European Freestyle Championship Brings the Heat in So’Fun Village, France and Docklands, UK!
By: Vaclav Zacek
Photos: Jan Zacek, Tony Simmons
On the third Saturday of May, Round 1 of European Freestyle Championship kicked off the 2015 season at one of it’s home locations, So’Fun Village resort in Paris, France.
Twenty one riders representing five different European countries signed up for Round 1 of the competition. Each rider gets to perform a two minute freestyle routine that is judged by four judges based on: variety of tricks, difficulty of tricks, execution of tricks and number of tricks. European Freestyle Championship offers three different classes: Freestyle 800, Freestyle 900 and Freestyle 1200.
In the Freestyle 800 class, Yamaha Super Jet seems to be the equipment of choice as all riders were competing on it. Third and second position went to new faces of the championship. Bronze was taken by British rider Ben Varey, and silver went to 14 year old Mia Jobson also from UK. The top spot was secured by veteran of this class, 3x European Freestyle Champion Dutch rider Albert Van Heijningen.
Freestyle 900 was packed with great riders as usual. At the third place finish was Jessi Wijdeven from Nederland, riding her new DVX hull powered by Xscream engine. British rider Craig Halloway on his Momentum hull powered also by Xscream motor tied with Dutch freestyler Tim Verheij for the first and second place. Therefore both of them had to perform one more one minute “death match” routine so judges could decide who would be going home as the winner. It was Tim Verheij on his carbon DVX hull powered by Team Xscream who scored a higher number of tricks and stood on that well deserved number 1 spot in Freestyle 900 class.
In the Freestyle 1200 class we saw the return of the French freestyle and freeride legend Romain Stampers. Unfortunately, he broke his handlebars during the qualifier and therefore had to start in round one of European Freestyle Championship from very last position. His factory Force hull powered by Yamaha engine performed great and helped him to secure 3rd place. Last year´s European Freestyle Vice-Champion Belgian Niels Willems on his Dasa powered Rickter XFS Ninja hull took the second place. It was Waterdawg Kustomz factory rider Johnathan Kavanagh from the UK who stole the show in Freestyle 1200 and ended up winning on his factory powered WDK Rok-R hull with the highest score of the day.
TheNext stop of 2015 European Freestyle Championship brought the best competitors from all around the Europe to London, UK for round 2 of the freestyle only tour that separates freestyle on personal watercraft from high speed racing.
Record breaking number of riders entered second round of the Championship despite typical rainy English weather. The competition took place at London´s oldest jet ski club at Tereza Joanne Boat facility in Docklands which is the only venue where Londoners can ride PWCs on the river, Thames.
Freestyle 800 was all about Yamaha Super Jets again. 3rd place went to the only 14-year-old, Mia Jobson from the UK competing on her pink ski. Albert Van Heijningen from the Netherlands and Paul Hewitt from the UK tied for first and second place and had to go out on the water again to perform one minute “death match” routine each. Surprisingly, Paul Hewitt, British freestyle veteran who announced his return to the competition earlier this year, “nicked” first place in Freestyle 800 from Albert with his flawless “death match” run, full of old school freestyle tricks.
In the Freestyle 900 class, the bronze position went to French Franck Chesnay who was competing on a Piranha hull powered by a Yamaha engine. Second and first place went to competitors from the Netherlands Jessi Wijdeven and Tim Verheij who both scored exactly the same number of tricks for their 20 tricks routines. However, as far as the variety, difficulty and execution of the tricks, Jessi scored just a little bit lower than Tim. That was still plenty enough to secure her first silver medal in the Freestyle 900 class on her new DVX powered by Team XScream. First place went to 33-years-old Tim Verheij, who also competing on an XScream powered DVX.
In big boy class of Freestyle 1200, French Pro Freerider Thomas Auzou, competing on his factory Compositech Stratus hull powered by a DASA Racing motor, finished third. Silver went to the always smiling 19 years old Niels Willems from Belgium on his DASA powered Rickter XFS Ninja. British rider Johnathan Kavanagh, riding his factory built Waterdawg Kustomz ski, won Freestyle 1200 class in rainy London and secured his lead in 2015 tour overall standing.
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