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IFMXF Night of the Jumps in Nimes | France
text by kj & pics by Edgerider

Busty Wolter from Germany takes his second FMX gold of the 2004 season! Only two weeks after the SUZUKI-Freestyle Motocross World Championship in Germany the IFMXF and and its riders are on the road again premiering in France. Included in the line up for the French NIGHT of the JUMPs segment of the 2004 season are big names like old-school hero “Mad” Mike Jones and current IFMXF World Champion Ailo Gaup. Local stars Manu Troux and Jeremy Lamblin are taking to the air for the first time at an IFMXF competition again since the NIGHT of the JUMPs in 2001 in Germany.

The riders of the Night of the Jumps in Nimes | France

The roster includes further great athletes such as Derek Burlew from America who is back on track after sustaining a cracked tibia three weeks ago during training. Fabian Bauersachs out of Germany is geared to take home his first ranking points since his big injury 6 months ago and Busty Wolter also out of Germany is in France to push his ranking position one more notch up in the list. The main eleven contestants are rounded off with Backflip high-flyer Oystein Kjörstad from Norway and Kris Brock representing England. Jimmy Verburgh is bringing up the rear as one of Belgium’s finest. Gary Taylor from England had to pull out at the last moment and won’t be hitting the dirt in France. Fredrik Johansson had a nasty spill during training and won’t be riding in the evening contest. IFMXF World Ranking leader, Ailo Gaup from Norway, is also calling it a night due to a bad cold and problems with his lingering concussion.

Jeremy Lamblin pulling a Tsunami | André Villa doing a Fabhop

A closed qualification round has opened up the last four roster positions at the NIGHT of the JUMPs ­ Nimes giving 9 riders from South Africa, Norway, England, Germany and France the opportunity to fight their way into the main contest.

The venue in France could hardly offer a more spectacular backdrop with the 2.000 year old roman built Les Arena des Nimes supplying the stage for a great evening of world class FMX. The first step of an IFMXF event series into France has proven more difficult then previously imagined. A federation from Freestylers for Freestylers, the IFMXF doesn’t always walk into open arms especially when certain World Federations throw stones into the path of sporting progress. The International Freestyle Motocross Federation is not out to monopolize the sport which sadly is the case for certain political contestants pushing the pencil to try and force ideas and innovation into a rigid frame that has little to do with FMX, the show and the lifestyle that both the athletes and the fans enjoy so much.

Jimmy Verburgh (BEL) doing a nice whipped Seatgrab

Now back to the contest. Back for his 2nd qualification round is South African Red Bull Rider Nick de Witt. Riding buddy Werner van der Merwe is also back in Europe for the first time since riding the IFMXF World Cup last July in Salzburg, Austria. The closed qualification line-up is complemented with further great riders like Jamie Squibb and Chris Birch from the UK as well as André Villa out of Norway and eight riders from France including the shooting star Rémi Bizouard.

The set-up in France has four ramp to dirt jumps including the Red Bull Kicker and step-up jump. Two large landings and distances up to 22 meters provide the backbone for the NIGHT of the JUMPs, France.

The pre-qualification round sees all the riders giving 110% to make it into the evening roster. Some favourites for the qualification round are surely both South African riders Nick de Witt and Werner van der Merwe who both have the backflip in their trick list. Jamie Squibb from the UK and André Villa from Norway are also to big-players that are back on the IFMXF circuit after qualifying at the NIGHT of the JUMPs Berne. A great round with some amazing moves from the local French crew shows again how FMX is growing. The riders are getting better by the day and the judges are hard pressed to choose the four riders who will make it into the main event.

stripping time - André Villa (NOR) and Helicopter by Manu Troux (FRA)

The 13 contestants are now set for the main contest. Werner van der Merwe, André Villa, Rémi Bizouard and Jamie Squibb have qualified themselves and are set too take home some ranking points and a chunk of the 13.000,- € Purse.

The show kicks-off at 8:30 with around 6.000 spectators filling the arena in anticipation of the hard-core acrobatics to come. The gladiators enter the arena to roaring ovations from the charged crowd and start into the qualifications that will leave six finalists standing to decide the winner. The qualification is stocked-full of the best in FMX today. Crowd favourite, Mike Jones had a bit of bad luck in his qualifications and on his 3rd jump went for a no-hand landing, but the wind caught his front wheel and he washed out taking a nasty whack to the head. He got up back on the bike and did 4 more jumps, but had to call it a night because of a nasty concussion. Statement Mike- “I couldn’t remember how I crashed or even that I got back on my bike and did the rest of my run- that sure rung my bell- haven’t had a concussion for ages….”A surprise qualifier is the smooth athlete, André Villa form Norway who is stoked to have made it to 5th in the qualification round. Local favourite, Manu Troux from France makes 7th in the qualification round only one point behind Belgium high-flyer Jimmy Verburgh. Although the finals are only set for six riders, Manu is still set to ride later in the evening although he will be the only rider that won’t be judged in the finals. Kris Brock from the UK has the best run of the qualifications with a lot of variation and a smooth style landing him on first place. Werner van der Merwe has to call it a night after crashing his trick the “Stripper” on his 3rd jump.

Oystein pulling a backflip over the superkicker

The whip contest is battled-out between Manu Troux and Kris Brock both showing great pancake whips and cool moves. It’s a hard decision and so both riders share the win.

The final six (seven with Manu) are now set. And the battle is truly amazing. Manu Troux is first out on the track and pulls a fabulous no-foot backflip. A great run surely deserves more than last place in the finals, however since this great Frenchman is not being judged he has to take an automatic 7th to the booing crowd that don’t understand. (note: the whole event had to be pulled off as a “Show” because the FFM federation in France will not allow anyone else to do contests in the country. On the outside the event is a show, on the inside it is an IFMXF contest as usual with 5 judges distributing points.) All the riders showed great variation and solid tricks. Oystein Kjörstad is a crowd favourite pulling two flips in both his qualification and final runs. In the finals Oystein washes out on his first flip, but kicks his bike back on and finishes to a roaring crowd. The crowd puts Oystein on third place, but the judges have calculated his points to a solid 5th. Newcomer and first time qualifier, André Villa is taking it to the limit and in the end makes 2nd place!!!

New Oakley clothing - Busty Wolter edition ;-) | Jimbo won the Step Up

At the top of his game and a truly talented rider. Busty Wolter from Germany takes his run to the limit. He is one of the only riders using the Red Bull Super-Kicker to pull Kiss of Deaths and Hart Attacks. Hard-core variation and perfect execution lands him on first place not only with the judges, but also the roaring and stamping crowd. The Imperator of Nimes is chosen and Busty takes his emperor walk around the coliseum to roaring ovations. Some of the fans apparently wanted more than just an autograph as only minutes after the event finishes Busty’s van is broken into and his 2nd Suzuki stolen.

Busty Wolter is definitely in a good shape - 1st place - props!

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