Round 1 of the South Australian FMX Championship was held on the weekend at the annual Ponde Sand Drags event. The event also has V8 bike sand drag racing, a strong-man competition and burnouts. Organizers built a car burnout pad and began burnouts 3 years ago, which has since grown incredibly in popularity, with a record 95 cars at this weekend’s event. The FMX Comp was originally planned for Saturday, but with strong winds plaguing Saturdays event a majority decision was made to be run the comp on Sunday, when near perfect conditions were expected. With the agreeance to postpone the event, the remainder of Saturday was used to get the riders further acquainted with the course, have fun with a whip session and familiarise themselves with the newly set-up quarter pipe jump. Event sponsor, Soules Earthworks, spent the entire previous weekend cleaning up the course and building a new landing for the quarter pipe, allowing riders to choose either left or right lines off the jump.
Standout riders early Saturday were racers Jett Anderson, Cody Rollbusch and Koen Attard, throwing huge whips and going ham on the entire course. The weather on Sunday was pristine, with calm conditions and with all riders quickly finding themselves at home on the course, it was clear the day was going to display some epic riding. Chris Monteau dusted off his boots and proved that a long term off the bike doesn’t phase him much by throwing down some big bar tricks. Victoria’s Cory Bozzola made the trek over from his hometown of Yarrawonga for a few days riding, with the locals and impressed with his bag of tricks including Hart Attacks and Seat Grab Indys. Oliver Hutchinson had a very successful weekend jumping 75-feet for the first time on Saturday and wasted no time on the bigger jump, throwing big Double Cans, Seat Grab Indys and Hart Attacks. Local rider, Rob Hickey, showed his riding has come along in leaps and bounds, jumping big off the quarter pipe and throwing huge Seat Grab Indys and showing off his newly acquired Lazy-boys and Strippers. SA OG rider Ben Burford proved that his riding is only improving with age, showing style out of the quarter pipe and with big whips, Double Nacs and Hart Attacks he effortlessly took third place on the podium. Victoria’s newly imported Mexican, James Wild, put on a stellar performance, putting aside the pain from a crash the previous day. Wildy threw his big Rulers, Switchblades, some risky no-hander landers and jumped the quarterpipe with the biggest and highest airs of the day. He was stoked to take a well-deserved second place. After seeing some standout riding before him, Port Pirie’s Daniel Coe came out swinging with an exceptional run, effortlessly showing some big tricks with Superman Indys, a stretched-out flat Superman, Rulers, Rock Solids and Sideshows, which all looked stylish and took the top place on the podium, a great start to the year for Dan.
Adam Grope, event organiser, would like to thank The Ponde crew for their hospitality, Motorcycles Parts & Gear and Soules Earthworks, for providing a perfect course and being on-hand all weekend to provide a high level of support to the crew.
About Adam Grope:
Gropey is an OG of the SA FMX scene, first riding demo's at Ponde aged 15 in 2003, and helping to run the first competition in 2007. He has run the SA FMX Championship for 5 years, and after a crash resulting in a Traumatic Brain Injury in July 2016, has been forced to hang up the boots. This hasn’t stopped his love for the sport, and continuing the SA FMX Championship is proof that providing a platform for riders to excel in the sport are in his best interests. He works tirelessly organising the event, between going to rehab 3 days a week and plenty of doctor's appointments.
All images below thanks to Christina Vithoulkas.
Oliver Hutchinson airing out the quarter pipe.
Jake Sier bringing some colourful style to the SA sand.
Jake Sier exhibiting fine quarter pipe form.
James "Wildy" Wild extends a stylish Switchblade Can.
Wildy, Double Grab.
Oliver styling out an SSG Indy.
Dan Coe cruising through a whip.
Ben Burford styling out.
Coe getting twisted up in the Ponde sky.
Coe letting go on a One-handed Supercan Indy.
The judges, L to R: Luke Feltrin, Adam Grope, Tom Svenson.
Rob Hickey pushes through the bars towards a Stripper.
Rob swings off the back of his vibrant YZ250.
Cory Bozzola gets set for take-off for the judges.
Cory Seat Grab Indy.
Hutchy hanging off the back.
Ben Burford just feelin' the vibes.
Burford looking back on an old-school Double Nac.
Coe flying with the birds...
Hutchy looking back on one.
Rob Hickey throwing the hands up on a Cliffhanger.
Wildy shows us he can do it too.
Coe's take on a Superman, pushed out flat behind the bars. Nice.
Clean Hart Attack by the winner, Dan Coe.
One Hand Indy from Coe under the shining South Aus sun.
Wildy going left on the quarter.
Podium L to R: 2nd place James Wild, 1st place Daniel Coe, 3rd place Ben Burford.