Photo Epic: The Bar Has Been Raised - Audi Nines 2021

Aug 30, 2021
by Samantha Saskia Dugon  

When I left Audi Nines last year, I would have been hard-pressed to have thought of a way the crew could improve the event, but the organisers went even bigger for this year's edition. Back in the quarry in Birkenfeld, Germany for the fourth year running, Sam Reynolds and Clemens Kaudela were busy in the weeks prior to the event crafting this year's course which included a Freeride, Slopestyle, Big Air and a whole new Jam line.

From the first day on site, it was clear to see that the organisers were committed to communicating with riders, including the women who were making their debut at the event, wanting as much feedback as possible to make sure that the event was setup the best it could be. This open conversation and collaboration with the riders is one of the many things that makes Audi Nines such an amazing event for everyone involved. The Audi Nines team spent a lot of time getting feedback from the women on what sort of features they’d like to ride at the event. The outcome? The warm-up “Jam” line which sees one drop, two juicy hips, an over/under berm jump feature rolling into an amazing step-up trick jump which kept all riders entertained day in, day out.

What a debut it was for women at Audi Nines, with BMX'er Caroline Buchanan landing the world's first women’s front flip to dirt and freeride newcomer Robin Goomes sending and nailing a Backflip Can on day 1. It was clear to see how eager and excited the riders were this year, arriving on Monday and hitting the Jam line straight away in the evening before the event had even really begun set the pace and vibe for the week.

This year's edition also saw the most variety in riders both in disciplines and age. From 8-time BMX World Champion Caroline Buchanan to freeracers such as Brendan Fairclough, freeride legend Casey Brown and slopestyle hero Emil Johansson. The women also provided us with the widest range of ages, from Germany's Patricia Druwen who was just 14 years old and a sponge to everything going on around her, soaking in all the knowledge and experience from the talented mix of riders at the event, to the UK’s Joey Gough, who at 40 has been styling it since the 80’s with a lot of experience under her belt from BMX and 4X racing, discovering dirt jumps in the early 2000's.

Audi Nines 2021 - let's GO!

Patricia Druwens 360 bar spin
Endless smiles all week long

A casual crankflip off of the Slopestyle boner log

A brightly coloured Tomas Lemoine flipping the last jump on Freeride

Adolf Silva cheering on the other riders

Good vibes all round

After a morning warming up on the Jam line, riders dispersed to session the lines they had been eyeing up and the women’s attention turned to the first couple of features on the Slopestyle line, namely the drop and the hip. As the girls dropped in and did a few run-ups to the ramp, the excited nervousness was getting stronger, knowing that someone, very soon was about to drop in and hit it for the first time. Then, seemingly out of nowhere as the others were still eyeing up the takeoff, Joey Gough dropped in and hits it perfectly first time, also sending the boner log straight after the hip. Filled with the rush of adrenaline, Joey said:

bigquotesI just wanted to get it done so I didn’t have to sh*t myself anymore!Joey Gough

Joey Gough hitting the hip on the Slopestyle course

Emil being Emil

Backflip tuck no-hander from Sam Pilgrim

Erik Fedko sending the Freeride line

Suicide no hander from Brendog on the freeride line

Casey, Caroline and Kathi checking the clips

Kaos Seagrave hitting the 60ft hip on the freeride line

Alma getting some last minute tips before dropping in for a backflip

After a crash on her first attempt, Alma got straight back up to do it all over again and stomped it!

bigquotesEverything is so well built, so even though it looks kinda scary you can just roll through and it’s just super fun. It’s so sick to be here, there are jumps everywhere, features everywhere, it just looks so cool!Alma Wiggberg

Veronique Sandler and Robin Goomes sending the final jump on freeride line

Big Air provided a lot of opportunities for endless trick combo trains

Gemma Corbera sent it hard with absolute commitment to the sport which saw her take away the "Savage Award" on Gala Night

Girls train going down

Vero's no-hander to crank flip

Casey Browns Superwoman

The Freeride line was for big sends only

Caroline Buchanan's one hander

Both bikes and bodies are put through the ringer at Audi Nines

Women's train on the Jam line, this one had everyone with goosebumps!

Maximum stoke after a full group train on each line

Audi Nines is a playground for riders, and playgrounds breed creativity and progression, so it’s no surprise that world-first tricks get thrown down year after year. This year we were treated to four new sends with Caroline Buchanans first women’s front flip to dirt, Sam Hodgson's backflip superman to tail whip, Elias Ruso’s Frontflip heel-clicker on a DH bike and Emil Johansson's 360 double downside whip to bar.

Elias Ruso

bigquotesIt was an absolute dream come true for me to be here, I’ve been watching this event since 2013, and all of these guys that join and gather to this event are basically my heroes and legends that I grew up watching. Seeing their riding is just amazing and now being here and riding together with them is just absolutely insane. I’m speechless to land my first ever frontflip heel clicker which is a personal highlight for me. The whole setup here is absolutely incredible, the guys crushed it here with the whole building of the course and my absolute favourite part of this course is the freeride line.Elias Ruso

To finish off the week, the riders and crew gather for Gala Night to celebrate, watch the sick edits that the filmers have been working on, and hand out the awards to the riders. It's no surprise that Spanish rider Gemma Corbera took the win for the Savage Award after her mighty crash on Big Air, but it's not just having a crash that qualifies someone for such an award, but their commitment, determination and passion for the sport. Despite a night in hospital, Gemma was back as soon as she could to support all the other riders, albeit with some FOMO herself. Caroline Buchanan took the award for best trick after landing the world's first women's frontflip to dirt, Veronique Sandler won the Best Style award, because, well, she's endlessly steezy, and Robin Goomes won the Ruler of the Week award for her no holds barred attitude to hitting everything and anything.

In the guys categories, Bienve Aguado was awarded the Best Freeride Line, with his endless flips and passion for the big jumps. To no surprise, Emil Johansson won the Best Slopestyle Line Award, with his perfect execution and world-first tricks, he is one of the most satisfying riders to watch on course. Isle Of Wight's Sam Hodgson got Best Slopestyle Trick for his Backflip Superman to Late Whip, and Elias Ruso got the award for best freeride trick with his worlds first frontflip heel clicker on a DH bike. Erik Fedko took the award for Best Style, and Daniel Ruso claimed Ruler of the Week for being consistently sendy, stylish and passionate. Whilst there are awards, Audi Nines is not a competition, the event is about providing a space for these riders to thrive, and this year with the addition of the women, the rate of progression from everyone supersedes anything Audi Nines has seen previously.

Including the women in the event has been a long time coming, and whilst the girls themselves were nervous before turning up with not knowing what to expect and unaware of just how welcoming the Audi Nines family is, by the end of the first day the atmosphere on site was warm, welcoming and it felt whole. The men and women coming together to do what they love was the missing piece of the puzzle that has taken Audi Nines to the next level. I'd like to say a special thank you to the organisers for making this event happen, especially as we are still dealing with Covid regulations, and a special thank you to Sophie Acworth who is the one responsible for bringing such an amazing array of women together to make this THE best Audi Nines to date.

Robin styling up the 60ft hip on Freeride

bigquotesIt’s honestly been the most epic week, I’ve never been involved in such heavy sessions.Robin Goomes

Peace out Audi Nines, you da best!


  • 34 0
 I fully appreciate what all the riders were doing and just how massive the jumps are BUT...damn, Emil's un-look back is the money shot for me. Reminds me of Mike Aitken in his prime...pure unadulterated style.

@Samantha Dugon that there is a shot worthy of framing and having a prime spot on any wall!
  • 17 0
 Emil is just showing a handy way to check why your headset is creaking on the go
  • 14 0
 That picture of Emil is just dripping with style. It's like there's an audible *click* when he hits that unturndown
  • 1 0
 I think the whole quarry would have gone silent to appreciate the awesomeness then after landing gone MENTAL!!
  • 7 0
 OMFG, props to all riders and especially the ladies. So awseome to see them ripping the track i almost sh*t my pants just watching by the photos.
  • 9 2
 Rad to see freeride finally include women, good thing Downhill racing has been doing it for over 30 years.
  • 6 0
 Not to criticise, this new wave of female freeriders is awesome and amazing but more devils advocate....
Seems like womens freeride has blown up in recent years due to there being more girls hitting big stuff, more awesome female riders stepping up.. I mean how many women where hitting this stuff 30 years ago.......¿
  • 4 0
 @nojzilla: Spot on assessment. Fully support females going for it and getting their due props. However, freeride never 'excluded' women from all I know. There just hasn't been a sustained female interest or participation at this level until recently. Get some girls/ladies/super women!
  • 3 0
 Samantha Dugon - not a name I remember seeing before but these are excellent photos. Specifically I think it's hard to take photos at these events that aren't just documentation of the riding, a lot of these shots use really creative framing and demonstrate a narrative which is super cool for bike photo>. Great work!
  • 3 0
 Bike Life……it’s literally THE BEST!
  • 3 0
 That Emil shot! damn!
  • 3 0
 Yeah I just sent it to a buddy of mine that's a bmx legend as hates on mtb's in the dj world. You can't not respect that.

And I really need to see the 360 double downside whip to bar. Love a good downside.

And how does one backflip superman to tail whip? I can't even make my brain picture that.

Love all the DH bikes and Caroline out there on essentially a pump track bike with that tire set up.
  • 1 0
 @onemanarmy: tell your buddy MTB is to BMX what Snow board is to Skaters
  • 1 0
 @onemanarmy: for the flip superman to whip look at Sam Hodson's last Instagram post.
  • 2 0
 That dirt work is just crazy. How do you even do that?
  • 2 0
 It's the dream

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