[Young Frenchy Sacha Moretti, Backflip Indy on the Pole Jam © Fred Egli]

Italian shredder Emilio Lauzi wins the 14th edition of the Poney Session Rail Jam; Norway crowned in the Knuckle team Battle!

Surely, it was written somewhere that it would be hard to completely achieve a good contest this year in the Pyrénées… late and inconsistent snowfalls, warmth, the Franco-Spanish mountains will have gone through every difficulty this winter, which won’t be remembered as a great one. Because of this, it was really impossible to maintain a slopestyle in the park as it’s been usually done for biggest French event of the World Tour – the only one by the way. The people in charge finally chose to offer a Big Air instead, with a few rails and a pole jam, to be able to organise a team contest, around the topic of ‘football’ (of course!), and then an individual contest.

The Saint-Lary shapers, who decided to add bad mood to bad luck, were not able to bring enough change to the big jump in the morning to offer the necessary security for the riders, given the really strong wind gusts. Nevertheless, Poneys, judges and riders gathered to the spot on Friday morning with joy and happiness and saved what was left to be saved with such wind and bad conditions, when they decided to launch a big knuckle team session, then an individual rail jam. It was a wise choice… even if this format meant that none of the points would be counted by the WST. Everything had to happened during this little weather window on Friday anyway, because the forecasts announced that the storm was coming back on Saturday, which was the day initially dedicated to the finals.

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So the contest started by an unprecedented team contest. The riders, at ease with this format, developed their imagination with enthusiasm to honour this type of module that is really trendy nowadays: the knuckle.

Although it was not easy for the judges (nor for us) to recall everything when three riders rip together – or just one after another – sending knuckle tricks, four teams really stood out from the rest of the group: the French first, with Yannick Boudjelal, almost a local here and particularly expansive on this contest : double cork! He will be the only one who landed a real trick during the training session on the big table (Rodeo Back). And there is also this huge One Foot from the young Sacha Moretti! Then, the Swedish demonstrated a real variety of tricks on each run. But it was Norway that finally took the victory with the best team run of the daye: Double backflip indy / Half Cab Butter 540 Back / Rodeo Back 7… no less! Closely followed by a really strong Finish team, and particularly Mikko Rehnberg who showed great style and energy! Every rider won a shared prize-money for this team session.

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After a good sandwich and a little break with a mini football game in the dedicated space provided by the inflatable structure, it was then time to launch the ‘main event’, which would be a rail jam on the five remaining modules: four rails and the pole jam. Among the most beautiful tricks of the day, we will remember the French on the pole jam: Sacha Moretti send a Rodeo Back Melon and Yannick Boudjelal in a massive 360 Front tail. On the same module, the Norwegian Fridtjof Tischendrof could have exploded the score if he had landed his attempt of Half Cab BS 5 Out… Big UP to Bendik Gjerdalen for his Backflip Tucknee. Truly, the Norwegians were obviously not there for the (faked) 50-year anniversary of Grego, the famous skateboarder/MC who entertained us all the weekend!

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We saw some big technical tricks on the series of rails: particularly from the British Rowan Coultas, with some gnarly Frontboard 27 Out. And also with the incredible run of the Swedish Anthon Bosch: Cab 27 Frontail 27 Out, followed by a 50/50 FS 3 Out. But for the first time at the Poney, it was an Italian rider that was going to take the lead, Emilio Lauzi, with THE combo of the day: Frontboard 45 out et Cab 27 Frontboard to Fakie. With a special mention to another Italian guy, Marco Grigis, who took some massive falls but stayed really motivated.

Britain's Fin Bremner goes geometric with this Backflip Tucknee on the knuckle. YBR

But the Poney is not only about snowboarding, it is also some good skateboarding, some concerts and some football too. The small tournament with teams of three in the inflatable structure saw the victory of the British over the Poneys in a great final game, thanks to the mighty Rowan Coultas. George Poole, as usual, was inflicting pain to the mini ramp, overlooked by MC Grego, who gave a red card to his protégé for a tackle on the carotid on the mini-ramp coping… hard to get away with this!

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Regarding red cards, it was the theme of the party Saturday night, with DJ Pace, Skillz and Vitalic entertaining 1200 people, after the Common Dantzt! evening powered by the great crew from Biarritz Musique d'Aperitif and DJ Mike Rock. Two successive and massive parties, which some will have a hard time forgetting…

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Final ranking is as follows (even if the TTR points will not be accounted for), the first six riders won goodies from Dakine and a prize money:

INDIVIDUAL RAIL JAM

1-Emiliano Lauzi (ITA)

2-Anthon Bosch (SWE)

3-Sacha Moretti (FRA)

4-Rowan Coultas (UK)

5-Bendik Gjerdalen (NOR)

6-Mikko Rehnberg (FIN)

7-Martin Sire (NOR)

8-Yannick Boudjedal (FRA)

9-Markus Bakken (SWE)

10-Marco Grigis (ITA)

11-Peter Gron (NOR)

12-Patrick Cinca (GER)

13-Fridtjof Tischendrof (NOR)

14-Tuomas Pohjonen (FIN)

15- Nuuti Niemela (FIN)

16-Fin Bremmer (UK)

17-Sebastien Konijnenberg (FRA)

18-Stian Kleivdal (NOR)

19-Pau Bartolo (SPA)

20-Vlad Khadarin (RUS)

TEAM BATTLE (KNUCKLE CONTEST)

1- Norway (Bendik Gjerdalen, Stian Kleivdal, Fridtjof Tischendrof)

2- Finland (Nuuti Niemela, Tuomas Pohjonen, Mikko Rehnberg)

3- Sweden (Anthon Bosch, Calle Skold, Markus Bakken)

4- France (Sebastien Konijnenberg, Sacha Moretti, Yannick Boujdelal)

5- World/Wildcard (Vald Khadarin, Martin Sire, Peter Gron)

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