Some of the biggest names in the adrenalin-fuelled world of action sports are set to fight it out over four days as GAS returns to the Goodwood Festival of Speed, running this year from June 28 to July 1.
GAS – or Goodwood Action Sports to give it its full title – debuted in 2011 when it was an instant hit with the huge crowds who flock to the world-famous festival. The concept is a simple one – take five different action sports, hand-pick some of the most accomplished riders on the planet and put them together in one purpose-built arena. The result is a spectacle that rivals even the historic hill climb the festival is built around.
The five disciplines mix petrol and pedal-power with jaw-dropping freestyle motocross sharing airspace with BMX dirt jumping while a little closer to terra firma the stars of motorcycle trials, mountain bike trials and BMX flatland demonstrate an almost supernatural sense of balance and inch-perfect precision.
The FMX roll call is lead by legendary Japanese jumper Eigo Sato, a four-time podium finisher in the Red Bull X-Fighters freestyle world tour. Super Swede Fredrik Berggren is also in action alongside Brody Wilson from the USA, Czechs Petr Pilat and Libor ‘Ninja’ Podmol and German Hannes Ackermann and his 14-year-old back flipping brother Luc. British hopes will rest on the shoulders of Jamie Squibb and Dave Wiggins.
For 30-year-old Jamie this will be his second appearance at GAS and the experienced FMX star from Exeter is relishing returning to Goodwood.
“GAS was unbelievably good last year because of the quality of riders across all the disciplines – BMX, FMX, trials, mountain bike trials, everything,” says Jamie. “I was stoked to be riding then and I’m stoked to have been invited back again for this year. Outdoors and on dirt this will be the biggest event of its kind in the country this year – there’s going to be a 120ft gap jump and it’ll be the first time anything like that’s been seen in the UK.”
Jamie’s not only performing, he’s helping to construct the course that includes five huge jumps – each built from around 1,000 tons of dirt trucked in especially for the event. And he’s in good company as sharing the digger-driving duties is a two-time BMX world champion.
Kye Forte won the coveted World Dirt Jump title in 2005 and followed that up with the World BMX Masters title. As well as helping to construct the massive course for GAS and the dirt jump demos that will take place between the BMX races at the London Olympics, Kye will also be taking centre stage at Goodwood as he heads up the BMX riders alongside brother Leo, Matt Priest and Ben Wallace.
“It’s a unique event where BMX gets to be shown at its best alongside other core action sports,” explains the 30-year-old from Newton Abbot in Devon. “I’ve ridden at loads of massive stuff – things like the X-Games – and GAS is definitely pretty rad and right up there with the better ones I’ve been to.”
The motorcycle trials action will star 12-time world champ Dougie Lampkin who back in 2008 became a YouTube sensation attracting almost half-a-million hits when he rode his bike through Goodwood House and onto the roof.
“The biggest thing for me last year was the opportunity to ride with so many top sportspeople at the same time,” says the 36-year-old of his 2011 GAS appearance. “There’s nowhere else in the world you can do that and this year’s going to be even bigger and better.”
Dougie will be joined by fellow Brits James Dabill, Alexz Wigg and Jack Sheppard while their pedal-powered counterparts comprise home-grown heroes Martyn Ashton and Chris Doney and Zimbabwean Blake Samson. BMX flatland will be represented by Spanish sensation and world number one Viki Gomez.
Each day will feature shows at 10.30am and 4pm with a FMX best trick every afternoon at 5.30pm. For the first time there will be a series of daily competitions at 1.15pm starting with MTB trials on Thursday followed by motorcycle trials on Friday, BMX on Saturday and FMX on Sunday. Commentary comes from Christian Stevenson and Tim Warwood who will take care of live presenting duties for BMX at the London Olympics.