Words & Film/Editing by Joel Milich
Our weekend began with the trek over to Mannum, South Australia, from North Eastern Victoria. A lazy nine hour drive to spend the weekend down the other end of the mighty Murray River; three times as wide as what we’re used to, and ferries needed to get across.
As we checked in for the weekend, so did the man behind the show, Adam Grope.
He gave us a quick run down on the mayhem that was on the cards for the weekend, some background history about the event and a weather update, with high winds forecast and a few cheeky showers thrown in for good measure.
The Ponde event originated as one of SA’s biggest motorcycle and live music festivals in the mid 70’s, then evolved into the original Australian sand drags, with the first small block Chevrolet strapped into a motorcycle frame. The event is now home to one of Australia’s most technical burnout pads, with 60% of it running downhill. For a number of years there has also been FMX competition incorporated with a permanent purpose-built course.
Saturday was spent weather watching, with extremely high winds. Most of the riders lined up to ride the event were all accommodated within a stones throw of each others river-front cabin, making the meetings easy. Everyone agreed it was a much safer option to cancel practice, as the conditions were un-rideable, and trek over to the local bottle shop within walking distance for supplies.
The tight-knit group found their way onto the Melbourne crew’s deck, but soon sprawled onto the lawn by the BBQ, with plenty of laughs and good food shared.
Jordan Sprague had his game face on early, full of confidence hoping for an early take-down of Shaun Webb. The Saturday quickly turned into a good catch-up, some having not seen each other since the year before.
A few rain showers filled the afternoon, and watching the sun set on the mighty Murray River capped off the day for most, with a few troopers ready to hit the town. We decided it would be best to check out the set-up for Sunday and watch the burnout finals. Tyres were blown off the rims and into the crowd, sending sparks flying. Ponde is like no other event, with the crowds encouraging of newcomers making mistakes, and everyone sharing knowledge and tips for everyone to get the best results.
Saturday night was soon wrapped up with an invite to a pig on the spit from some kind locals just above the burnout pad.
Sunday rolled around pretty quick, with most bikes finally getting unloaded for the first time for the weekend. Before we knew it, practice was already under-way, with everyone chomping at the bit to get over the large two-way downy and quarter-pipe. The wind started to pick up between and throughout everyone’s runs, with most riders opting to ride to the conditions.
Some got lucky with a good break from the savage cross-winds, but everyone still threw down. Jordan Gillies and Shaun Webb decided the conditions were still good enough to throw their steeds upside down. Ash Rogers was throwing huge, effortless whips, alongside Jett Anderson and Jordan Sprague, turning them inside out and back to front. Daniel Coe was wrestling his filthy huge straight Supermans against the cross-wind. Ben Burford wasn't holding back either, with big Double Nacs and Mitch Tripney throwing his recently learned One Hand Seat Grab Indy. Joe Duffield laid out some nice Supermans and No-Foot Cans, alongside Alex Bucholtz’s textbook Heli’s and Double Grabs.
Jordan Gillies pressed his “flip” button in the finals, laying down a variety of flip tricks to take the win over Jordan Sprague. Jordan brought a solid, mixed bag of tricks and oceans of style to take second place over Shaun Webb. Webby rode super clean as always, with huge extension all around the bike, taking away third place. Not bad considering he was only talked into riding the competition at the last minute. A whip jam was held to wrap up the days riding, with unbelievable trains flowing left, right and centre. It was hard to decide where to look, with everyone throwing down and good vibes flowing from the crowd. Ash Rogers took out the riders choice for best whip.
It was then time for Jett Anderson to let loose on the quarter pipe, this kid has so much bike skill and style, it’s not funny. Boosting well over twice the height of the quarter pipe and then some, hanging under the bike with his Jarryd McNeil style, or “steeze” as it’s commonly referred to.
Photo and video did no justice to how large Jett was sending it.
Which drew to an end another great event, with nothing but awesome company and good times, mixed in with some bad dudes absolutely sending it on their dirt bikes, the weekend was definitely one to remember. We highly recommend checking out this event if you ever get the chance, even if only as a spectator.
Thanks to Adam Grope for continuing to organise these kinds of events, they are a ton of work and his efforts cannot be overlooked, especially taking his hardships into consideration. Thanks also to Soule Earthworks and Motorcycle Parts And Gear for their support.