Story/Photos:  Pieter Possenier

Worlds Photo Gallery

Worlds 2003 - Baje Portugal - 26-29 juni

Ieder jaar is er zoals in elke sport 1 wedstrijd die wordt aanzien als de belangrijkste of grootste wedstrijd van dat jaar, en in BMX is dat niet echt anders. Elk jaar zijn er wel een paar mensen die de wereldkampioenschappen willen organizeren, en dus verhuist die wedstrijd ieder jaar. Vorig jaar Duitsland, daarvoor Frankrijk maar gecanceld wegens sponsor problemen, daarvoor ook nog Spanje, Portugal, Nederland en nog een aantal landen.
Dit jaar was opnieuw Portugal aan de beurt, en alles ging door tijdens een festival voor alternatieve dingen in Beja. Om er te geraken neem je een vliegtuig naar Lisboa, en dan nog 200 km met een bus, waarvan de laatste 60 km op een klein smal wegje waar je max 50km/uur op kan/mag rijden. Na een ganse tocht kom je dan aan onder een enorm groot afdak vol met ramps en bmx'ers.
Welkom in the middle of nowhere...

Worlds 2003 - Baje Portugal - 26-29 June (this time in English...)

Each year there's -as in any sport- one contest which is seen as the most important or the biggest contest of the year, and in BMX it aint no different. Or is it? Everyone knows the X-games are the biggest, but if you want to be a real world champion and not a 10 times world champion as seen on the Dave Mirra games, then you need to make it to the biggest contest/jam in the world. Each year there are a few people who want to organize the world championships, and thus, each year it moves to another country. Last year Germany, the year before that France - but canceled because of problems with the sponsors - before that Spain, Portugal, The Netherlands and a few other countries. This year it was Portugal's turn again, and it all took place at the same time as a festival for alternative stuff in Beja. To get there, you have to take a plane to Lisboa, and then you have to take a bus for 200km, of which the last 60km on a tiny road where you can do no more then 50km/h. After a long journey you arrive under a big canopy full of ramps and BMXers.
Welcome to the middle of nowhere...


Let's start with what wasn't necessary. Vert takes less time each year, because nobody wants to go anymore. This year is was an all time low for vert with as turn out: Simon Tabron, Zach Shaw, and some other European riders... that's about it I guess. You knew that Simon was going to win, with Zach in second, you also knew that Simon was going to do a no-handed 540, a flair and a 900, and that Zach was going to do a flair as well. Everything happened as expected. Hint for next year: make sure you get Mirra, Hoffman and Bestwick and Miron, or just do no vert at all.
One particular thing, just like last year, Zach Shaw had the biggest fluke ever. Flair to icepick.


Start a month before the contest with dirt builders making good jumps. x-games type starting hill followed with a 6 pack, a left hand curve a step up and finish with a nice and big double. Then on Thursday the riders arrive and after Bibi, Pundai and Biz Jordan each had a few runs all riders come together and say fuck this. And at the worlds this all is possible. remember this is the most laid back contest ever. They still have to invent the word security guard here, so you take a big bulldozer and ride everything flat. On Friday some riders took a bobcat and build a nice 6 pack and moved the starting hill to the other side. needless to say the jumps where not that great after 1 day, but they did the trick with everyone getting over them. The level of riding was not that great, just the usual stuff with backflips, 360 whips and superman seatgrabs. There isn't a lot of point in holding a dirt contest when every rider is in the US riding another dirt contest.


Europe's strong hold... or what we thought it was. Medals went to Canada, USA, and Japan respectively. So what was intended to be a European X-games qualifier resulted in a no tickets for European riders. But don't worry, most of them where already qualified. The biggest problem for most riders was the fact that the floor was super slippery. they solved that by flooding the place with water every morning and then drying it, but there isn't a lot of points in doing this if you hold the qualifiers about 8 hours after they should have been. The other problem was for riders like Martti Kuopa. Beer during the event cost about 3 quarters. About 10 times less that in Finland. Result, about 6 beers each morning before lunch, and Martti falling a lot more than usual. Still pulling cross footed hikers to kickflip to regular hiker though. What the fuck? The expert and master level was also insane again. So the future will be good for flatland. Even 4 girls turned up to ride in expert. The pro level was once again insane to qualify, just like in any European flatland contest. about 50 pro's and only 15 going to the finals, but since someone from Portugal took like 18th they said 18 people in the final, once again this is the worlds and stuff like that happens all the time, no questions asked. This is why the worlds always rule anyway. Anyway, on with the contest, Nathan won with just pulling all his tricks. He is still on his road trip and it's like day 587 or something already so if he ever brings it out on DVD it will be an 18 DVD disk set to start with. How the hell does he travel so much and still finds enough time to ride? 2nd place and my favorite to take the win, Matt Wilhelm with his usual fast spinning tricks together with some new ones, like no handed upside down mega spin on the pedals (yes, read that again) and almost pulling a megaspin to decade over to megaspin the other side in the other direction. Due to the floor there weren't a lot of really great runs in the finals, but the stuff we saw was insane so I can't wait until I see them all ride again.


Street was once more insane. and proving that people don't have to ride in american contests to be good. i think that only 2 people from the top 10 ever road at the x-games. People like Luke fink, Javier Ortega and Hannu cools you won't find in your ride magazine, however they do rule and pull the biggest shit ever. Hannu did a fufanu that was way to high to even be possible. to make it even more hard for himself, the box he jumped on was angeld so he had to almost 270 on his way back in. everyone was riding like this was the last day of the world instad of the last day of the worlds. but we did not mind. john heat doing the curved wallride. In alley hoop that is, and dave osato doing thootpick tailwhips on a subrail, and tailwhips to nosetap like it is nothing. Rooftop doing it just for the fans with a backflip over the box to flair over the hip, and Senad Groicc going for the bike flip. He got even really close during practice the day before. He now does double tailwhips just like someone elso would do an x-up.
Next year the worlds should be back in germany and then it will be even more fun, so make shure you can be there.



1. Nathan Penonzek
2. Matt Wilhelm