It was another early start on the beach of La Franqui, in Leucate as the Rider’s meeting was held at 8am, as the sun was rising and the Tramontana wind already blowing.
The objective for the early morning was to complete the Qualifier League Event. Heat 5 for the Women was first in sequence. It was newcomer Mikaili Sol and Maureen Castelle that dominated the heat by landing powerful S-bend to Blinds, Back to Blinds, and Slims. Maureen showed some outstanding control by landing all of her tricks perfectly. The new young talent Mika, of just 12 years of age, showed talent and skill beyond her years and secured a spot in the next round.
For the second heat of the day, Annelous Lammerts from the Netherlands showed a great comeback after a disappointing first round. She stomped some impressive tricks such as a Blind Judge, 313, and S-bend to Blind. Rita Arnaus from Spain also put on a good performance, which showed her Elite League experience. Julia Castro also from Spain landed a very powerful 313, though it was not enough to get her through to the next round.
After a short pause, Men’s Qualifier Heat 23 was run, to determine who would be the 9th rider to qualify for the Elite League 2017 Tour. This was a huge amount of pressure for all 4 riders, as only one of them would pass. Simon Lamusse from Mauritius played a good solid heat, by landing consistently safe tricks, and finished with a massive Heart Attack that gave him the win. The young rider was ecstatic to have gained this opportunity to be part of the Elite League for this coming season.
Returning to the 3rd Round of the Qualifier Event for the Women, it was an extremely close heat, but it was Annelous Lammerts from the Netherlands who rode with most power and landed a perfect backmobe to steal the win. This means that after a break from freestyle in 2016 she will now be returning to the Elite League with a well-deserved spot for 2017. Joining her will Francesca Bagnoli from Italy, who dominated her heat by riding with a lot of power and speed. Maureen Castelle will also be joining them.
The last female heat of the day was to decide who would take the final position for the females in the Elite League. Therese Taabbel from Denmark showed strength and determination, landing a big S-mobe and taking the win. Mikaili Sol also rode extremely well and took second position, followed by Vera Klabbers and Isabeau Galiart, both from the Netherlands, who struggled to land their tricks in the lighter wind conditions. As Therese was already pre-qualified, and Mikaili is still underage to be able to compete in the Elite League, the entry was given to Vera Klabbers, who was delighted to be able to pass through the Qualifier Event.
The conditions offered in Leucate today were not the typical nuclear winds that we have become accustomed to over the previous years. Instead the wind dropped considerably at times, causing various heats to be postponed.
The much anticipated first Men’s Heat of the Elite League was action-packed right from the start, with all the riders throwing doubles from the very first moment. It was Brazilian rider Set Teixeira who battled his way to first position just ahead of Alex Pastor from Spain. Both of them advanced directly to the 3rd round by landing big KGB 5’s , Slim 7’s and Alex a perfect BS317.
Another Brazilian who put on a powerful display during Heat 2 was Alex Neto, opening his heat with a double heart attack, but it was our 2016 Rookie of the Year, Adeuri Corniel who took the first position by landing an outstanding backside 317 and double heart attack. Both riders will be passing directly through to Round 3.
The wind unfortunately dropped considerably during Heat 3, making it increasingly more difficult for the riders to land their more technical tricks. Stefan Spiessberger from Austria landed a 317 and BS315 giving him the entry directly through to round 3, followed by Spanish rider David Tonijuan.
Heat 4 was a dramatic final for the day. Even with the lighter conditions, the riders were managing to find some gusts and pull off an impressive array of tricks. Our current World Champion Carlos Mario did not disappoint the crowds, gaining the highest score of the day with a Heart Attack 5 scoring 9.07, the highest score of the competition so far, followed by a Slim 7, KGB 5 and Backside 317, and even managed to finish the heat with his hair still dry. Liam pulled off the highest scoring backmobes and front blinds of the event so far, riding with the style and good execution. Both riders pass directly through to the 3rd Round.
Rider’s meeting has been called for 7.30 am, with the first possible start at 8 am.