South African champions crowned at the Park Lines BMX tournament

The pro riders raced for SA ranks, the R37 500 in prize money and Garmin Instinct Smartwatches.

The Gold Reef City Theme Park was the backdrop for the Park Lines BMX Tournament, held at the venue for the first time with an event-specific park built in the Town Square.

Murray Loubser and Jenna Byrnes won the pro men’s and women’s categories, which Cycling South Africa and UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) sanctioned and presented by LW Mag and Dragon Energy in collaboration with Garmin, Balwin Sport, and DJI.

Doran Mathewson finished fourth in the Pro Men’s division.

The park had several obstacles and line options for the riders to demonstrate their abilities and capture the judges’ attention.

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Fifty riders competed in the amateur and pro divisions, with judges grading their runs based on use-of-park, amplitude, execution, trick variation, and difficulty.

The pro riders raced for SA ranks, the R37 500 in prize money and Garmin Instinct Smartwatches.

The amateur class winner received a new Mongoose BMX, while the remaining podium finishers received Garmin Instinct Smartwatches and Leatt awards. A DJI product certificate worth R10 000 was up for grabs for the best trick prize.

Amateur division

Murray Loubser in action.

Eight riders advanced to the finals in the largest division, showcasing the sport’s evolution compared to the 2023 Park Lines event.

Patrick Wodrich (14) thrilled the judges with his improvement and consistency. He performed his first backflip and used the entire park to finish third.

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Jabsi Louw, a first-time Park Lines participant, established a name for himself with a run that began with a caveman into the quarter and ended with a 360º over the box. Louw earned second place after performing a huge backflip can over the enormous box.

Malcolm Peters photographed during his run.

Duan Stapelberg won his maiden Park Lines race, tricking obstacles with a 360º, suicide no-handers, toboggan, and tyre grab, propelling him to the pro men category next year.

Pro divisions

Jenna Byrnes, SA’s only female BMX rider, won the championship for the second time, showcasing her talent with backflips.

Elite riders from across SA competed in the pro men category, hoping to win UCI points and SA rankings. However, a cold front ended the competition, resulting in the final results.

Jenna Byrnes in first place. She is still the only female rider to land a Backflip on a BMX in South Africa

Nkosinathi Nkosi, noted for his beautiful riding, was no exception when he took to the course with a massive 360º toboggan over the large box, turndowns and stalls on the quarters to finish fifth.

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Doran Mathewson used his racing experience to race through the park, landing Supermans and tailwhips over the large box. He finished fourth after incorporating 360ºs, barspins, and flairs into his run.

SA sports legend Malcolm Peters finished third with a 360º tailwhip, 360º barspin and opposite flair, earning him the DJI best trick award.

Vincent Leygonie, the defending SA champion, was in top form all weekend, using the entire park and riding it in every direction with speed and amplitude.

His runs were jam-packed with major tricks, including a 360º in the other direction over the box, a backflip and double truckdriver over the big box, a 360º tuck no-hander over the spine, a lookback and 540º on the big quarter, and a 360º tailwhip over the box. Leygonie finished second after scoring 83.38 points in both runs.

Vincent Leygonie @ Eric Palmer

Murray Loubser from Cape Town is a podium threat in every competition he enters. His execution and use of the park were unbeatable because he tricked everything during his runs.

His impressive runs included an opposite 360º lookback, cannonball, suicide no-handers, big glairs, 360º and off-axis backflip, tailwhip transfer, barspin to fakie, and G-turn.

Patrick Wodrich, Duan Stapelberg and Jabsi Louw on the amateur podium.

Loubser’s 85.20 score was enough to dethrone Leygonie and title him the 2024 South African BMX Freestyle Champion.

For the previous four years, Leygonie and Loubser have battled it out in the pro men’s division, with both riders now having two Park Lines wins.

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

Duan Stapelberg finished first in the Amateur Men’s division.

“With BMX Freestyle an official Olympic sport, we need to host events like this, especially an SA championship round, where riders can earn UCI points that will enable them to qualify for 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 to our event partners for making this all possible and the competing riders, who put it all on the line over the weekend. We can’t wait for the next instalment.”

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