DarkFEST 2020 was insane! The biggest jumps and an amazing crew of riders from all over the world guarantee greatness and this year was a really special one!
Sam, Nico and Clemens did an amazing job on the build, the 3rd year here has them dialling everything in and CDog got a nice little toy to measure the angles and distances so that they could keep what worked and perfect things where they felt it could be improved. Nothing goes by perfect equations as wind, body position and how you pop can change your trajectory quite seriously, but these guys have been building more and more big jumps and really got their accuracy down.
After some testing, there were 1 or 2 things they wanted to change slightly. The Lip on the hip had slightly sandy dirt that was not compacting well, so they replaced that with more solid clay and the new last feature, the Rocket Launcher #2
got a slight tweak on the lip. It was doable as is, but they were planning on throwing down some big tricks on it and wanted it perfect.
The riders started showing up and jaws were hitting the floor every day. These jumps look massive in photos and video, but you know being here and seeing them in the flesh adds a new dimension to them and they are much bigger than most people think. Lips bigger than vert ramps, but made so perfect that after a few hits the guys were actually feeling quite safe on them, which completely blows my mind when you look at them.
As usual, any wind means that the line is super dangerous, but the step up is semi-sheltered, so they could still throw down on that and get comfortable hitting a lip and around 70km/h. When conditions are perfect, then it's go time and the guys make use of it! Up at 6:30 am to water and if it's overcast they can ride straight away, but if not the sun is in their eyes until around 8:30. The mornings are normally the safer bet for sessions, but we were lucky this year and got a few good afternoon sessions too.
It really didn't take long for them to warm up and start sending some tricks and we were treated to some incredible riding. Tonnes of huge whips getting the bikes upside down and backwards, Jaxson doing flat 3's first hit in the morning, Bienve with his frontflip Tsunami and frontie on the last, Clemens with a flip on Rocket Launcher #1
back to back and a massive extended flip nac on the last. Too many amazing things to mention, but that's why we have the highlights edit
Another highlight was 16yr old Ike, who's farm the jumps are on was finally old enough and big enough to carry speed to hit everything. He is cautious and smart in his approach and asks the guys some questions to make sure he's all good, but everyone knew he was ready and so did he. First one off the list after the step up, which he hit last year, was the 90 footer. The kid has style and not only did it but looked super comfy in the air. Not long after that he was joining the top to bottom trains and taking a hand or foot off in the air too.
Some of the biggest treats for me was watching the "Builders Trains" Sam, Nico and Clemens coming down the mountain was one of the most beautiful sights. Huge whips everywhere and a sprinkle of extra steeze from Nico, extended superman's from Sam and CDog being his usual boss self and flipping things that don't make sense.
Such an amazing year and some all-time sessions on these crazy jumps. Everyone has been bitten and just wants to ride them more!
What will we have in store for DarkFEST 2021? I'm not sure and don't know how you can go any bigger than hitting a massive jump at 70+ km/h, but these guys always find a way to make it more insane and tweak things to make them more comfortable to send even bigger tricks.
Thanks to everyone that makes this event possible! It is really something special and without their support, it wouldn't be possible.
A special thank you to the sponsors, Monster Energy, Kenda, Polygon, Adidas/5.10, Sany and Bobcat. All the boys are way too excited to ride this course more, so sure you'll see us back next year!