At last weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed and Moving Motor Show, world-class action sport heroes battled the elements and each other to unleash a four-day frenzy of world class extreme sports upon a record total audience of 185,000 visitors in the Goodwood Action Sports (GAS) arena.
After last year’s successful debut, GAS was even bigger and better for 2012 with five huge freestyle ramps, a reworked trials course, two super-technical BMX dirt jump runs, a raised BMX flatland platform and the pedal-powered might of the Animal Bike Tour team. The GAS athletes – hand-picked from the ranks of the biggest action sports stars on the planet – responded to their all-new beefed-up playground by putting on a series of shows that left the Festival visitors open-mouthed at their sublime skills, commitment and courage as sporadic strong winds, and at times heavy rain, combined to push them to the limit.
Each day saw two hour-long performances that showcased the separate sports before the athletes came together for a free-for-all jam session with a FMX best trick jump-off closing the show in the evening. For the first time GAS featured a serious competitive element as guest riders joined the show star names with MTB trials, motorcycle trials, BMX and FMX all taking their turn under the spotlight.
There was even an unofficial world record set in the BMX high jump competition where two-time dirt jumping world champ and GAS Ambassador Kye Forte and Oxford’s Lima Eltham both cleared the bar at a staggering 5.85m
The record-breaking BMXers and top-flight freestyle riders including Japan’s Red Bull X-Fighters regular Eigo Sato, Czech former world champion Libor Podmol and 14-year-old German sensation Luc Ackermann all wowed the crowd with their gravity-defying displays. Closer to the ground Dougie Lampkin led Britain’s top motorcycle trials riders while his fellow GAS Ambassador Martyn Ashton and the Animal Bike Tour team demonstrated their MTB trials skills. For many though, the silky skills of Spain’s flatland BMX king Viki Gomez stole the show as he pirouetted across his specially constructed platform.
The stars weren’t just confined to the GAS Arena with top comedian Ross Noble, singer/songwriter Alistair Griffin – who composed the new F1 theme tune Just Drive – and motor racing legend and double F1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi among the celebrities who topped up with GAS at Goodwood.
“I was delighted to welcome the GAS Arena back after last year’s successful debut and it proved to be a big hit with visitors,” said Lord March, founder of the Goodwood Festival of Speed. “For 2012 GAS was even bigger and better and the athletes rose to the occasion to put on some sensational shows despite at times very challenging weather to underline that action sports are a worthy addition to the Festival of Speed.”
For Lampkin, a 12-time world champion and Festival of Speed regular, this year’s shows have laid firm foundations for the GAS Arena at Goodwood. “GAS has been even bigger and better this year,” he says. “We’ve been hampered with the weather a bit which meant the freestylers couldn’t hit the biggest ramp but the high jump for the BMX dirt jumpers was amazing and I’m really pleased to have been involved again here at Goodwood. Onwards and upwards and back again next year.”