shakes up London’s York Hall
Now in its 10th year, the Vans Rebeljam earned a reputation for creative courses and good vibes. The Event has become renowned as the closing event of the season.
Whilst competition was fierce, this weekend saw a less violent approach to taking the title, as many of the best street BMX riders from around the globe assembled to battle it out for a place on the podium. The riders took Friday to warm up and get used to the compact set up, before heading down to House of Vans to check out the 21 Years of DIG exhibition showcasing over two decades of BMX culture though print, photography, art and design, and relax with a couple of beers.
With 66 riders competing for just 12 places in the finals on Saturday, no one was wasting any time on the feature-packed course. One of the highlight obstacles was the Red Bull Rail, which saw many of the riders using as their first hit as they dropped in, and again on the return. For sheer spectacle, the big quarter at the end of the course was a winner, providing a whippy transition for the riders to loft above the crowd and impress spectators. Ben Hennon, Course Builder said “I'm really happy with rebeljam this year. Vans gave us the opportunity to build the course, everyone seemed to like it. The riding was good and no one got hurt. Now it's time to tear down the ramps, but in typical Vans rebeljam fashion, they're going to be donated to Rampworks skatepark.”
Also in true Vans rebeljam style, the competition was judged in a typically “off the wall” fashion, with special awards being given for ‘Style’, ‘Creativity’ and ‘Hardest Trick’. What’s more, competition was so hot, the judges decided to award not one, but four Wild Cards into the finals, for those riders who may not have made the grade on points, but impressed the panel and so earned a place amongst the best. Adding a little spice to the finals, it was Russia’s Dennis Pavlov, Dan Paley from the UK, Roy van Kempen from the Netherlands and America’s Kevin Kalkoff who made it into the top 16 now going through to the finals’ and go head-to-head in an intense jam format. All worthy additions to the line up, it was Kevin Kalkoff who shone brightest, taking home the special award for Style. “I was really surprised to win the best style award. I came here knowing it was a street contest but I saw the course and said to myself I'll go anyway because I really like the rebeljam format. I made it to the finals through a wildcard and am really happy I got the best style award”, commented a visibly surprised Kalkoff.
Alex Donnachie rode hard and showed full commitment with insanely technical tricks and long lines. He dealt the knockout blow, and with it, took first place on the podium and the Vans Rebeljam crown. “I only came here because I knew the BSD guys were all coming down, so I was just here for a good time. I'm not entering contests much but I liked the course set up and enjoyed it. The win hasn't sank in just yet but it was good to do well in front of all my friends” said a very happy Donnachie, after being mobbed by the crowd who erupted as his win was announced.
Vans Rebeljam 2014 Winners
1st Place // Alex Donnachie (UK)
2nd Place // Garrett Reynolds (USA)
3rd Place // Alex Kennedy (UK)
Creativity Award // Bruno Hoffman (DE)
Style Award // Kevin Kalkoff (FR)
Hardest Trick Award // Joris Coulomb (FR)
Photos provided by Vans & George Marshall