Building the future // Australian Slopestyle Tour 2022

Three stops across the East Coast of Australia saw a new generation of Australian Slopestyle stars compete for the inaugural FMB backed Australian Slopestyle Tour Championship. 

To say it’s been a long time coming is an understatement…

Words // Matt Holmes   Images // outerimage.com.au & Sam Herbert Media

The very first Australian Slopestyle Tour kicked off this year and saw three rounds go down that showcased the future of Slopestyle riding on these shores. With backing from the FMB World Tour, the three Bronze events stops were the first steps to ensuring Australian riders have a pathway to the world stage. But even more than that, a series on these shores has shown that the scene here is shining bright.

Round 1 // Big Air Bike Park 

Kicking off the Australian Slopestyle Tour was stop one, at the new Big Air Bike Park in Brookvale on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. It’s wooden jumps, rollers, wall rides and more sculpted by the ramp builder and rider Jason Watts more than worthy for the assembled crew. 

The local heavy qualifying field meant many wouldn’t make it through to the finals. That said, the riding was above and beyond what many expected. Testament to the old cliché ‘If you build it, they will come’, Big Air Bike Park has already created a tight knit scene of shredders willing to throw down.

Come finals, Leroy Leslie took third with a big ol bag of tricks that included a sweet manual line between the judged features. Second place went to Tom Wrigley. Speed and flow, alongside truck drivers, tuck no handers, flips and local knowledge on all the lines had the judges in a tough position come the final rider, Jamie Bunning.

Jamie Bunning

The BMXer transitioning to MTB for the first time at this event, on a borrowed bike even, made the course his own with a mix of big flip variations, stretched superman seat grabs, no foot cans and more on his way to the eventual win. 

We can’t leave stop one without a huge shoutout to the AST’s first and only female competitor; Imogen Lodding, whose tuck no handers, toboggans and more had the assembled crew of riders and spectators alike stoked!

Round 1 Results

  1. Jamie Bunning
  2. Tom Wrigley
  3. Leroy Leslie

Watch the replay of the Round One livestream below!

Yep, we were live!

Round 2 // Kooralbyn MTB Park

Joining forces with the Kooralbyn MTB Festival made round two of the Australian Slopestyle Tour a banger.

A new world class course built for the event proved to be a big step up from the indoor ramps in round one. Built by master dirt visionary Shane Flower alongside his son who rode the event, the course at a world class level of size and speed. While a huge downpour the eve before the event almost put a damper on things, the sun shone through before qualifying and the assembled riders rode their hearts out. Come finals time, the pressure really sorted the field out.

Racer come freeride weapon Baxter Maiwald pulled his effortless style into the Slopestyle world for a solid fourth place finish just behind West Aus born and bred Ted Oakley who’s consistency with big tricks saw a well deserved third for his efforts. The top steps of the podium were reserved for Sydney riders, Jadon Wilson tricking everything with endless combo airs.

Tom Wrigley on route to a win at Stop 2.

But of course there can be only one. That one was Tom Wrigley. Keen for redemption after the narrow loss at stop one, he proved he could handle both the pressure and the size of the course. With a ninja drop to start his run, Tom was sending it from the moment he hit the course, a huge three sixty over the hip, followed by another three with bars thrown for good measure saw him no hand flip the final set for a convincing win. On the up and coming list, Chase Minos rode above and beyond his years making the final and the riders choice award from Marzocchi, definitely a young gun to watch!

Round 2 Results

  1. Tom Wrigley
  2. Jadon Wilson
  3. Ted Oakley

You can watch a replay of the Round Two livestream below!

Mike Ross cash rollin!

Round 3 // Greenvalleys MTB Park

Come round three, series championship aspirations were high with two riders; Tom Wrigley and Jamie Bunning with one win a-piece, and 13 others hungry to get a taste of the podium. 

Greenvalleys MTB Parks annual Block Party was the perfect event to finish the series with. With a new Slopestyle course in place, Greenvalleys continues to up the anté of what an Australian MTB park is and how an event should look and feel. Nick and the GV crew have put their heart and soul into all the build, and especially the new Slopestyle line. Which if you go back 12+ years, you’ll know is almost the same as the original slope/DJ line back then! Visionary stuff indeed…. 

Fast forward to November 19 2022, and the AST rolled in to take on the course for the final round of the tour. With wind gusting hard at times, somehow the qualis went off leaving eight riders battling it out in the final. 

MIke Ross flip drops the starting drop smoother than anyone straight dropped it.

In the end, Mike Ross showcased all the reasons why he’s become a contender on the international Slopestyle scene. Coming back from both overseas and injury, he rolled into his final run with a backflip off the drop, before throwing a downside whip over the hip, cash rolled the first of the two big kickers, old school no-handed the boner log before styling his way into the final feature with a no handed front flip. All flawless, all at speed and all at height. Dane Folpp rode solidly and consistently for second place and series contender Tom Wrigley came in third with a run that definitely had him wanting more, but more than a little amped on becoming the inaugural FMB Australian Slopestyle Tour Champion.

Round 3 Results

1. Mike Ross

2. Dane Folpp

3. Tom Wrigley

Watch the top eight final runs from Round Three:

AST 2022 is a wrap!

Over the course of the three tour stops, the level of riding at the pointy end of the series has been nothing short of world class. On the flip side, the level of riding from the younger riders at each stop has really showcased just how strong the burgeoning Slopestyle scene is on these shores. Spectators at the events themselves and those that watched the live-streams were treated to a new generation of Australian riding.

Series Results

1. Tom Wrigley

2. Jamie Bunning

3. Ted Oakley

AST would like to thank Fox for coming onboard as the major series partner. And of course Yakima, Krush, Marzocchi and AusCycling for their support throughout the series also. The event venues deserve a special thanks for stepping up and hosting a round each. Thats Big Air Bike Park in Brookvale NSW, Kooralbyn MTB Park in SE Queensland, and of course Greenvalleys MTB Park in NSW. Those venues are there to be ridden, and the features ridden on tour are there for all to ride now and foster the new gen of Australian Slopestyle riders. 

For full results and more info on AST hit up their site www.ausslopestyletour.com

With the series wrapped up, the momentum for the 2023 series has already begun. Thanks to the success of this years events, AusCycling has come onboard to officially recognise Freestyle Mountain Biking and are backing an even bigger series next year. To top it off, this recognition means that there will be an official Australian National Champion just like DH and Enduro. It’s a huge step for the burgeoning Slopestyle scene that is long overdue on theses shores. Slopestyle is going to go from strength to strength in Australia with more stops planned, more riders involved and more partners onboard. And before we forget, a massive thanks to all the riders involved! Here’s to sending it in 2023. [R]