For most of us, flipping upside down on our bike ten feet in the air is the prelude to a thud and a trip to A&E, but for the 36 competitors in the Red Bull Empire of Dirt 2012, it’s a disappointingly low jump. The annual international competition, which brought 20,000 BMX fans to London’s Alexandra Palace in May, saw riders from 14 countries leap and spin over founder Kye Forte’s exhilarating 435-metre course of slopes, ramps and obstacles. But it wasn’t enough for contestants simply to execute smart tricks. They were also judged on their creativity and style. Which is pretty tough given that, at times, they were being propelled to the height of two London buses.
BMX – ‘bicycle motocross’ – began in the US in the 1970s, with kids racing their bikes on dirt tracks in motocross style. It quickly became a recognised sport, and rapidly grew in popularity.
At the end of the two-day contest, this year’s winner was announced: England’s Ben Wallace. Wonder if he jumped for joy…?
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