When: 20 March 2009
Where: Mayrhofen, Austria
Rider of the Day Benni Wetscher front 9s the moto gap. All photos: Daniel Burrows.
Squally snow storms sadly meant the Gäng Jäm proper couldn't be run, but the jam session that went down saw some epic riding and, ahem, drinking.
I'll start with a quote from Danny Larsen if I may: "This has turned out to be pretty much the best contest." And he's not far wrong, even though the finals were replaced by a session. The Ästhetiker vibe and creativity is well-known and the prospect of the good times meant many riders skipped on being at some little contest in Vermont for the shredding and partying in Mayrhofen and those that made it up after the bad weather call certainly stepped it up and produced some solid riding.
Honorary Pirate for the day, the mutinous Joonas Mustonen.
So, to the action. As I said, the finals proper were abandoned in favour of a Jam Session due to the crappy weather. First up has to be a massive shout out to Reini Rieser, Stefan Fankhauser and Benni Wetscher for triple teaming the moto transfer in the middle jump. With but a couple of metres separating them they laid down 5s, 7s and 9s in machine gun succession to the hoots of all around. Benni, riding solo for one run, even stomped a solid front 10 over the beast and, in general, killed it regardless of if there was a snow storm or the sun was shining. Ethan Morgan was up for trying his double cork backside 10 but wound up too much and drifted off the side of the kicker. Fortunately there was a bunch of pow that he landed back first in to save his young body a battering and he ended up settling for a regular back 10 which was one of the reasons he was awarded Rookie of the Week (along with 14 year old supergrom Georg).
Benni chasing comeback kid Reini Reiser. Double front 7s.
In the RedBull end section, Tyler Chorlton killed it with a crazy transfer from the hip into the cradle that saw him bag the best end section award, but Stefan Fankhauser wasn't far behind with his backside disasters on the oververt. On the Carhartt 18m down rail, Ethan dominated again to edge out Tonton Holland with some trickery that involves sliding down and switching around and stuff (rail trick names make my head hurt...) though UK Scallywag Rich Hookes impressed with a switch front board down the beast's length.
Between tweaking as only he can, Joonas Mustonen joined forces with the Pirates team and was seen shralping about with a bottle of Jack Daniels in hand, pulling Jackflips and Jackside 3s before the inevitable happened and he came a little short on a Jackside 5 to smash the bottle and lose all the precious amber. Word was that Ingemar Backman had a bottle of Vodka so perhaps that accounted for the carnage that Haugo, Larsen, Chorlton and Joonas were unleashing at the party.
Come the prize giving, it was the Jack & Cheese team of Markus Keller, Lucas Blaser, Iouri Podladtchikov and Jack Shackleton who were crowned winners thanks to their performance on the semi final day. In the draft they had to pick their rookie last but Shackleton held his own and had the last laugh by taking home the money. There were heaps of other awards being dished out because of the Jam session that replaced the finals, the aforementioned Rookie, Best End Section, Best Rail and so on. But the biggest cheer of the night went up when the Rider of the Week was announced. After apparently not riding for 3 years, local Reini Rieser had been killing it all week and deservedly mounted the Suzuki bike.
Tonton Holland steezing over the 'Onboard Loves You' picnic tables.
Then it was time for Masta Ace and his live band to drop some hip-hoppery and for more partying to be made, the details of which are best kept private. So, to sum up. This has been the best contest I have been to for a long while. Imagine what it would be like if they can hold the finals next time. So fingers crossed and chickens sacrificed that when we come back to Mayrhofen next year the weather gods will play nice. This event deserves it.
Click below to read our reports of the previous days' action.