nico had perfected the jumps over the last three years, so they worked perfect, no pedalling and only a tiny bit of braking before the last one. It was pretty awesome hitting jumps as fast as you can, especially the step-down, 60+ km/h and the biggest bunny hop you can do, makes for one hell of a jump! I went to LooseFEST wanting to flip something and ended up flipping the last jump during the first session, I think it was. So after that, the logical step forward was to flip one of the bigger ones. It wasn't anything I planned really, I just decided on the way back to the top that I may as well try it and it worked out each time, so I can't complain. LooseFEST was one of the best times I have had on a bike! Huge shout out to Nico for putting on such an awesome event! - Conor Macfarlane
Despite going down during the very first riding session, KJ was fully supporting his buddies.
Ethan Nell is going for, as Jasper Flashman described it, the World's biggest bunny hop.
The first time heading into the 90ft step down was just like every other. Adrenaline pumping! You land off the third jump, pump and speed-tuck to get as much speed as possible, staring at the blind, flat lip. Then it's just flying from there. - Ethan Nell
Conor styling over the last hip jump. Some of the Old School tricks looked amazing in his execution.
Conor was absolutely on fire, all week! Insane backflip at the last jump in the line.
It's been exactly around year for Sam Reynolds to ride at a FEST stop for a very first time and he never looked back since.
Vincent Tupin giving it all at freshly built "trick jump".
He definitely put it to a good test. Nico's talent proven once again.
Did I mention that Conor was mega-stoked to be a part of Loosefest crew this year? He rode like crazy whole week. Can't wait to see him at Rampage, now.
Antoine Buffart felt comfortable on the new jump, as well.
"Did you get any sick shots, bro?" - LooseFEST is a paradise for all action-hungry photographers and cinematographers. Chris Greenwood, Eric Palmer and Tom Bowell checking out what they snapped.
Indian Air which went horribly wrong for Sam.
He paid a hefty price for missing a handlebar.
Sam Reynolds is tough as nails. Despite a horrific crash, he kept a smile on his face, but unfortunately, this crash took a toll on his body.
A very nice example of true sportsmanship.
LooseFEST 2016 was executed perfectly by Nico Vink. Nico has the canvas to lay out his dream jump line with a rope tow and a hotel, all on the same hill! It's really perfect storm for a FEST event. His dream line is no joke, it's background comes from 15 years of World Cup racing and BMX trails influence. It's high speed and tech, all in one! I didn't have the best of luck this year, I had a huge crash while we were testing out the line, the first day. Just one mistake took me out for the week with a hurt foot, a concussion and a buried soul... But I was happy to be alive. I had to sideline the event, which was actually extremely cool, but had to swallow. I was able to see what kind of impact the actual riding was having on the public. People were getting stoked up! Yelling and cheering, you could tell that these fans were feeling it and wanting to ride bikes and that's what we're all about... Good work, Nico and I'm coming back for my unfinished business... - Kyle Jameson
Vink's wild ride on a "toboggan".
Years of experience and riding freeride pretty much his whole life, helped Kurt to go through the LoosFEST with nothing but a big smile on his face.
A single crown bike action anyone? Simon Perdrix is a mad man!
He's got balls of steel, that's for sure!
Bad weather day does not mean a bad day, at all. These guys will always find a way to have good times! Go Karting on a nearby track while raining was just the perfect excuse to go sideways, even if closer to the ground.
Nico Vink going full moto!
I'm super stoked how LooseFEST 2016 worked out! We've had more riders than the previous years and the line had more flow then ever before. On top of all this, we got super lucky with the weather and got loads of riding in! I'm gutted for all the guys who crashed, but those were only minor injuries, fortunately. Thanks to everyone for sending it! Can't wait for the next year! - Nico Vink