Video: 12-Year-Old Rides Fest Sessions Malmedy Jumps Alongside Nico Vink, Andreu Lacondeguy & More

Sep 29, 2021
by festseries  


We haven’t been the most fortunate with regards to the weather in 2021, After having a 4-day rain hold for Session Royal we had another 10-day rain hold for the Malmedy session.

This year’s rider lineup was one of the heaviest we ever had in Malmedy and we were really looking forward to session the jumps with this crew. Andreu and Lluis Lacondeguy, Vinny T, Brage Vestavik, William Robert, Jaxson Riddle, Remy Morton, Szymon Godziek, Thomas Genon, Sergio Layos, Marcin Rot, Hannah Bergemann, CJ Selig, Kristoff Lenssens, Jeroen (Red Belge) Meersman, Nico Vink, Raul Schneeberger.


Riding big jumps requires perfect conditions for the jumps to work, so there‘s not much else to do but wait when the rain pours. Sometimes it gets super frustrating watching perfectly shaped jumps being rained on, but it’s part of the game.


Luckily we built a new medium line in Bikepark Ferme Libert last year, and the crew got to enjoy riding the bike park. (We‘ll release a couple of raw videos from the park sessions the days following the highlight video).

After one week of riding the park and watching the big jumps being rained on, the weather forecast didn’t seem to improve so the crew split up, On Sunday most riders decided to return home due to other commitments. Nico, Remy, Hannah, Hanna, Marcin, Redbelge Raoul, Alois, Skye, and Oliver decided to drive 1000km south back to France to be able to ride the Royal hills line in perfectly dry conditions.


We planned two days of riding in Royal Hills before heading back to Malmedy. During those sessions in RH our minds got blown. Towed by Aloise Adamo, (one of the shapers of both lines) 12 years young Raul Schneeberger was working his way down the Royal Hills line. The fact that Raul was chipping away jump by jump wasn’t the most impressive but his approach, how calm, calculated, and mature he was riding the line impressed us the most.


Raul made the jumps look easy with his effortless style. He cleared the line until the 24m left hip but was lacking some speed for the main set. That‘s when Nico offered to tow him in and Raul hit the main set at Royalhills after his 2nd or 3rd try following Nico. Raul didn’t get to ride the second last shark fin and the last jump at Royal Hills because we had a 5-day weather window coming up in Malmedy and on Wednesday we decided to head back to Belgium to finally hit the Malmedy line.

Returning to Belgium the conditions were looking good. We did some work on the jumps Thursday afternoon so they were good to go for an evening session.


Unfortunately not all the riders managed to make it back to Malmedy due to other commitments but we ended up having a small but super solid crew. Andreu Lacondeguy, William Robert, Thomas Genon, Marcin Rot, Hannah Bergemann, CJ Selig, Jeroen (Red Belge) Meersman, Remy Morton, Nico Vink and Raul Schneeberger. After putting in a couple of weeks of hard work and watching the jumps being rained on for one week straight it felt beyond amazing to finally session the jumps with the crew.

On Saturday evening, what was unthinkable 8 years ago happened. Raul had been up at the roll-in with us riding the warmup hip. He reached out to the crew and mentioned he was keen to hit the first set off the mainline. Nico offered to tow him in and after a couple of test runs, Raoul hit an 88-foot jump. This is one of the most special moments we ever witnessed at a fest event, The vibe was unreal.


On Sunday’s session, Raoul was hitting the first set multiple times and started to eye up the 2nd and 3rd set of the line. The crazy thing was that Raoul was looking so calm and controlled on the jumps that it didn’t worry us that he was considering riding the second and third set of the line. Again Nico offered to tow Raoul in and after a couple of tries Raoul blew our minds again and he hit the biggest set of jumps of the world.

After all the waiting for the rain to pass, and things not working out, the 2021 edition of the Malmedy session turned out to be one of the best editions ever. Some next-level riding went down this year, Andreu Lacondeguy was throwing down, as usual, Thomas Genon absolutely killed it on his debut on the Malmedy jumps and William Robert stepped up the game by spinning one of the biggest jumps ever spun.

Hope you all enjoy the video.

The Fest Series.

Photo article: Hanna Retz

-Build
Alois Adamo, Nico Vink, Marcin Rot, Red Belge, Kristof Lenssens.

-Riders
Andreu and Lluis Lacondeguy, Vinny T, Brage Vestavik, William Robert, Jaxson Riddle, Remy Morton, Szymon Godziek, Thomas Genon, Sergio Layos, Marcin Rot, Hannah Bergemann, CJ Selig, Kristoff Lenssens, Jeroen (Red Belge Meersman, Nico Vink, Raul Schneeberger

-Medics
Laurent Lambert, Johan Wiertz

-Media
Hector Cash, Raul Martinez, Jelle Harnisfeger, Hanna Retz, Sergi Barnils, Martin Vinje, Thomas Theunissen.

-Sponsors
Monster, Reverse Components, Transition Bikes

-Special thanks to Bikepark Ferme Libert and the Thomas Family.


67 Comments

  • 70 0
 I did that too when I was 12. Lost the drone footage in the vcr though...
  • 13 0
 Should have put it on a LaserDisk
  • 9 0
 @seismicninja : That would never happened, had you bought a Beta machine instead of a VCR Smile
  • 64 16
 Meh, too much media for me.

I prefer it more "core".
  • 11 10
 who wants to see all those photos.. effing posers..
  • 12 5
 man fest would have done themselves a favor if they did it literally any way but that. unfortunately, their press release on that situation had an impact on how a lot of people view them.
  • 13 5
 @adrennan: I think that everyone can agree that whole thing was handled poorly by the Fest guys.. there's no number of downvotes that can change that..
  • 1 0
 That's funny.
  • 16 3
 Or a situation that was blown out of proportion by Internet comment nerds.......
  • 3 1
 @nojzilla: neeh.. I still think it was poorly handled.. no amount of mindless internet rage can cover the elitism of that whole affair..
  • 4 0
 @VZLNMTB: from who tho?
Who actually knows what really happened over some Internet roumers? I heard em all. Energy drink sponsor conflicts?, Fest OG's not getting an invite? social media coverage conflicts?
One thing we know for definite is all the online bullshit came from those NOT in the know.....
  • 2 1
 @nojzilla: They should have put it to rest and done an interview. I'm sure folks from many outlets reached out and tried. Or, just talk with their riding like they did with the last two videos I guess.
  • 41 1
 I’d be more impressed to see a 47 year old with a mortgage, high health insurance deductible, slow healing time and a job he/she needs to get to Monday morning do it.
  • 3 0
 :-) :-) stop talking about most of us (who are even older ! ) :-)
  • 1 0
 You just need a job where you send a lot of emails, write proposals, validations and manuscripts of various sorts, and do Zoom meetings. Ask me how I know. Except for the health deductible part as this is Canada.
  • 45 9
 Remember to not view or like any of this. Views and likes go against the core values of Fest
  • 28 3
 Made sure to watch with Adblock so the guys could keep the event hardcore
  • 1 0
 This footage was just leaked from their headquarters: youtu.be/FWmM4W5jXYs?t=38
  • 19 0
 Might just be me, but this is what I love to see. Amazing riding and killer music without 20 minutes of marketing fluff about ‘all the boys are showing up’, ‘the track’s coming together’, ‘putting the final touches on it’, or ‘it’s going to be insane”. Happy for those that can make a career out of Look at Me, Look at Me, but thank god there’s Vink. Thank god there’s rock and roll.
  • 9 1
 dude, I couldn’t agree more! fest series did an incredibly bad job on explaining it. But I totally get what they mean now. First of all, as a fan, I would much rather watch a carefully curated 7minutes video with high production value than loads of 20 minute vlogs with only fillers and thinly veiled commercials. But I think that from a riders perspective, hitting stuff that is so far beyond what I even can imagine, you would want to be in full control of when and how you would do it. Secondly, after some time now, and a couple of events form both fest and Reynolds. You see a stark contrast in the formats. Not saying that it isn’t room for both. I’m just saying it becomes more and more obvious what the fest series guys meant. I mean like, one is a hyper commercialised event and the other is people riding bikes on ginormous jnumps.
  • 26 9
 We have little kids that do crazy riding in MX and kids that dominate in motorcycle racing, so it was only a matter of time for kids to be into MTB. Being fearless as a kid really is a massive advantage. Unfortunately, not all of us had the privilege to ride multi-thousand dollar bikes as kids, nor was the technology nearly as good back then for youth bikes. Ah, what a time to be alive.
  • 20 0
 If you as a kid don't have a couple of thousands available for a bike, get a bmx.
  • 70 2
 I asked our pro freeride coach, who coaches the big sending kids, about kids being fearless. He said "It's always frustrating when people say 'oh the kids are fearless' because its absolutely the opposite and those comments diminish the achievements of these kids. I see kids white-knuckle GRIPPED before hitting big sends and walk-away and progress and work and progress and come back and succeed. There is always fear for them and they all know what a big crash is like. We teach how to manage it, learn from it and process it healthily but also to not just send it without progression. But fear with little kids going huge, is always there. They just learn to manage it but also know that they have the skills because they've practiced so damn much."

I think that's all true and also there are just certain people in this world (adults and kids) that have a stronger/aggressive mindset about taking risks. I'm not one of those people, but my oldest boy is. Also the kids program is so much better now. Their foundational skillsets in MTBing are getting closer to what the BMX programs are putting out (many of the crazy MTB kids have BMX backgrounds). MTBing for many people (myself included) is filled with people with very narrow foundation of skills (not jumping). So there is a lot to the puzzle of what goes into kids going huge. Its definitely not expensive bikes and being fearless tho. Its a lot of money & time that goes into the program of coaching, travel, practice, park fees, camps etc etc. just like skiing or hockey etc.
  • 1 0
 @Svinyard: So.. damn... true..!! Thanks for sharing!
  • 12 2
 I feel bad for some of the kids really pushing the limits of the sport for their age in mtb and moto. They've got insane skills, but have a high-risk, low-pay career ahead of them, especially if they neglect a backup career through their youth.

Without an education, how are they gonna make it through the rest of their lives if they get hurt and can't ride?

I know a few pro xc racers that have been able to race and train through college to get a degree, but I've never heard of that with moto. Not sure about dh.
  • 5 0
 @Svinyard: Agreed!

My kids ride and ski hard and have their whole lives.
Since a young age our family motto has been:

"IF you think you might not make it, you won't"

They are not sending themselves of huge hucks because they are fearless, they are doing it because they have the skills and experience to know what is doable and reasonable. Much like Ryan in this video who is very comfortable with the speed and air required.
  • 6 0
 @anaughtymouse: I wouldn't feel bad for these kids, some of the best times of their life. The work ethic to compete at that level, transfers well into other career aspirations.
  • 1 0
 @Svinyard: very well explained. thank you. absolutely amazing jumping in this video
  • 2 0
 @Svinyard: It's generally a lot of time and money and coaching by the parents. I'm sure Raouls Dad is feeling proud right now. Good job Dad. Nothing like seeing your kid rip. My youngest daughter is a ripper and the real difference between her and my oldest is she feels much less pain. she has taken the most horrible wipe outs and shakes it off. So pain threshold is a factor as much as supportive parents and raw talent.
  • 3 0
 @Svinyard: I 100% agree with this. I also have two sons. Both with fairly advanced bike skills.
Nice bikes have helped a lot, but very carefull coaching, multiple discipline and a lot of positive encouragement have done more.
They both have very different styles and approaches to riding. And although at times to the unfamiliar, they would seem fearless, it actually take quite a lot of time and effort to get through a next step.
  • 3 0
 @anaughtymouse: agree and disagree. A number of the DH'ers have been studying while they train. I believe that myriam nicole in a trained physiotherapist. Finished her studies a few years ago. Others have done engineering... Ceasar Rojo who is behind Unno I think was a DH racer for a while.
But yes there will be many that don't balance things between riding and study... much like many others who never follow through on study.
  • 1 0
 @powderhoundbrr: not always tru, i have 3 that ride ski and bikes since beginning, 2 of them better hold of until they ready, middle one just pushy the limit, sadly enough had severe injury already (not sport related tho);

Having said that the following rider have definitely insane confidence in what he is doing huge props to rider and crew behind his success
  • 2 0
 @Svinyard: so very true ! my 12 year old is how I can reflect on this comment and he is definitely not fearless; you can see him shaking and expressing his angst after dropping into lines that push his limits. Kids generally have better balance, flexibility and power/weight but also need to overcome similar mind games that us adults also battle.

They should also be allowed to say no if they are not ready. Just like the rest of us. Kudos to Raoul. Bloody impressive !
  • 2 0
 @anaughtymouse: I recall Rachel Atherton once mentioned how she was so impressed by all the French racers who are in university whilst competing at top level DH racing. Tracey Hannah went back to college a bit later in her career but she has probably finished it by now. Many schools and universities have special regulations for athletes competing at the top level so if you manage to make it up there before you enter uni, you may actually be in a better position combining sports and study than if you're in the sub-top. Though in some cases they'll only support you if you're competing in sports with an olympic status. Which for me is one of the many reasons to hate the olympics with a passion. But yeah, I think the French have a great program that allows kids to combine sports and study. Maybe something similar goes for the Swiss though obviously Camille already finished her study before the entered DH racing. The main thing to note though is that kids who already perform at high level sports are often more disciplined and have better planning skills than kids with two much time on their hands. So in a way we could also view it like this: pick a sport you're passionate about. Once you're ready for uni and you're still passionate, you'll find a way to make it work.
  • 13 0
 Does the kid have a name for the headline? or just 12yr old?
  • 4 1
 Raul Schneeberger.
  • 22 0
 Or Rauol depending on where you’re at in the article.
  • 5 3
 Raul was brought in by the PR consultants as a full proof way to smooth things over. Smart move
  • 6 2
 Pink bike commetors are funny. A world class athlete crashes and gets injured and they all be like, this sport is too dangerous and how do we make it safer. Also though when a pre teen hits some of the biggest jumps being hit by any riders and they all be like, this is amazing there's so much progression going on in this sport.
With kids hitting jumps like this how do you expect the sport to not keep pushing the limits and then wonder why they do and people get hurt?

Way to go Raul. I love they direction this sport is going!
  • 7 0
 this sport is sick
  • 2 0
 I tried jumping a 12m table on the Namen (B) DH course once. Made it half way and bottomed out my bike and cracked the frame (found that out later). After that, no more big jumps for me. But kudo's for the guys that make these seemingly impossible jumps, I've been to the Malmedy site before and it was already too big for me. And that 12 yo kid, wow.
  • 2 0
 I remember when I was 12 I had a cheap Walmart mountain bike and used to send it off my dads mulch piles after we made into a jump. Those were the days.
  • 4 0
 Daughter: "He's flying...I bet he feels like he's flying"
Dad: yep.
  • 2 0
 I ride mtb for almost 12 years now would never think of hitting one of the jumps
  • 1 0
 Oh, I THINK about hitting jumps like that, alright. Yessiree, I think about it a whooooole heap...
  • 4 0
 Epic stuff!
  • 3 0
 Stoked for him! Life changing moment.
  • 4 0
 Well, that was sick
  • 2 0
 Awesome! I raced a bit in Belgium with Nico and saw Martin Maes first time when he was 12, but this kid is unreal..
  • 4 2
 I prefer fest to remain totally out of the media...then I can just imagine how cool and gnarly they are...
  • 2 0
 I feel they're a bit limited in their whip's amplitude, I recommend to use single crown fork guys...
  • 3 1
 12 year old has limited enough social media presence to hang out with fest series hardcore mofos
  • 2 0
 Am I the only one who find it strange that the article title doesn't even mention the name of the rider but only his age ?
  • 2 0
 Are kids at 12 years old still made from rubber?
  • 18 0
 nah they are made of that frame tape stuff
  • 6 5
 Having your jump sessions get rained out definitely feels like the realest thing. The Darkfest guys should take note.
  • 3 0
 Dang
  • 2 0
 Just noticed we have ‘billy bob’ doing some hucking
  • 2 0
 Will he race World Cups at 14?
  • 1 0
 wonder when we will see the first single digit aged kid doing a backflip on a 90 footer...?
  • 1 0
 they did some proper digging there in malmedy... loads of air time. SEND IT, RAUL \m/
  • 2 0
 BEASTS
  • 2 0
 Unbelievable
  • 3 2
 Love FEST. Truly do. Except for the whole core b.s.
  • 1 0
 Another sick edit! Anyone know the song?
  • 1 1
 Didn't see the mum anywhere in the video....interesting...super rad!
  • 8 0
 Go check their insta account "les 9 roues" and you will understand. I know the family, they are just amazing.

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