Ride UK Classics

Ride UK Classics: A Quarter of What?

Way back in issue 112, well over 50 issues ago now. Ride UK came up with the idea to have a private competition with some of the UK’s favourite riders. It was a two day event, with the challenge of building a quarterpipe to take place on the first day and riding it the next. Over the two days the riders were not fully aware that it was an actual competition and just built and rode at their pleasure, with the judging announced on the overall two days after it happened.

We decided to run with this classic, as the Warehouse Project concept, that involved various riders getting creative and building random things is almost upon us, so it was a nice way to tie both events in. Here’s a great classic and one not to miss. Enjoy…

A Quarter of What?

Intro Mark Noble words and colour photos Steve Bancroft black and white photos Nathan Beddows

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Well, simply put, it’s a quarter of a pipe. Twenty-five percent of a circle.

Ninety degrees of curved ramp. A quarterpipe The BMX days of the quarter pipe can be traced back to the first time a rider laid tyre on a swimming pools surface in Southern California in the early seventies – going up and
down an upright curved wall. hitting vert. it all left so good on a bike. With swimming pools becoming an increasing bust. the next stage was to replicate the transition in something else more practical. and more available – say…
how about wood? And hence. the wooden quarterpipe ramp was born. Wooden ramps are as old as dusty memories of Stingrays.

On Any Sunday, and BUMS track: at the very least, they are a plank leaned on three house bricks (as per our cover with Ashley Charles for issue 110-which was the whole point), at the very most… well, the world is your oyster. A hand built and home-crafted quarterpipe takes you from horizontal to vertical with epic ease. The first ones, built back in those 1970s, were often bumpier and harsher than the learning curves experienced in constructing them. Six foot tall and four foot wide? Why not. A bunch of 2x4s helping to bend the wood into shape? Hell yeah. Angle-iron bar used for the top of the lip? Yep. Let’s draw the plans up and stick ‘em in a book, the kids will love it. And we did – and we built them too. We built one for a comp in 1986. in our garden. A right old lump it was too, 6ft wide, 6ft tall, 6it tranny. 2ft deck, two layers of 6mm plywood, and a Union Jack painted on the front. Brilliant. Though. lugging it into town centre marketplace for the contest was a little challenging… Competition quarterpipes (and of course. back garden quarters everywhere) became a ‘standard’ 8ft tall during the heyday comps of the UKBFA and AFA days during the eighties, and they all had to double-up trailers so they could be towed behind cars (which meant they could never be wider than 6fl) – so they weren’t the best ramps in the world. Most riders adapted to their wacky transitions and variable vert and we had some good tim on those old steel-framed Hickman ramps, as sketchy as they were. In due course, the old contest style was soon out dated and out modded by the freer haltpipe jams brought in by the likes of the 2-Hip contest series which commenced in Ron Wilkerson’s SoCaI backyard in December 1985: no longer did you need to haul ass across all sports-hall floor to get eight feet out – just drop in. ride back and forth, and pump. So, largely speaking. from that moment on at the end of the eighties. the quarterpipe tell by the wayside – making way for the halfpipe. the street course. and the skatepark set-up.

Come the next decade.Hoffman and co rekindled the quarterpipe in 1998 by creating a ramp higher than most houses. being towed towards it at approximately 60mph (who knows – the speedo on the motorbike was broken anyway…) and knocking himself into the record books with a 28ft-plus aerial. No-one dared step up to better that challenge – until the quarter pipe was added to the tail-end of the MegaRamp at the X-Games in 2006. But still, these days, most people use a simple quarterpipe as a turn-around ramp to hit something a little more avant-garde in the skatepark. But when it all comes down to it, and when done right, the most base of BMX experiences will always remain timeless and forever fun: a bunnyhop contest, a tabletop, a wheelie, a big fat tuck jump, a quarterpipe. The purity of cranking towards a vert ramp and blasting an air, just like the old days, is still a good time no matter what decade we’re in, how low our seats are, or how many brakes we have on our bikes. A big, fat, hulking aerial. Simple as that. As Woody ltson used to say. ‘Its just doing a 180.’ And with all of this in mind, we set about a sweet little challenge. With a few events on the calendar, Steve decided we would create one of our own. The Ride UK BMX Magazine Quarterpipe Challenge, and the brief was thus; gather a varied collection of quality riders, a stack of wood and hire some power tools for the weekend, day one build the quarterpipe, day two ride it. Day one would see how the collated riders – some of whom wouldn’t ordinarily hang out with each other due to coming from far-off hometowns, differing circles of mates, or for other various reasons – would bond and work together as a DIY team to create a mutually beneficial quarterpipe ramp. A true man’s bonding session. A bit like Scrapheap Challenge, without the scrapheap or the bloke off Red Dwarf. Day two would simply be the riding session. Bingo. Problem one was finding a suitable location – options included outside our own office here in Poole (no: too outdoors}. maybe the Forte Barn (no: too remote. maybe too small, not vacant}. and then a quick call to Stu at Seventies to see if their big old warehouse next door was available resulted in us having a great venue which everyone knew and were comfortable with; and besides, everyone knows where Hastings is. So the venue was set and also a date. Next up. riders. A dream team of quarterpipe riders from all comers of the country was drawn up, and invites were emailed out (some couldn’t make it, some were injured, some were replaced, but most riders on the list were stoked to take part). The event all came together quickly, and was soon upon us. Hired tools were collected, wood was procured. the venue was, and one by one riders began arriving on site. Here’s what happened next.

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“It was a competition”
I didn’t tell anyone at the t|me, but this seemingly relaxed weekend in Hastings was actually a serious competition. I nominated myself as the judge and here are the results
(prizes are in the post).

16th: Dan Lacey & Mark Love (Federal) Didn’t show up.

15th: Josh Elktington (FBM) & Mitch Yates (Simple Bike Co.) – A few years ago this duo had a joint interview in this very magazine, the text in the article caused some controversy as it depicted them rather destructive and a tad too keen to get baked. Alter a strong start, with their building efforts the pair proved the interview was an extremely accurate piece of journalism by turning up on the Sunday ‘all bent up like an old bit of railway track’. After a truly pathetic attempt at socialising and not even getting their bikes out of the car they were aIl packed up and heading back to Salisbury before midday. Lightweight tossers! Learn a lesson from the Ditchbum textbook.

14th: Scott Edgworth (Fit) – On Saturday night everyone watched on the big screen as Scott blasted some massive airs on a nine-foot quarter in his section on the 4Down video. So when the ramp was ready to go, his argument that he had ‘Nothing to offer’ wasn’t believed by anyone – Pull your finger out, you’re not dead yet. Scott.

13h: Paul Jeffries (Proper Bike Co.) – Didn’t throw his signature massive tailwhip. I hassled and hassled, but he resisted and so he places near the bottom (even it you did get stuck in with the building work and throw down some massive arial manoeuvre, sorry Paul, that’s just the way it goes)

12th: Marv (Fit) – Sat around taking the piss and waiting for a lilt home. Although. I did see him hitting up the quarter a few times, but I think his jammin’ salmon airs were more of a fun poke than a serious effort.

11th: Ben Wallace (Haro & Primo) – Turned the warehouse into some kind of episode of Top Gear by parking one of those extras fromToo Fast Too Furious next to the ramp. A broken wrist kept Ben close to the ground and deprived everyone present of a display of some of the best ramp riding in the world. He still used the quarter like a mini ramp with some dialled lip tricks and used his car stereo to provide some much needed beats.

10th: Mike Miller (Proper Bike Co): Mike had been out the previous night with the band of TTLs (Tadley Town Locals). Alter moaning and groaning for a few hours Mike finally gave in to peer pressure and boosted a single air on the quarter. The fact that his solitary air was one of the best inverts ever snapped means he escapes any bitchin from me or anyone else (apart from Marv).

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9th: Kye (United) 8. Toby Forte (FBM): Both sidelined through injury the Forte brothers spent more time behind the power-tools than anyone else. Between them they used the jigsaw to display some outstanding creativity, amongst the fruits of their labour were: a chocolate starfisg, a hanging gingerbread man, and a Hard Rock Cafe-style giant wooden guitar – Weird but strangely appropriate.

8th: Joe Fox (S&M) – More commonly respected for his street skills. Joe dropped some jaws with massive airs before nearly losing his thumb on the mini ramp. It really was enlightening to see that one of todays most progressive street riders can hold his own six feet above the deck; I love Joe’s attitude towards riding – f—king priceless.

7th: Owain Clegg (Fit) – Recovering from knee surgery‘ Owain didn’t actually ride the ramp, but being undoubtedly‘ one of the best riders in England everyone knew he would have killed it. 7th place without even picking up a bike.

6th: Scott Ditchburn (Fit) – Upon his release, after spending the night in jail (the result from a jolly good time at the 4Down Summer of Madness premiere, in which he is a major highlight. Scott showed up, scrounged some fresh clothes from the racks in the Seventies Warehouse and proceeded to sling 100 barspins on the mini ramp set-up. Didn’t hang around for the completion of the quarter, but more‘ than left his mark on the weekend.

Jon Taylor (Hoffman Bikes) – Jon has aired more quarterpipes than most of the others have had hot dinners. He used his experience to be up there at the top of the invisible height pole as well as overseeing the whole weekend and keeping the ball rolling with the endless enthusiasm.

RIDE: What previous ramp building experience do you have?
JON: I have built tons of ramps, including the ramp I had in my garden. l have built some shady ramps in the past though.

What were the final dimensions of the ramp, and why did it end up like that?
I We made it nine-toot transitions cut off at nine foot and it was ten foot wide – we all talked it through, some wanted bigger and some wanted it smaller, so it was a compromise at nine foot.

How long did the ramp take to build?
It took about five hours over two days.

Who was the laziest worst builder?
Les was a massive help. There were a few lazy types about, but I won’t name and shame. ‘Everyone contributed something though and building it was good fun.

What’s the highest air you’ve ever sent out of a quarterpipe and where I when was it?
Well that really depends on the size of the quarterpipe… I’ve been lucky enough to ride many different ones over the years and can’t really pinpoint one.

Who was your favourite rider to watch?
Everyone was amazing to watch because it was so roots it was just like doing a long jump! Everyone involved was really good on it.

If you could have flown in anyone you liked, who would you have most liked to watch ride this ramp?
Mat Hoffman…

What role did hangovers play in the build process?
Hangovers hit Mitch and Josh pretty hard. They were so up for it the day before, but had to leave early due to too much booze on Saturday night!

Do you have plate to build any other ramps in the near future?
We want to build something new at the warehouse. like a bowl or something. so that’s probably the next ramp I’ll build or help wim

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4th: Liam Eltham (S&M) – Used his orange shoes and uniquely quirky style to manoeuvre his bike and body into some yoga inspired positions, whilst taking the word ‘clicked’ into a whole new dimension.

3rd: Luke Marchant (Fly Bikes) – With some of the most stylish tumdowns anyone had ever seen and a 540 fastplant. Luke turned a lot of heads on the Sunday. His riding more than made up for his slackness on the tools.

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2nd: Leo Forte (United Bike Co.) – with his wealth of ramp building experience (his barn, the Red Bull Empire Of Dirt course, etc) Leonardo ended up being site foreman and knocked in the majority of nails over the weekend. Used his token floaty gypsy style to annoy Marv and nearly hit the roof out of his creation. ‘

RIDE: What previous ramp building experience do you have?
LEO: I guess it started from when me, Kye and Toby were younger. Old Man would make us quarters to ride at home, so we would pitch in and do abit of nailing willy-nilly you know. Then we tackled a few tasks of our own which consisted of an indoor set-up at home. we created a two-foot high quarter that had vert, haha, you can imagine trying to ride a ramp that was the radius of your wheel? Then the first real project I embarked on was the Red Bull / Movment bam, after Red Bull built our volcano mini, we were left to our own devices to fill the void with artistic sculptures, and somehow I was at the helm. That was learning curve – haha

What were the final dimensions of the ramp and why did it end up like that?
She weighed in at a lovely nine feet high, ten feet wide with a nine feet transition; I just thought it would be nice to create some thing with an unconventional transitional formula.

How long did the ramp take to build?
We got the carcass up and together in about two hours, the speed of light.

Who was the laziest I worst builder?
I’m not going to mention any names, but if you didn’t experience first hand the whirlwind of emotions as an 18v cordless Dewalt battery goes flat on you halfway through sinking in a screw, then your heart my not have been in it – hahal

What’s the highest air you’ve ever seen out of a quarterpipe and where I when was it?
Probably Bas at Backyard Jam, proper corked and out of control old-school air.

Who was your favourite rider to watch?
I really enjoyed watching Luke Marchant ride, shame about the lack of brakes though, haha, It was nice to ride with people you wouldn’t necessarily ride with.

If you could have flown in anyone you liked, who would you have most lilted to watch ride this ramp?
Jerry Galley – you could fly him in from London if you liked, but I’m not sure he would comply, perhaps a taxi ride.

What role did hangovers play in the build process?
It sent Josh Elkington and Mitch Yeates home.

Do you have plans to build any other ramps in the near future?
Almost definitely. I have plans for additions to our bam in the New Year. I love swingin’ the old knockin’ stick. Cheeriol

1st: Nikki Croft (Mutiny Bikles) – Easily the most enthusiastic rider of the weekend, used his massive arms to pull more than his own weight during the building process, aired higher than anyone else and
generally didn’t stop all weekend. A pleasure to be around and one of the most placid aggressive riders out there – what a legend!

RIDE: What’s the highest air you’ve even sent out of a quaterpipe and where and when was it!
NIKKI: Errrm possibly Australia, forgot where the skatepark was, January this year.

When airing a quarter do you get scared?
No, just crank, smile, and usually its gonna be fun!

What’s worse: landing flat or hanging up?
A girl hanging up on ya… I’d say front wheel to the coping.

Could you have gone higher out of the quarter inn Hastings if the nun-up was better?
But Mad Jon was hogging it.

If you were solely responsible for choosing the size of the quarter would you have altered anything?
I would have kept making it a foot higher every half an hour to separate the men from the mice, and definitely make it sturdier.

What’s the best feeling trick you can do in an air?
TABLES! Or no-handers.

If you could have flown in anyone you liked, who would you have most lilted to watch ride this ramp?
Mat Hoflman – who else is there?

Who was your favourite rider to watch?
Bas Keep riding the bar Saturday night…Luke Marchant’s – TURNDOWNS and Miller’s – TABLES!


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