Photos by: Rich Kurowski
At the Züritrails Dirt Jump Contest the best Swiss riders met strong competitors from abroad. Thomas Genon (BEL) and local hero Lucas Huppert fought for the win in a very tight battle.
At the outskirts of Zurich, squeezed between a railway line, a highway and a pump track, built next to a shopping mall, sits the Züritrails Jumppark. When the riders take off, for a second it looks as if they try to escape from this tiny patch of land, stuffed with dirt jumps. Of course, the riders feel comfortable here. For the Swiss, this is their second home, the riders from abroad are their guests. One of them is Belgian Thomas Genon, one of the greats of freeride mountain biking and dirt jumping. "It’s a small park but the jumps are really cool. Riding here feels like a training session." He is currently in sixth place of the FMB world ranking and has been FMB world champion. In Zurich, he is the biggest rival of local hero Lucas Huppert.
«Huppi», as he is called by his friends, has had a great season: The 18-year-old has won his first FMB Gold Event and has entered the top 20 of the FMB world ranking. This is another reason to go for the win in his home event. The previous editions of this contest have been disappointing for the rider who has done more tricks in this park than anywhere else.
23 riders try to qualify for the final. It quickly becomes clear, who is a serious contender for the top spots. Apart from Genon and Huppert, it’s the French athletes Simon Pagès and Antonin Honoré as well as the Germans Lukas Schäfer and Dean Friedrich. The crowd made up of all ages from 1 to 50 years or more is enjoying the runs as the October sun. From time to time, the younger go for a run in the pump track nearby. Others use the test bikes Biroma bike store has to offer. And the youngest go hard on their balance bikes in the TSG Nipper Race. A tight battle
Dark clouds form the dramatic backdrop of the contest final. Huppert – once again – misses his first run: At the second to last obstacle, he slips of the pedal and crashes. Genon is flying in a league of his own. Behind him, Lukas Schäfer has an impressive run. Huppert has to calm down first, before he is able to concentrate on his second and last run. He then comes back with height and style from the step-down at the beginning to the quarter pipe at the end of the contest line. If this was enough to top Genon’s score, is the talk among some of the spectators.
After the final, the riders get a chance to make some money in the Cash For Tricks Contest. The one who managed to impress the jury with his trick gets his reward right after his run: ten Swiss francs for a good jump, twenty for a very good one. Some get five francs for a spectacular crash – none of them injured.
The riders and the crowd have to wait until the prize-giving until the winner of the Züritrails Dirt Jump Contest 2018 is revealed. It’s Tommy G. whose best run scores a mere 0.7 points more than Huppi’s best (88 against 87.3 points). Nonetheless, Huppert is happy: “My second run was good and so is the result. Hey, this is Thomas Genon! He definitely ruled today.” Genon didn’t even notice that everyone expected him to win. “This is Lucas’ home spot”, he said, “he knows these jumps way better than I do. But it was really fun to ride here. Cool that my run was good enough for the win.”