It's baltic out there! It's a phrase you hear a lot in the UK, especially during a frigid street sesh down town center. Forget that, summer in the Baltics is bliss. Latvia is sandwiched between Estonia, it's northern neighbor and Lithuania to the south. In mid-summer, the mercury easily reaches 30c, with long days and short nights. GGFEST has been going strong now for the last decade, growing bigger with each year, attracting an ever-expanding roster of new international pro riders and returning veterans. (Shout out to Hectors)
Words & Video by Scott Connor
Photos by Mike Drummond
GGFEST is held in Ventspils, a picturesque port town on the country's northwest coast. Its white sand beaches and clear Baltic waters are a real draw for Latvian holiday-goers, and it's easy to see why once you're there. It's not all peace and tranquility though, as come the weekend of GGFEST the town gets a shot of adrenaline mainlined into its arm and things start to get fast and loose.
There are more events than you can shake a pleg sleeve at during GGFEST weekend. Everything from breakdancing to basketball, moto stunt bikes to wakeboarding, and even some MMA scrapping. BMX has three separate contests - Dirt, Street and Park. The tired and tested trio of the contest circuit. Friday saw the dirt comp which kicked off at sunset. Three big ol' doubles and a dirt quarter to finish. After the practice session, the floodlights came on and the stunts popped off. Once the dust had settled, Danny Josa landed in 3rd place, Jack Mould in 2nd and local legend, Viktors Kronbergs took 1st place, to the delight of the Latvian fans.
Saturday brought relentless sun and both the street and Park contests. The street was just that, smack bang in the center of a Ventspils main street. Populated with an array of ledges, rails, ramps, quarters and more. Most of which could be moved around to facilitate any riders desire to send it any which way. Marek Kuhalskis took 3rd place, Arkov Artemy came 2nd and Argentinian bad-man, Mati Lasgoity took the gold in 1st place.
7pm brought the beginning of the park contest, and unfortunately, the end of Matias Aura's ACL. Being a stoic Finn, he took it like a champ and was loaded into an ambulance with a big smile and two thumbs up (Perkele!). As always - the show must gon on. Levi Weidmann took 3rd place, Ernests Zebolds 2nd and the UK's own, Jack Clark took the gold and the winners check.
"All said and done, it was a top f**kin' weekend!"