The tradition here at FISE is to conclude these five days of non-stop action in Montpellier with the biggest event: the BMX Freestyle finals. Except for this year, the weather forced us to adapt, and another type of bicycle actually stole the final show: with Flatland BMX, the crowd vibed, sang, and even danced on this Sunday evening! Raw emotions, suspense, and an incredible show: yes, it was really worth it to change our plans!
Even before the beginning of these finals, the atmosphere was already boiling, and the white-hot crowd hyped up by our MC Thomas Debatisse. Covered, the stage had the merit to assure not only to the riders perfect conditions to perform their runs, but also to preserve their impeccable wardrobe, while the public sitting on the muddy slopes surrounding the Lez definitely gave up on the cleanliness of their pants!
Two French riders among the eight qualified, so first, a shout out to our Frenchies: newcomer Joris Bretagnolle made the crowd scream but missed two combos just before the last 50 seconds. Ignoring the pressure, he laced a big one right at the buzzer: crowd goes nuts, and Joris takes the 7th place. Speaking of pressure, big stakes for local hero Matthias Dandois who is gunning for a tenth world champion title this year after his bronze medal at the X Games. Starting with a half cab 540, and a very personal soundtrack as always, he laced combos one after the other, must believe that on a misunderstanding things can work out! His mentor Alex Jumelin was almost more stressed than Matthias while waiting for the score: 90 points, and a solid 4th place for the darling of the audience!
Overtaking him by a few tenths of a point, another well-known head here at FISE. Jean William Prévost laced a very fast combo to start things off, all in speed and finesse, and played a score without a false note, greeting the crowd to conclude an exceptional performance, full of experience and talent. A well-deserved third place for the French-Canadian! But on top of the rankings, it is Japan that crushes the competition, on the one hand with the legend Sasaki Moto who takes the 5th place with 88 points, and especially the duel at the top which has seen Kio Hayakawa and Yu Shoji battle it out until the very end.
The young Kio, who took the scene by storm recently, has already won everything and joined the Red Bull team a little over a year ago: with some sick technique and crazy style, he offered us a nearly perfect run but put a foot down, then fell with only ten seconds to go. At this level, there’s no room for this type of mistake: with 91.50 points, the young prodigy takes second place. For his compatriot Yu Shoji, no mistake whatsoever, with some really hot combos, and an incredible last banger to wrap up this beauty of a run, close to perfection: 94 and some points, a public simply ecstatic, and only one word to underline this performance which grants him the highest step of the podium: wow!!!
If we are at a loss for words and are only left with this, it's simply because this last show punctuated an incredible week. A few raindrops, but above all a lot of action, emotions, riders who feel and ride at home, and a crowd ready to open the doors of their city for another crazy edition! How crazy good it was, Montpellier! We have barely finished and we already have only one desire: to do it all over again!!!