Going down at the famed Source BMX Park in Hastings, England, United Kingdom, the annual 2016 Battle of Hastings competition marked a major highlight along the course of the 2016 professional BMX season. Source Park is kind of a dream facility in terms of being a place where even the most extreme BMX athletes competing at the most advanced levels can feel right at home, and challenged by the park features instead of constrained by them. This is to say that among the designs and overall layout of Source Park in Hastings, England, there are several massive vert features that allow the competing riders to get levels of air and transition speed that simply would not be possible within a smaller scale park layout.
The vert sections were a primary focus of the BMX professional who were competing together at the 2016 Battle of Hastings competition, and embedded in the flow of the park was a 20+ foot tall vertical wall connected to an incoming quarterpipe. Riders tended to utilize this mega vert wall at the competition in a variety of ways, but the most daring of the pack were actually able to plant stalls of various kinds on the upper coping of the wall. This was one of the coolest spectacles to take place at this year’s Battle of Hastings contest, in part due to the intense risk of hanging a solid twenty feet from the flat section and one false move could end up in an extreme wipeout situation.
Another prevalent focus of the competitors involved in the 2016 Battle of Hastings event was on the pyramid rail section of the park. This was where riders were executing most of the technical grinds and trick-to-grind combinations of the contest, and coincidentally this was also where many of the contest’s worst falls happened to take place. So many highlights came out of the Battle of Hastings in 2016, and unfortunately for some of the riders not all of them were very pretty in the sense that this competition saw some very intense falls at times.
This is likely due in part to the extreme nature of the park design, and also for the fact that the riders were basically going all out at this event with many of them trying lines several times and falling multiple times before landing their intended combo. The sheer speed and inertia generated from the massive vert layout of Source Park for the 2016 Battle of Hastings competition is a prime factor in the intensity of the event, and a main reason that BMX fans love this contest so much. To benefit all the BMX fans out there who weren’t able to catch the 2016 Battle of Hastings BMX competition, an overall summary and the contest results will be covered here.
1st Place – Isaac Lesser:
Bringing in the first place victory at the 2016 Battle of Hastings event at Source Park in England, Isaac Lesser was able to show everyone how its done in a spectacular fashion. Isaac seemed to really thrive on the large scale park design and layout of Hastings, England’s Source Park, and used the intensity of the park design to his advantage by executing some extreme tricks and combinations. He was able to navigate the often intimidating transition flow of Source Park with a relative ease that not every rider possesses, and almost make it look easy.
His timing over the various drops and angle transitions at Source Park helped him to not only build but compound his speed through the course of the many line attempts he went after during the course of the competition. Isaac Lesser is actually one of the more creative BMX riders among the entire competitive field at the 2016 Battle of Hastings event, and he can often be found riding remote and obscure street locations that nobody else would be riding when he isn’t in a competition. He currently rides for the Mankind BMX Pro Team, and his first place victory at the Hastings competition has served to boost his already successful career even more.
2nd Place – Jack Mould:
Landing the second place runner up podium position at the 2016 Battle of Hastings was BMX professional Jack Mould. Delivering a stunning performance, Jack Mould was able to execute many of the strongest tricks in his entire repertoire at Source Park in Hastings, England. One of his major strengths throughout the competition involved his ability to execute and land huge combos involving launching from a higher position, such as from one of the multiple high ledges throughout the Source Park layout, onto one of the angled ramp rails built into the park. This seemed to be his signature combo, as he attempted and landed it multiple times in varying setups.
Although he ended up crashing mildly and having to bail on some attempts at the ledge-to-rail combination design, he was also able to land a few of them and get major points for those combinations. It is truly spectacular to watch a competitor like Jack Mould as he drops down massive gaps to hit a rail target; few trick combinations require so much raw courage and guts, because when this kind of line goes bad, it goes bad in a major way. That combo was definitely a perfect example of the definition of risk vs. reward in the sport of BMX, where the risk is high, but the reward of landing the combo can earn you enough points to potentially win, or at least finish on the podium.
For a BMX professional that is only eighteen years old currently, Jack Mould is developing some remarkable momentum into his career progression at this stage. To be finishing in second place at an event as high profile and prestigious as the 2016 Battle of Hastings competition at only eighteen makes us in the extreme sports world believe that Jack is likely to become a major force to be reckoned with in professional BMX competitions to come. Jack Mould is truly an all-around BMX rider in terms of his style, and there really aren’t very many areas of his game that are at all weak or under-developed. His podium finish at the 2016 Battle of Hastings is yet one more reason to respect the tremendous ability of this young BMX pro, and yet one more reason to keep a close eye on him in future competitions.
3rd Place – Tom Milham:
Sealing the deal for third place at the 2016 Battle of Hastings BMX competition, and rounding out the podium ranked leaders was rider Tom Milham. Tom performed quite well at the Battle of Hastings event at Source Park in England, although to be fair Tom Milham is not as well-rounded a rider as someone like Jack Mould. Where Tom Milham lacks in all-around skill sets, he makes up for it in terms of his intense vert riding abilities, and his extremely fluid transition style. When riding and competing in parks that are as massive and intense as the Hastings, England Source Park is in terms of the scale of vert features, having a fluid transition style can really set a rider up for some massive tricks. One perfect example of Tom Milham going absolutely huge during this competition at Source Park was his ability to consistently plant and land wall stalls on the roughly twenty foot tall vert wall that was built into the center of the park flow.
Milham has the ability to reach the top of the vert wall, press a plant on the vertical part of the wall, and pop himself out of the stall with a 180 degree revert back into the vert ramp. Watching Tom Milham execute these massive vert wall plants was one of the coolest parts of the whole 2016 Battle of Hastings event, and definitely had a significant role to play in his third place podium finish at this competition. Tom Milham is currently riding on the UK’s prestigious Alone BMX professional team, and continues to actively compete heading into the 2017 season. Given how well he was able to perform during the 2016 Battle of Hastings contest at Source Park, many of us in the BMX world are extremely excited to see where Tom Milham takes his career and his unique riding style in 2017.
4th Place – Tom “Hobbit” Wilson:
Bringing up fourth place at the 2016 Battle of Hastings event was professional BMX athlete Tom “Hobbit” Wilson. Wilson was not able to perform well enough to make the podium at the Hastings competition, but in any event a fourth place finish is a promising result for a contest as tough as the Battle of Hastings. They don’t call it a battle for nothing, and in this respect Tom Wilson was definitely firing on all cylinders at this contest.
Tom is another BMX athlete who seeks to round out his skill sets, and makes a point of incorporating vert riding and tricks, as well as more street or technically oriented riding into his heat performances. Tom Wilson has a range of sponsorships, with his biggest and most significant sponsorship coming from Monster Energy. Monster sponsors some of the best BMX riders in the world, so Tom Wilson is definitely in good company in that regard.
Fitting a lot of tail whip combos and spinning airs into his heats and runs, watching Tom Wilson ride can be especially enjoyable sometimes for BMX fans that love viewing complex, quick, and ambitious technical trick combinations. Tom Wilson may not have made the podium at the 2016 Battle of Hastings, but if he is able to keep riding as well as he is while making some improvements here and there, he should be able to move up into podium rankings within future competitions. One thing is for sure, Tom “Hobbit” Wilson has got a very promising 2017 professional BMX season on the horizon if his 2016 Battle of Hastings performance is any indication.