Monday, May 11, 2009

Bike Days Festival Switzerland

Driving up from the coast of italy, we noticed a certain change in scenery as we approached Switzerland – big mountains on the horizon!
We drove into Switzerland over the Simplon Pass which was really high and there was still tonnes of snow. The views were breathtaking and there was hardly anyone on the roads. We diverted to have a look at the Matterhorn and then stayed in Visp. The next day we drove a lot of the back roads of Switzerland to get to Solothurn the location for the next competition.

Solothurn is an old city with a historic centre surrounded by a high wall and three towers through which you can enter the pedestrian only streets. The festival – Bike Days, was located just outside the wall with the BMX/MTB jumps in line with it. There was also an XC race, the start line was just outside the wall of the city and the competitors did a start loop through the village and then looped through the festival site for feeding etc. They looped right infront of the dirt jumps with a sprint finish. It was a good set up because the XC spectators were up on the bank to watch and had a clear view of the jumps, and vice versa, when people were watching the dirt jumps there were XC racers blasting past. Cool way to integrate the two disciplines. There were lots of market stalls showing off their products, you could test ride all sorts of bikes and there was a free Downhill Shuttle up Weissenstein so I made use of that whilst Kelly had practice.

Saturday was the qualifiers and with a field of 30 riders it was tough to make the cut of only 10 riders into the final round the following day. There were some sick tricks thrown down and Kelly was stoked when he found out he was the 10th rider to make it through. During the finals there were crowds of spectators cheering. Each rider got 3 runs and 2 counted toward the super final of 4. The final 4 were doing gnarly double tricks like no handed flips and tailwhip 360s. Kelly placed 10th overall and even got some prize moolah! Met some awesome people at the comp such as Ramon Hunziker who bought us to our next destination – Thun. Thanks Stefanie for the great company and a place to stay.

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