The first FMB Gold Event of the 2019 season saw the world's best Slopestyle athletes compete in snowy Switzerland at the 10th edition of Swatch Rocket Air. With Defending Champion Matt Jones (GBR) not in attendance and a number of high-profile riders in the finals, the title was up for grabs. Dawid Godziek (POL) turned out to be the man to beat after laying down a heater of a run, scoring 94.30, holding on to that score for the rest of the night and taking the win at this historic 10th edition of Swatch Rocket Air.
Dawid Godziek managed to secure his place in the finals thanks to a stellar run earlier in the day during qualification, scoring a clean 88.00 points, almost 10 points more that Griffin Paulson (CAN). Viktor Douhan (SWE) showed up to the Swatch Rocket Air Birthday Bash with big plans and proved that he has what it takes to hang with the big dogs by taking 3rd in qualification, ahead of riders such as Sam Pilgrim (GBR), David Lieb (USA) and Brayden Barrett Hay (CAN).
Dawid Godziek was clinical in his first finals run, looking to capitalize on his first place qualifier and seeking redemption for last years 5th place finish. If there was one run this weekend that had everything, from big tricks to surgical precision on the landings, it was Dawid's first run.
Starting things off with a big Backflip X-Up and continuing with a huge Twister, Dawid closed out the first part of his run with a squeaky clean Opposite 360 on the step-up. Kicking off the second part of his run with a Double Tailwhip on the cannon and going into a Barspin Cash Roll on the hip, Dawid continued his run with an Alley-Oop Double Barspin, a 360 Downside Tailwhip, finishing his stellar run with a Barspin Flair on the quarter. With a near flawless run now in his pocket, it was up to the judges to decide where this would place the Polish rider on the leaderboard. His score of 94.3 would prove to be unbeatable for the rest of the night, but that's not saying other riders didn't give it their all to battle it out for first place.
French rider Paul Couderc kicked things off with a 360 Barspin on the step-down and turning things up a notch with a big Cork 720 and an Opposite 360 on the step-up. The second part of his run would prove critical to his podium performance. A Backflip Barspin into a huge Double Backflip on the hip put him in good position for a strong finisher combo - an Alley-Oop, a gigantic 720 and a stylish Tailwhip. Visibly stoked in the finish area, the Frenchman's performance was rewarded with an 86.00, which would put him in second place at the end of the first round and also at the end of the night.
Following a strong performance at the first stop of the Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Championship in Rotorua, New Zealand, Swedish ripper Alex Alanko edged out Erik Fedko (GER) for fourth place, but needed his second run to do so, as he got caught out by the big booter on his first run while attempting a Cork 720. It was all or nothing for the Swede in his second run, and he delivered by putting down a technical run, filled with big tricks and mathematical combos, securing another podium spot this season. He came out of the start gate with a Truck Driver, following it up with a Cork 720 and landing it clean this time around before closing out the first part of his run with a clean Tailwhip on the step-up. Blasting out of the cannon with a 360 One-Footed-Can, things were looking up for the Swede, who followed up with a 360 Barspin to Tailwhip before closing out his run with a Tailwhip, another big Cork 720 and a 540, a run rewarded with an 85.30.
With an extremely diverse bag of tricks, Fedko could have thrown a spanner in the works in the podium battle. After a strong first run, which featured a Backflip Tuck No Hander , a huge Backflip Superman Seatgrab, a stylish 360 Barspin to Tailwhip and a 540, Fedko still saw room for improvement and was looking to go big in his second run, but went off-line just ahead of the hip in the second part of his run, being forced to pull the eject button. While a Top 3 position was out of reach, his first run, at 84.70 points, was good enough to put him in the Top 5, managing to sneak just ahead of Antonin Honore (FRA).
Many veteran riders were taken out by the unique course set up. Nicholi Rogatkin (USA) could have made it a historical three wins had he been able to put down the run he wanted to, and in doing so, would have beaten Sam Pilgrim's (GBR) and Martin Söderstrom's (SWE) record, both of whom have two Rocket Air wins. For the duration of the night, all eyes in the arena were on local hero and 2018 Red Bull Rookie of the Year winner Lucas Huppert. The crowd went absolutely wild during his first run, managing to drown out the music with their screams of encouragement. Unfortunately, the Swiss young gun slipped a pedal during his first run and crashed on his second run and finished the night in ... position with a score of 82.50.
The best ranked rider at Swatch Rocket Air, who has not yet qualified for the upcoming Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Championship Event will be heading to Crankworx Innsbruck in Austria taking place on June 16. The Wildcard winner will be officially announced in the upcoming week, but all signs point to Dawid Godziek punching his Innsbruck ticket.
Swatch Rocket Air 2019 Results
All photos by © Andre Maurer Photography for Swatch Rocket Air