The 2024 South African BMX Freestyle Championships took place as part of the Park Lines BMX Tournament on 1 and 2 June. The event, sanctioned by Cycling South Africa and UCI, was presented by LW Mag and Dragon Energy in association with Garmin, Balwin Sport and DJI and saw Murray Loubser and Jenna Byrnes crowned the champions in the Pro Men and Women categories respectively.

The iconic Gold Reef City Theme Park was the backdrop for the tournament. Taking place at the venue for the first time with an event specific park built in the Town Square. The park offered riders a variety of obstacles and line choices to showcase their skills in their bid to impress the judges.

Jenna Byrnes | Photo: Eric Palmer

A total of 50 riders competed in the Amateur and Pro divisions as judges took use-of-park, amplitude, execution, trick variety and difficulty into account when scoring the riders’ runs. The Pro riders not only competed for South African rankings but also their share of the R37 500 prize money and Garmin Instinct Smartwatches. The winner of Amateur devision took home a new Mongoose BMX with the other podium finishers winning Garmin Instinct Smartwatches and prizes from Leatt. A DJI product voucher to the value of R10 000 was up for grabs for the Best Trick award.

Nkosinathi Nkosi | Photo: Eric Palmer

Amateur Division

The biggest division of the day saw eight riders qualify into the finals. The development and growth of the sport was showcased through this division as riders stepped up their riding in comparison to the 2023 Park Lines event.

Fourteen-year-old Patrick Wodrich impressed the judges with his progression and consistent riding, landing his first Backflip in competition and making use of the entire park to slot himself into third place.

Doran Mathewson | Photo: Eric Palmer

First-time Park Lines competitor, Jabsi Louw, made his name known by putting down an impressive run kicking off with a Caveman into the quarter straight into a 360 over the box. A big Backflip Can Can over the big box scored Louw the points to earn second place.

Last year’s third-place finisher, Duan Stapelberg, stepped it up to claim his first Park Lines win. Stapelberg’s run saw him trick most of the obstacles with a solid run that included a 360, Suicide No-Handers over both boxes, a Toboggan and a Tyre Grab over the spine to earn him first place. The win will see Stapelberg advance to the Pro Men category next year.

Malcolm Peters |. Photo: Eric Palmer

Pro Divisions

The only competing female rider in the Pro Women category, Jenna Byrnes, displayed her talent by making use of the whole park while including a Backflip, 360, Barspin, Tuck No-Hander, a No-Footer and Can Can over the big box into her run to be crowned South African Champion yet again. Byrnes is still the only female rider to land a Backflip on a BMX in South Africa.

A competitive field of top riders from all over the country competed in the Pro Men category and with the chance of earning valuable UCI points and official SA ranking by qualifying into the 12 rider final. Unfortunately as the final was about to kick off, the predicted cold front with rain reared its head and put an end to competition. The decision was made to take the scores from the qualifying rounds as the final results.

 

Vincent Leygonie | Photo: Eric Palmer

Nkosinathi Nkosi, known for his stylish riding, was no different as he took to the course with a big 360 Toboggan over the big box, Turndowns and stalls on the quarters to finish in fifth place overall. Doran Mathewson made use of his racing background to speed through the park landing Supermans and Tailwhips over the big box. 360s, Barspins and Flairs were thrown into his run for good measure finishing in fourth place.

Malcolm Peters is a legend of the sport in South Africa and took to the course with a big 360 Tailwhip over the big box, a 360 Barspin over the spine, an Opposite Flair on the quarter amongst other tricks to claim 3rd place. Peters’ Opposite Flair also earned him the DJI Best Trick award.

Murray Loubser | Photo: Eric Palmer

The defending South African champion Vincent Leygonie was on form all weekend long making use of the whole park and riding through it in every direction possible with speed and amplitude. His runs were stacked with big tricks like a 360 going the opposite direction over the box, a Backflip and Double Truckdriver over the big box, a 360 Tuck No-Hander over the spine, a Lookback and 540 on the big quarter and a 360 Tailwhip over the box. His combined score of 83.38 points from both runs saw Leygonie take the second step of the podium.

Cape Town’s Murray Loubser is a podium threat in any competition he competes in. Loubser’s execution and use-of-park was unmatched as he tricked everything possible during his runs. His trick-filled runs included a Opposite 360 Lookback and a Cannonball over the big box, Suicide No-Handers over the box, big Flairs on the quarter, a 360 and off axis Backflip over the spine, a Tailwhip transfer between the boxes, a Barspin to Fakie over the spine, and a G-Turn over the box. Loubser’s score of 85.20 was enough to dethrone Leygonie and be crowned the 2024 South African BMX Freestyle champion.

Duan Stapelberg | Photo: Eric Palmer

It’s been a back-and-forth battle between Leygonie and Loubser in the Pro Men category over the past four years with both riders now having two Park Lines wins under their belts.

Park Lines organiser, Ryan van der Spuy had this to say in conclusion of the event “We are proud to have hosted another incredible Park Lines BMX tournament and at such an amazing venue, bringing the sport of BMX Freestyle to the people enabling them to witness this action packed sport.

Pro Men’s Podium | Photo: Eric Palmer

“With BMX Freestyle an official Olympic sport it is important for us to host events like this, especially a South African championship round where riders are able to earn UCI points that will enable them to qualify for the likes of the World Championships and the Olympic Games.

“Park Lines is an event for the riders and the perfect platform to encourage the progression and growth of the sport locally. A huge thank you goes out to not only our event partners for making this all possible but also the competing riders that put it all on the line over the weekend. We can’t wait for the next instalment.”

Jenna Byrnes | Photo: Eric Palmer

2024 Park Lines Amateur Results:

1st Duan Stapelberg – 58.33 Points

2nd Jabsi Louw – 54.66 Points

3rd Patrick Wodrich – 53.25 Points

4th Chad Randall – 50.83 Points

5th Mathys Putter – 50.33 Points

Pro Men’s top 12 | Photo: Eric Palmer

2024 Park Lines – Pro Results – South African Championships:

Pro Men:

1st Murray Loubser – 85.20 Points

2nd Vincent Leygonie – 83.38 Points

3rd Malcolm Peters – 82.16 Points

4th Doran Mathewson – 65.50 Points

5th Nkosinathi Nkosi – 59.58 Points

6th Dylan Lamb – 56.83 Points

7th Francois Bodenstein – 56.66 Points

8th Morgan O’Kennedy – 53.16 Points

9th Victor Sawkins – 53.08 Points

10th JD Baird – 50.33 Points

11th Damion Fourie – 49.16 Points

12th Mark Pienaar – 47.75 Points

Pro Women:

1st Jenna Byrnes – 46.83 Points

Source: LW Mag

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