With FISE Chengdu in the books, the 2018 FMB World Tour season has come to a close. We'll be doing multiple recaps over the next few weeks and we're kicking it off with one of the National Series, namely Dirt Wars UK, a series that grows bigger every year and is a huge catalyst for the growth of the UK dirt and slopestyle scene. We caught up with Dirt Wars' Managing Director Cliff Barbeary to talk about what's been going on this season and what's in store for the future.
The big man on the Dirt Wars Campus himself, Cliff Barbeary!
First off, how was this year’s Dirt Wars season?
2018 has been an awesome series for us as its been the build up to the big 10 years next year (2019). Theres been a few injury's for the riders this year as they are all pushing the limit's to the maximum (This includes our Open Class) and the riding level is through the roof, so we kind of expected this.
We have only had one hold up with the weather postponment for Round 5, so all in all its been an amazing 2018. We have even had to lower our Entry age limit to allow a little 9year old shredder to compete in the Open Class.
What was your favorite stop of the season?
I do have a favorite, but it would be unfair on the other venues as my favorite is the one I helped build (Freddy's Yard) so obviously I'm going to be biased. Each venue has its own best bits too, they all have a reason for being one of our stops as we think they are some of the best comp venues in the UK.
Favorite trick of the season?
I have a few. Alfie Stevens Nac's are so clicked and stylish that they deserve a mention (it doesn't have to be a big banger to be an amazing trick, sometimes the simplest of tricks can look awesome and score high if they are pulled to perfection), Freddy Pulman's Backflip Tuck to Barspin is off the hook as are Tom Isted's Double Backflips and Harry Campbells Backflip to 1-Footed X-Up.
Talk us through the process of putting on a Dirt Wars comp – what are some of the challenges?
The biggest challenge of all is ensuring that the course is fully up to standard and that all the riders are happy with how the course runs. if a lip is wrong or a landing is too rough, it needs to be sorted out and fast so that we can run the comp. We are lucky to have such an awesome bunch of riders at Dirt Wars who are always ready to pick up a spade and make the course run how they want it to.
How important are initiatives like Dirt Wars for the development of the UK slope/dirt scene?
Seeing as we are the only Dirt Comp Series in the UK, it's essential that we run the comps to help the UK sponsored riders gain FMB points for their overall FMB Standings. We are also building new courses each year for the riders to progress their levels of riding. Most of the new courses open as Public Dirt Jump spots after our events, so we are constantly adding new venues to the UK scene.
How has being part of the FMB World Tour as a National Series helped develop Dirt Wars as a whole?
Being part of the FMB as the British National Series is awesome, We have always held at least one round of the series as an FMB Bronze round since 2012, but in 2016 when the FMB asked us to become the British National Series and hold all of the rounds as Bronze events, we were stoked as it felt like we had been properly noticed by the govening body of Freestyle MTB. It helps us gain sponsorship for the coming seasons as all brands recognize the FMB connection and know that they will get good coverage.
2019 will mark the ten-year anniversary of Dirt Wars. Anything special in store that you can reveal?
Yeah, we are currently in talks with a huge MTB Event here in the UK who have asked us to hold a round at their event, We also have an end of season party planned with the overall series podiums and plenty of shenanigans. There are also a few more things we've got in the works, but I can't really tell you about those just yet.
If you were to give one piece of advice to someone who is looking to organize a contest stop, what would it be?
Get ready for a lot of hard work but the look on the riders' faces when they hit that perfect run is priceless...
Anything else you would like to add?
I'd like to thank my awesome crew for the 2018 Series (you know who you are) for all their time and hard work, the sponsors, venues, riders, spectators and media for making the series what it is. We always have a good laugh with plenty of banter to throw about. I can't wait for 2019 and the 10th year Anniversary of Dirt Wars UK.
Dirt Wars UK is currently seeking sponsors for the 2019 series so if any brands out there want a piece of UK Dirt Jump action, drop Cliff a line at Cliff@dirtwarsuk.com