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The Chris Birch Column
written by Chris Birch


Continuing the last column from Ecuador

Franklin and I flew from Brussels to Madrid and then a connection flight from Madrid to Quayaquil, Ecuador. We were met by the Promontor of the show. This was the first FMX show ever to happen in Ecuador. So I was optimistic how this would run as it was a learn curve for all those invold but still was a good feeling to be riding in a country where the sport had never been performed before!

Later that day I and Nick wanted to go and check the location out and our bikes to resure are nerves that what we had been told from the promontor was true? This was not possible until the day before the event? Ok?

We were told:
We had brand new bikes. The ramps were the same design as the Red Bull X fighter ramps use in Mexico. And that we were jumping to Dirt!

The day before the event.
We were on location finally! The plan was to build our bikes (change the suspension, bars, etc) and check the ramps were good and ride practice.
We saw the take off ramp first. From a distance it looked fine but as we walked closer... Not good!! The ramp had all the radius all the curve at the start of the ramp and then about 2meters of straight flat!

Chris Birch Things started to get worse, a landing ramp? What happen to the dirt? They had built a landing ramp the angles were ok but... It was only 2.5 meters wide!! And with ½ inch plywood on it!!! :) What else can I say! The Bikes: We were told we had brand new bikes! Nope!! 2 year old bikes that had looked like they just came from the track they were a mess! We got to work in the blistering heat! A great climate, that has to be said! J More wood was nailed on to the hideously not wide landing ramp! We got our bikes built and clean up ready for the first of four shows on this tour. The take off ramp. Well we had no time to fix it or to try and make it any better so we were going to jump it as it was. The funny thing was they had the take off ramp back at 23 meters!!! Hahaha! No chance! We ended up jumping 16 meters to the 2,5 meter wide landing ramp.

The first show, honestly was a struggle and none of us enjoyed riding it! The Ecuadorian crowd did seem to love what we did but it was hard for us guys to get pumped about what just happen. I forgot to mention and I bet no one in the freestyle world has heard of this happening before? I and Nick, we were lucky we had a bike each! There were another 5 riders two from Spain, Antonio Navas and Raul Lerena and the two from Colombia, Sebastian Mejia and another guy whose name I can’t remember at the mo, sorry! Sebastian Donoso who is a local guy from Ecuador. So 5 riders! These 5 had to share two bikes between them all! Can you believe that and theirs bike were in just as bad conditions as ours!

So the second show, which the next day was at the same location. Same deal as the night before!! We had a load of dirt under the front of the take off ramp to make it steeper! We were still jumping at 16 meters but took a bit more risk and manage to bust out some bigger tricks. Actually started to enjoy myself. The setup wasn’t great by no means but I was determined to have some fun on my bike!

So now we have a few days off! We travelled to the last location Cuenca. This town is probably the biggest motoX town I’ve ever been too. Where ever you looked MX brand stickers on the back of cars, trucks, etc. There was probably more off-road motorcycle shops then hairdressers!! It was cool!!! Of course KTM was there so me and Nick went to the head office to say hello. It was really nice to see a bit of Europe here in South America as Ecuador is very... different! In a nice way!

Chris Birch and Nick Franklin

So we went to the Plaza Torres a Bull fighting Arena to check where we will riding in a few days time. The promontor promised to sort the ramps out. So we could do what we know best and that is to put a kick ass fmx show on!! I took the time out due the week to go shopping for the right materials for the new take off ramp and drew up ramp plans!! We were riding in the Plaza Torres to a sold out crowd!! If we could get the ramps good so we could jump a bigger size jump, it was going to be good!

The Day of the show, Everybody was working flat out to get the ramps prepared but just our luck, hours before the show.... A huge storm!!! Things were going well! We had a meeting 2hours before the doors open but it was far too wet to ride this night. So the show was cancelled and schedule for early afternoon the next day, if we were to have no more rain this night!
We turn up at the show a 9am. We were disappointed! The landing ramp had been made wider but only by a meter! On closer inspection this extra meter was a waste of time because there was no bars across the frame work to support the wood!! It one of us was to land on this part they would have just gone through the wood and... Well it would have been messy!! The take of ramp was better and now the guys in Ecuador have a good ramp to ride for them self’s!

The Show was very muddy, we did have a lot of rain. We only jump 15 meters! Again because of the stupid landing ramp! I really did have fun in the end!! We had a sold out crowd who had never seen freestyle MX before. Well live anyway. They went nuts for us guys. Really really cool! A GREAT Atmosphere!

When I look back at the trip, yeah we had a load of problems too many! But when I think FMX had never been here before the group of riders that were here. We had a great time. As always Red Bull top class, looking afters I and Nick! It was a real experience and I would go back and do it all again. Just not this year!

Thanks for reading...

Cheers Birch ... AKA Swampy

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