What do you do when you’re locked down on the sickest farm in South Africa? Grab a shovel and get digging! When World Cup slayer, Theo Erlangsen, was lucky enough to get quarantined with young gun, Ike Klassen, on his farm in Stellenbosch, the boys stayed busy riding bikes and spraying dirt!
Locked in at Hellsend Dirt Compound is a 3-part series following The Trails Crew getting up to all kinds of good, bad and wild. Watch the boys riding dirt jumps, shredding some downhill laps and staying “almost too busy doing cool things the whole time!” These boys have all the toys and a whole heap of ideas, so jump on board as they race pit bikes, trash rally buggies and shred anything with wheels on.
“We’re basically quarantining in heaven! I mean, it would be nice to be racing in Europe, but this is a close second!” Theo Erlangsen
In the first episode, we meet the infamous builders, Justin Novella and Duran Van Eeden, who can wrestle a digger like nobody else, and were luckily quarantined on the same farm. First state of business was carving out the Corona track, an insane downhill course through the forest from top to bottom. The boys hit the building work hard and then set to work stacking clips and roosting turns.
Getting the pit bike track built was a dream come true for Ike, who started his career on bikes with Moto X and was a junior national champ. For some light relief, they jumped into one of the race buggies on the farm and tried, but failed to keep all the wheels on…
“Tim shreds the BMX so hard, he’s also such a silent assassin, he comes in super quiet and then does WAY bigger and better stunts than any of us” Theo Erlangsen
In episode two, Tim Bentley joins the crew and shows the boys how to ride the perfectly manicured dirt jumps. Justin gives you an insight to the Trailscrew daily life, meet India the trail dog and watch the riders push themselves in a trick jump sessionwhilst quarantined in South Africa.
Theo Erlangsen has been making a lot of noise in the world of Mountain Biking over the last few years. Known as one of the new breed of racers, he has also been charging into the realm of Freeride MTB, being included on events like Darkfest.
Feel like you are flying down the Mountain
With lockdown firmly in place, many of us are missing our outdoor activities we love. So sit back, shut out the outside world and enjoy this latest edit from Monster Energy team rider, Theo as he takes us on a high speed run down the Tokai course in Cape Town.
Theo Erlangsen has one run in Tokai, close to COMMENCAL South Africa HQ!
Thanks to Monster Energy, Thomas Sandell and Hayden Brown.
What a week in extreme sports this week! We had X games delivering world firsts, Donkey Bay was firing and the free ride MTB boys dropped the Loosefest XL edit. All the action from the week in the video below and I have put every featured video in the playlist below it (You can just press play, wide screen and enjoy all the videos back to back.)
Enjoy the Show
Here is the playlist of the featured Videos
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Arguably the sickest Dirt jump event on the planet, this year’s edition of The Night Harvest delivered no shortage of the fruits.
Some of our most notorious BMX generals were in town and the trails were perfectly primed in front of the picturesque backdrop of the Hout Bay mountains. The scenery around Cape Town is no joke and the level of riding this year definitely wasn’t either. You do the math, 1 prime set of jumps, coupled with chargers like the Pat Casey, Brock Horneman, Mike Varga, Leandro Moreira and more, the ever supportive Cape Town crowd were in for a treat.
Jam Session Rules
As the sun started to set, the bikes made their way up the roll in tower. Making for an ideal golden hour practice session, The Night Harvest runs a little different to most contests, with a jam session format, making it way more ideal for the riders to work on those dream runs. Which makes the usually competitive vibe much more conducive for bringing out the best riding possible.
Leandro Moreira – 3rd Place BMX
The Brazilian, no stranger to this kind of terrain. Went at least 3ft higher than anyone on the jumps. Bringing his signature bag of tricks which included cranked turndown flips, flip double whips, triple whips and the hugest dumped 3’s in the game. Always a crowd favourite at The Night Harvest, clearly Leandro was favoured with the judges too.
Mike Varga – 2nd Place BMX
Mike Varga was on fire, fresh off a long airport transit. The Canadian proceeded to annihilate the course with all the tech wizardry and burly combos you’d need an action replay to process. Varga wasn’t just happy with dominating the line, he then proceeded to icepick bar the wall ride at the bottom of the course which was a first for the event!
Pat Casey – 1st Place BMX
Pat Casey – “The Night Harvest is always one of my favourite events of the year, it’s been awesome riding with all the boys and I was hyped to take to win again, also a huge surprise was being handed an invite to this year’s Battle of Hastings as a captain this year.” The SoCal native completely destroyed the jumps every time he dropped in for the well-deserved W.
Monster Army Shredders
There was a strong contingency of Monster Army shredders in town, including Brock Horneman, Bryce Tryon and Alec Danelutti brought their A-game and gave the Monster Energy top dogs a run for their money. Brock ended the event in a close 4th place, sending all the hammers in his artillery, flip triple bars and a plethora of mind-blowing runs, the Aussie is sure to be on the podium more regularly in the near future.
Night Harvest MTB
In the MTB division, there was a solid line up of locals with a few international rippers including Swedish wunderkind Lukas Skiold and big air extraordinaire Matt Macduff up against Cape Town’s very own Justin Novella, local DH Free-racer Theo Erlangson and up and comer Cornel Swanepoel, all completely sending it for a chance to land on the podium.
In 3rd place came Czech dirt jump veteran Tomas Zedja who had the line waxed from top to bottom with a mix of classic tricks. In 2nd place, Matt Macduff came in hot from a week in Barcelona and treated the crowd to a selection of heaters which included folded 360 tables, massive flip whip’s and even gave a solid go at some flat 720’s during the Best Trick jam. Macduff – “Honestly, I’m so stoked to be able to ride on the level I was on before my big crash on the loop 2 years back. Everyone killed it. I wasn’t even expecting to be on the podium, I just went out and had fun with the crew, I’m super grateful to be back on this level.”
In the 1st place spot, experience points paid off here with Lukas Skiold and his mathematical precision on everything he does, taking the clear win in the class. “So stoked to be out in SA again after 2 years after coming out and winning Best Trick, so I was so hyped to come back and push even harder. The jumps were amazing. I tried my hardest to land a cash-roll bar in the Best Trick, I’m going to go back to the drawing board on that and give it another go in a contest real soon.”
Friday 8 February and Saturday 9 February will see the return of DarkFEST to Vuurberg Wines, Helshoogte Pass, Stellenbosch, and for those two full days the boys are going to cut loose! Sam Reynolds might be out of the competition, but it it still going to rock out over the weekend, as only DarkFEST can.
What is it? The biggest mountain biking dirt jump event in Africa.
Where is it? Vuurberg Wines, Helshoogte Pass, Stellenbosch.
When? Friday 8 and Saturday 9 February. Action starts at 9 am, and continues until 6 pm.
Who? There are a crew of local and international riders, including Nico Vink, Tom van Steenbergen, Adolf Silva, Brendan Fairclough, Ethan Nell, Nicholi Rogatkin, Jordie Lunn, Graham Agassis, Matt Macduff, Tom Reynolds, Darryl Brown, Theo Erlangsen and Kurt Sorge, amongst others. Local legend Sam Reynolds unfortunately injured himself on a recent practice run, and is out of the event.
After six days of film shoots and sessions in the moonlike landscape of the quarry, the riders gathered on the evening of Thursday, September 14, to celebrate their successful “moon launch”. British mountain bike legend Sam Pilgrim was selected by his peers for the top honor of “Ruler of the Week,” and also won the category of “Best Slopestyle Line” at the Audi Nines.
“The Audi Nines is the best event of the year for me,” said Pilgrim. “You’ve got six days to perform to your highest level. I ended up winning two of the categories, which means a lot because everyone who voted for me, they’re all professional mountain bike riders. I’m stoked about it.”
Sam Reynolds best of Freeride
Pilgrim was joined in the winner’s circle by his countryman Sam Reynolds, whose run through the freeride section was voted “Best Freeride Line.” Winners were also chosen in the category of “Best Freeride Trick”—claimed by Adolf Silva’s incredible Cali Roll, a world’s first on a downhill mountain bike—as well as for “Best Slopestyle Trick,” where Dawid Godziek’s quadruple tail whip—also a first—took top honors.
Silva crashed repeatedly before finally landing the Cali Roll, a spectacular aerial maneuver in which the rider lets go of his bike midair and spins 360 degrees before re-mounting to land. Godziek’s equally impressive quadruple whip involved a dizzying flurry of motion, as he spun his bike around the handlebars four times in midair before landing his jump.
Worlds most unique Freeride Location
When The Audi Nines’ relocation to the stone quarry in Germany’s Rhineland-Palatinate region in cooperation with Bikepark Idarkopf was first announced, many were curious how the unusual new location would work out. However, the events of the past week have made clear that the quarry, after extensive modifications by an experienced team of trail builders, was indeed a perfect venue for a world-class mountain bike event with a unique take on its presentation of the sport.
“The location worried us at first,” said Reynolds. “We weren’t sure if it would live up to the previous location in the Alps with the epic views. But once the “moon props” came in, like the satellite dish and all the cool ramps, the venue actually had a lot more character than ever before.”
The world’s best started arriving this week for the Big Air madness at DarkFEST.
Most of the riders have arrived this weekend and have been introduced to the monster creations. More riders means more excitement and we have already seen some big tricks go down.
At first sight jaws hit the floor, the first big air is around 100ft now and is seriously intimidating. Some riders were feeling the jet lag and took a while to adjust. After watching Sam, Nico and Clemens hit it, the lag and fear quickly was pushed aside. They followed the boys that had hit it before to feel what speed they needed and after a couple attempts they were all making it through the course.
Difficult Conditions for Big Air
The wind has been really unpredictable and changes direction constantly, so every morning and evening we go up to see if it is being kind to us. It can also drop or pick up in a matter of minutes. You might get to the top and almost be blown away, thinking there’s no chance of riding, to having it be perfectly still, perfect conditions moments later. Such a tease!
The huge step up at the bottom is in a different direction to the top two big features, so often when the wind is too strong for those they can still drop in from the hip landing and have a trick session.
Ready for Action
With what’s been going on here the past few days, I think we’re in for an amazing show on the 10th! So head to the DarkFEST OPEN DAY and book your tickets before they’re sold out!!!
Every year a crew of pretty mental MTB guys, led by the indomitable, Sam Reynolds, descend on South Africa for Darkfest. Their goal is quite simply to build the biggest and most radical line in dirt jumping.
Darkfest 2017 saw the scariest step up jump ever built. At 60ft high it provided the perfect platform for the world’s top riders to push the limits. Adolf Silva even hit the double backflip, much to the amazement of the local crowd watching.
This year the gents are promising an even bigger line, with three of Sam’s favourite jumps from other events, including finishing with another mammoth step up jump. The crew behind the build are some of the best in the business.
Sam Reynolds is one of the World’s top Mountain biking chargers. At the forefront of Slopestyle and Dirt Jumping, he competes around the world at the biggest events, such as Rampage and Nine Knights. He is the general of the Darkest crew.
The Austrian daredevil has become one of the top names in the freeride world and is also an accomplished builder of jumps and trails. He joins Nico on the bog machinery building the insane Darkfest run.
Check out the Week 1 Darkfest Video
This year the event moves to Frranschoek near Cape Town, which is going to mean for bigger crowds and some seriously hot temperatures. Every week I will keep you updated with the build and how you can get to the event! Check the first week’s video…
When Nick Clarke arrived in South Africa for the Mega Loop build three years ago, he did not know what to expect. The ultimate Dirt Jump was the goal. Turns out he fell in love with the Southern Tip of Africa. Maybe it was the awesome people, the really good riding or simply the laid back lifestyle. Whatever you choose, he chose to come back for Darkfest and two consecutive Night Harvests and would have stayed for ever, if not for a visa problem.
He loves a Dirt Jump
Nick loves dirt jumping and lucky for him, he made friends with the gents at The Trails Crew who quickly adopted him and took him to all the top spots. From Potato trails in Cape Town to the Garden Route trail park, he got a taste of all that SA had to offer. Oh and he took out back to back Night Harvest titles…
Not just riding!
He did not just ride either! Nick worked with myself as the co-commentator for Bmx at the 2017 Ultimate X event, did some work with Monster Energy and was a barmen at Aces n Spades, one of CT’s best bars. He really embraced the Cape Town lifestyle.
Check out the Video
Lucky for Nick, he got some serious video shot of the entire trip, thanks to Thomas Sandell, and now you get to watch the highlights from his African Dirt Jump trip! So sit back, pour some maple syrup over your biltong and enjoy the video, eyyyy!
Support Captain Pugwash
If you want to follow Nick Clarke’s adventures back home in Canada, he won’t be back here for a while sadly, then head over to his Facebook Page and Instagram and show him some love. I am sure he will appreciate it and you will be entertained!
Good Lord, I thought I would have gotten used to the insanity of Darfest after seeing it for myself, but one watch of this video and it all came crashing back down. Seriously, if you are not at this event next year, you are missing out on the most crazy thing you will ever see in South Africa. So sit back, down a tequila and prepare for Darkfest insanity…
The Fest Crew made their way down to South Africa to take on the infamous Pure Darkness jumps. Sam Reynolds, with the help of Nico Vink & Clemens Kaudela, revived the beasts and added a few more to the party and what a party it was! In true Fest fashion, these boys went faster, higher and bigger than ever! With features like a 60ft roll in, 55ft gaps and a 35ft lip that sends you 25ft into the air it is definitely not one to be missed!
Best Trick: Adolf Silva – Double Flip
Best Line: Andreu Lacondeguy
Best Whip: Kurt Sorge
Biggest Slam: Adolf Silva – Tripple Flip Attempt
Dark King: Clemens “C-Dawg” Kaudela – for killing the course build, riding and parties
Cam Zink, Graham Aggasiz