National Series 2018 Season Review: Switzerland

First off, how was this year’s Swiss National Series season?

It’s been a good season! 3 good events and a high level final with the Bronze Event in Zurich and it's for sure good to see more and more riders taking part. It's actually our 5th year of the Dirt Offspring Series, which started as a Dirt Jump Series for the young guns under 20. This season we are transforming it into the Swiss Dirt Series which is open for all ages.

What was your favorite stop of the season?

Since I missed out on our home spot event in Thun, my favorite one was Davos. Such a good, chill atmosphere. Kids, trail riders and locals meet up with dirt jumpers at what is probably the highest Dirt Jump Park in Europe, situated 1500 meters above sea level. While it’s a contest, it doesn’t really have a contest feeling, more of a good jam with friends.

Favorite trick of the season?

Ufff, lots of good stuff going on here. In our first years 5 years ago, the boys would win with basic tricks but this year we saw some serious battles with double spins and new combinations.

What was pretty fun to witness was the Cash for Tricks jam in Zurich; I mean where else do you get to see Brie Flips?

Talk us through the process of putting on a National Series comp – what are some of the challenges?

As we (the Flying Metal Crew) organize Swatch Rocket Air, we are used to building a whole course in a couple days, just for one event. With the Dirt Series, it’s much easier because the parks are already there, which is also one of the reasons why we wanted to work together with them from the very beginning of the National Series.

The National Series isn't meant to be an event with all international riders and tons of spectators - it should be a place where upcoming riders can meet up, ride with older, more experienced riders and get better at what they are doing. So, at the end of the day, the job on our side was to communicate, organize and make sure the contest ran well with good and fair judging, while parks like Davos, Zürich, Rüti or Schlattingen took real good care of the jumps.

How important are initiatives like the Swiss National Series for the development of the Swiss slope/dirt scene?

I think that it's really important. Before the Series, we only had 1 Gold Event and 1 Silver Event in Switzerland. That way, it was almost impossible for upcoming riders to work their way up. Now there are 5 Events; 3 Bronze, 1 Silver and 1 Gold. It also helps that there are parks like Zurich and Skills Park Winterthur with good training facilities, an air bag and mulch landings.

Take the example of Lucas Huppert, who won the first Dirt Offspring Series back in 2014 when he was 12 years old; those where his first contests.

How has being part of the FMB World Tour as a National Series helped develop the Swiss contest scene as a whole?

That's something we'll probably see by next season since we only started to work together with the World Tour this past season. But I think it’s adding credibility to the Series and gives riders the chance to compete with more international riders, while also getting valuable Bronze Events points, which is crucial for some of the younger riders who are trying to make a name for themselves.

Any plans of expanding the National Series for 2019?

We don’t wanna do more events. I would rather see 3 really good events with a high level of riding than more events with less quality. Transforming it into the Swiss Dirt Series will make it a bit more professional, while still giving all of the riders the possibility to compete.

If you were to give one piece of advice to someone who is looking to organize a contest stop, what would it be?

Make sure to have a good set of trickable jumps and go for it! The worst that can happen is that it’s raining and you have to drink coffee and some adult beverages in a tent with your friends. Could be worse right?

Anything else you would like to add?

Yep! A big thanks goes out to the parks who are part of this Series and make sure every jump is shaped perfectly when we arrive. Of course, I also want to thank our supporters; UNIT, ION and TSG.

All photos by © Andre Maure