Photos by Lars Scharl (action) and Sebastian Färber (prize giving)
Neukirchen/Wildkogel, Austria, August 30th 2011 – The Suzuki Nine Knights crowned the glorious winners of the Freeride-Contests on Saturday evening at a presentation in their honour. The most successful rider was Martin Söderström from Sweden who won two of the four categories.
Yannick Granieri of France was the winner of the big air section. The highlights of the awesome six-day Mountainbike Sessions in the Urlaubs-Arena Wildkogel Neukirchen Bramberg can be seen in a four-and-a-half minute film that goes off like a firecracker.
After four wonderful summer days with extensive sessions on the Big Air Castle, as well as the newly built Freeride Trail, the public day fell victim to the bad weather conditions on Saturday. Snowfall and wind gusts up to 100 km/h forced the riders to spend the day in the Wildkogelalm, and a final contest was sadly unable to be considered.
On Saturday evening, however the winners of the various categories were crowned based on their efforts during the week. Host Andi Wittmann and his field of riders voted almost unanimously for 24-year-old Yannick Granieri from Lyon, France, as champion of the Big Air category.
His compatriot Pierre Eduard Ferry took home the title of ‚Ruler of the Trail’ and Martin Söderström from Sweden showed his exceptional talent bagging both the ‚best style’ and ‚best trick’ categories – the latter of these two prizes being won with an amazingly high and clean barspin to tailwhip, an extremely technical trick to pull off.
The photographers also had their time in the spotlight on Saturday night as the ‚photo contest’ entered the ultimate phase.
The photographers evaluated each others work along with two independent experts to determine the winners in five categories: best big air shot, best trail shot, best black & white, best creative angle and best lifestyle shot. Canadian Harookz and German Markus Greber both won two categories each.
Host Andi Wittmann, who was severely restricted at the start because of a shoulder injury at his own event draws a very positive conclusion: “All riders have put on a very impressive performance throughout the week and the photographers could exploit all possibilities available to them.
It is a pity that the public day had to be cancelled as we would have loved to show everyone what the guys are capable of but that’s how it goes sometimes in the mountains.“
Overall it was an awesome premiere for this event and we have had really great feedback from all sides. The Suzuki Nine Knights would like to thank all the riders, photographers, and especially all friends in the Urlaubs-Arena Wildkogel for their sensational support.
Andi Wittmann will be returning to shoot some video on the Big Air Castle later on in the fall.
‘Ruler of Big Air’
1. Yannick Granieri (FRA)
2. Bienvendio Alba (ESP)
3. Martin Söderström (SWE) & Amir Kabbani (GER)
‘Ruler of the Trail’
1. Pierre Eduard Ferry (FRA)
2. Geoff Gulevich (CAN)
1. Martin Söderström (SWE)
2. Kurt Sorge (CAN), Yannick Garnieri (FRA) & John Alm Högmann (SWE)
1. Martin Söderström (SWE) – Barspin to Tailwhip
2. John Alm Högmann (SWE) – (huge) Superseater
‘Best Big Air’ – Harookz (CAN)
‘Best Trail Shot’ – Stef Cande (FRA)
‘Best Black & White’ – Markus Greber (GER)
‘Best Creative Angle’ – Markus Greber (GER)
‘Best Lifestyle’ – Harookz (CAN)