This year’s event saw the unlocking of the infamous Stoneridge Skatepark which provided the perfect platform for riders to showcase their skills through the qualifying rounds and into the finals. The park, still in pristine condition, offered a variety of line and obstacle choices catering for the various styles of BMX riders competing.
With over 50 riders competing through the Amateur and Pro divisions, judges had their hands full as they took use-of-park, consistency, execution and tricks into account when making their selection of riders advancing into the finals and podium positions. Pro riders competed for their share of the R35,000 prize money, Garmin Instinct 2 smartwatches and other official event partners' prizes. In the Amateur Division, a new Mongoose BMX was up for grabs. The tournament concluded with the Best Trick competition with the winner taking home a GoPro Hero10.
In the Amateur Division, a strong contingency of riders competed making for a close fought final. Mark Pienaar showed huge progression in his riding using flowy lines throughout the park with a host of Turndowns and Lookbacks thrown in over the various hits. That mixed with a 360 and stylish bowl riding saw Pienaar take the top step of the podium.
Duan Stapelberg combined good flow with a floaty 360 and extended Suicide No-Handers to secure 2nd place.
In his first ever BMX contest, newcomer Dylan Lamb brought a fast-paced and smooth riding style combined with steezy 360s, Inverts in the bowl and Tuck No-Handers to slot into 3rd place.
Special mention goes out to Jenna Byrnes, who was also competing in her first BMX contest and Park Lines’ only female entry. Byrnes made history by being the first South African female rider to land a backflip, and placed 5th in the Amateur division.
This year’s Pro division saw a stacked field of top riders from all over the country, including two international riders who made their trip to South Africa to compete – Jak Tones (UK) and Greg Illingworth (UK/SA).
Matt Duffy, riding with an injury from practice, managed to put down a solid run to secure 5th place. Returning to South Africa for Park Lines, Greg Illingworth took to the course with the crowd-pleasing style, speed and big transfers he is known for to take home 4th place.
UK’s Tones brought a host of big tricks to his runs - a 540 Flair, Flair Tailwhip, Truckdrivers, Barspin to Tuck-No Hander, and a Pendulum to name a few, which secured his 3rd place overall.
Last year’s winner and defending champ, Vincent Leygonie was on form and on the hunt for the top spot. Leygonie made great use of the park by linking together big transfer lines with amplitude and consistency that no other rider was able to do, throwing in a 720, 540 Barspin, Superseat Indy and Tailwhips for good measure. When it came down to the judges’ score cards, it just wasn’t enough to beat fellow compatriot, Murray Loubser.
Murray Loubser, returning to competition from injury, produced a flawless run capitalising on his technical skills to impress the judges. From the start of the buzzer, Murray linked trick after trick throughout his 45-second run, which included a Backflip over the hip, Tailwhips, G-Turn, 1 Hander Cannonball and a Barspin to Manual to Opposite Barspin out. A final score of 91 (out of 100) saw Loubser claim victory and crowned the 2022 Park Lines BMX Tournament Champion.
The day concluded with the Best Trick contest with standout performances from Nathi Steeze and his technical line. Greg Illingworth’s insane Transfer Gap Tailwhip, and Murray Loubser’s Wall Ride to Wall Ride. It was a heated decision between Dylan van Belkum’s 270 Backflip and Jak Tones’ Fakie to Frontflip for the win.
The prize was awarded to Tones with a first-ever Fakie to Frontflip landed on South African soil.
Park Lines organiser, Ryan van der Spuy, said, “This year’s Park Lines BMX Tournament was incredible and it was a treat to host this event at the Stoneridge Skatepark. To see this come together as one of the biggest local BMX contests in recent times is a proud moment for us, as well as being able to showcase the capability and talent of our riders. Thank you to our event partners for sharing this vision and for making Park Lines the reality it is. We can’t wait for the next one!”