By Jai Rakic – ISN
Victoria, BC -(ISN) Thousands of spectators packed Victoria’s Inner Harbour over the weekend to catch a glimpse of some of the worlds best mountain bikers, competing in the 2nd annual Union Jumpship competition.
Jumpship is somewhat unique compared to other mountain biking competitions, as the course is constructed on a barge and then towed into the Victoria Inner Harbour.
The crowd gathers around the barge/course for the finals – Photo by Jai Rakic
After being forced to postpone the finals on Saturday due to strong winds and rain, the sun finally showed itself on Sunday and Jumpship was in full force.
Sadly several riders had chosen to dropout of the main event, as the less than ideal weather conditions restricted the amount of practice time competitors had to become familiar with the burly course.
Brett Rheeder, throwing down a huge backflip tailwhip- Photo by Jai Rakic
But the show must go on and Sunday began with the Jumpship finals. Competitors had three attempts at the course; only their two best runs would count towards the riders overall score. Crowd favourite Brandonn Semenuk came out hot, throwing down perfectly executed backflip tail-whips in the middle of his runs.
The crowd looks on as a competitor executes a flawless 360 – Photo by Jai Rakic
Semenuk (93.5) took top honours in the finals, earning himself $5000 worth of drinking money, close behind was Brett Rheeder (91) in second place and Anthony Messere (90.5) in third.
Unfortunately for some riders, the challenging and perilous course took several victims, forcing some to bow out of the finals due to injury.
Greg Watts took the biggest bail of the day, after miss-judging the massive 20-foot plus entry drop into the course; he lost control and cased the next jump, bouncing him off his bike and crashing into the dirt.
Watts was stretchered off the course and later taken away by ambulance. Jumpship officials have tweeted that he is okay. After all, big falls and crashes aren’t foreign to this pedigree of athletes and injuries are just part of the lifestyle as riders risk their bodies daily in the pursuit of personal progression in a forever advancing sport.
Winners podium, left to right – Anthony Messere, Brandon Semenuk, Brett Rheeder – Photo Courtesy of Jumpship
The finals were finished, but the night was still young as people continued to pour into the beer garden and surrounding areas to watch the riders get back out on the course for the best whip, high-air and best trick competitions.
Sam Dueck rose to the top in the specialised high jump, Casey Grooves was awarded best trick (360 Indian air) and Justin Wyper won best whip (tail-whip to late 360).
After the riders had cleared the course and awards were handed out, the crowds headed over to Lucky Bar for the official Jumpship after party.
Despite challenging weather conditions, Jumpship managed to deliver a thrilling spectacle for the crowd, showcasing the extremely talented field of mountain bikers. Jumpship proved to be even bigger and better than last year and will surely be even larger next year.