Another fun week-end in Saint-Lary saw the victory of a very consistant Petja Piiroinen, as revealed yeasterday. He's bagging up this WST 4Star title in front of Eric Beauchemin and Tyler Nicholson. Here's the full shabang of what went on, on the park and beyond.
Friday aftenoon was a wrap for the WST 4Star Da Kine Poney Session in Saint-Lary, as it was the only window of clear weather, before another storm got the whole Pyrenees dumped on with a solid layer of fresh new slush. Speed was a bit tricky when the sun came out around midday, right in the middle of the qualifications. We saw a few solid knuckles but man, those guys must have plastic legs!
The Poney set up was consisting in a pretty meaty jib set as starters, with mainly 4 different lines: two flat-down, one gap to down, and a big Roman column as the them of this year was 'Renaissance'. The 'Cardinals' opened up with their round of qualifications. We had seen a few Triple attempts at training but obviously the sun was now in the game and the two bottom kickers after the jib set saw (only) doubles, if I can say so, from Steen, Reversade (FS dub and BS dub), or Slias Moran, who started straight in with the big tricks. Beauchemin and Nilo opted for pretty big 10s on the St Lary kicker, just like Nutti Niemela who was also putting down some heavy Backlips and Frontboards on the jib set. Some other opted for more original tricks on the stairs, like Daviet with his Backflip over, followed by BS9.
After the Cardinals qualifications, 5 men were still in for the big final: Beauchemin, Niemela, Thorley, Nicholson and Kleivdal. It was time for the Beggars to go.
Hagen and Piiroinen stood out first. Piiroinen was firstly pinning down that pole on the first set, before throwing some of the cleanest Dubs, Cab9s, BS10s or an über massive BS7. The Swiss Boesiger was also putting down some solid runs with big FS7s and Dub Rodeo at the bottom. Only the party got him bad later on...French Pastis man, now you know! Sami Luhtanen was found having trouble with clearing the big St Lary table (aka the Poney head kicker), which meant not possible to hit the Da Kine table at the bottom. Sami never really found the pace of the course despite some pretty solid efforts.
And from the 6 rookies (under 18) only Mick Ciccarelli from Canada and Vladislav Khadarin from Russia were able to pass the cut, which saw a total of 6 riders qualifying from the Beggars round: Ciccarelli and Khadarin indeed, plus Boesinger, Hagen, Piiroinen and Belgian Sebbe Debbuk.
End of the the jam session format, the 11 qualified rider had now 4 runs to show their best. The speed was obviously better after a bit of work on the kickers, and Beauchemin was starting clearing some huge BS7 and FS10 - BS3 50/50 on the middle rail. Nicholson was also in the game with Cab270 to Frontboard (arguably the best trick on the jib section), Switch Back 9s and either Dubs or FS10. But nobody was going to surpass 'on fire' Petja who was throwing the biggest tricks of the day with 360 bonks on the jib set, then Cab 9 on the big Saint Lary kicker and Back 10 on the bottom Da Kine booter. It was going to definately be a close call between the US, Canadian and Finnish riders. And the suspense was going to be hold until the following night, for the final party, as a warm up cheering for Dedicated Nothing and Dj Pone.
But the day was not done, as after the final all the riders gathered again for a Tricks for Cash session on the sick VDLR Garden designed by the Godfather of the event Victor De Le Rue. Six or seven different and creative lines on a compact area, with pole jam, C-rail, down rails and tubes, all featuring gaps with consequences. And of course, Bishop Thomas to give the 20 Bucks for each trick that appealed the garden judges, Franck Moissonnier and Victor himself. Thorley, De Pasquale, Boudjelal, Henning, Beauchemin, were a few to make a bit of baking on the sick display created by Godfather Victor.
Right after this and before another sick Poney party, it was time for the 'Hospital or win' run: a top to bottom race proposed by Fluofun, with absolutely no other rule than finish first. At this game, we bet our monney on Enzo Nilo, who of course made it first in from of Keke and Moissonnier.
1-Petja PIIRONEN (Finland) - brings home 4200€ prize money
2-Eric BEAUCHEMIN (USA) - 2100€
3-Tyler NICHOLSON (Canada) - 1500€
4-Morten KLEIVDAL (Norway) – 1000€
5-Ole Christian HAGEN (Norway) – 800€
6-Ian THORLEY (USA)
7-Sebbe DEBBUK (Belgium)
8-Jonas BOESIGER (Switzerland)
9-Nuuti NIEMELA (Finland)
10-Mick CICCARELLI (Canada) – best rookie 500€
11-Vladislav KHADARIN (Russia)