Words: Audi Nines
Multiple world-first tricks were landed at the Audi Nines 2020 presented by Falken as the weeklong mountain bike event drew to a sensational close. German rider Nico Scholze landed the first Cordova Flip on a Downhill bike and Italy’s Diego Caverzasi completed a Backflip Barspin to Cliffhanger, while Swedish powerhouse Emil Johansson dominated the event’s contest runs, winning Best Freeride Line and Ruler of the Week.
Here in the Hunsrück-Nahe bike region near Birkenfeld, Germany, a team of the world’s best mountain bikers gathered from the 7th to the 13th of September for a session of the superlative variety. For the third consecutive year, the Ellweiler quarry—a former stone quarry that’s been converted into a top-level mountain bike venue—played host to a crew of outstanding athletes ready to push their sport to new heights.
Hungry to get on back on their bikes after months of cancelled events, the invited riders wasted no time getting to work on the quarry’s selection of custom-built features. From the expanded Freeride Line and Big Air venue to the brand-new Slopestyle Line, the riders found plenty to keep them busy throughout five days of non-stop film sessions.
World-First Tricks on Downhill & Slopestyle Bikes
The week’s action culminated with several tricks never seen before in mountain biking. One of the biggest highlights was Nico Scholze’s Cordova Flip, a daring manoeuvre adapted from freestyle motocross in which the rider executes a rather painful-looking backbend while hooking his feet on his bike’s handlebars—all while doing a backflip. No small feat.
Scholze wasn’t alone in the “world’s first” category. Italian rider Diego Caverzasi became the first to land a Backflip Barspin to Cliffhanger on a hardtail bike, while Austria’s Daniel Ruso put down a Frontflip Toboggan on his downhill bike and fellow Austrian Peter Kaiser landed a Backflip Barspin to Superman Seat Grab on a hardtail bike. Though it didn’t quite qualify as a first, Adolf Silva’s Cali Roll—only the second one ever landed on a mountain bike—proved that the high-flying Spaniard was back in action after an injury last year. Add in Antoine Bizet’s Opposite Cash Roll on a downhill bike and Paul Couderc’s innovative Footplant Flip, and it’s safe to say that the 2020 Audi Nines had more world’s firsts than you can shake a stick at.
The Audi Nines Go Live
In a normal year, the Audi Nines would welcome thousands of spectators to watch action sports at its finest. In lieu of a public event this year, organisers hastened to offer an alternative for fans. The result: a series of Live Sessions hosted on audinines.com throughout the week. The Live Sessions offered multiple live camera angles from the quarry, including point-of-view helmet cameras from riders. The Live Sessions attracted tens of thousands of online viewers throughout the week, who took advantage of this special opportunity to drop into the quarry virtually along with their favourite riders.
Coronavirus prevention measures
While ongoing travel restrictions prevented several top North American athletes from attending, a strong squadron of mostly European riders was able to make the journey to Birkenfeld. Strict coronavirus prevention measures were in place throughout the event, as athletes and staff were required to present a negative coronavirus test upon arrival. The entire event team remained in a “bubble” throughout the event, with minimal outside contact to prevent viral spread.
Best Line Freeride: Bienvenido Aguado Alba
Best Line Slopestyle: Emil Johansson
Best Slopestyle Trick: Lukas Skiöld – Flip Oppo Whip Bar
Best Freeride Trick: Adolf Silva – Cali Roll
Best Style: Lukas Schäfer
Ruler of the Week: Emil Johansson
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