The second stop in the 2023 Ultimate Freerider Series blew into the brand new Dirt Pipe course on Saturday, September 16. With Hurricane Lee battering the coast, athletes and organizers had their eyes on the skies, hoping for decent weather conditions.
Luckily the rain stayed away, with only a light drizzle first thing in the morning and a few lonely drops throughout the afternoon. Wind, on the other hand, was a different story – it kept up for almost the entire day, with occasional gusts blowing up through the afternoon. Trail Crew kept the course clear of falling leaves, and athletes carefully timed their drops to avoid the heavier winds. Under the protection of the trees, the new Dirt Pipe was christened by a close battle.
Competition kicked off in the morning with the U15 classes. Most had been riding the course all day Friday, but they only had a short practice window before dropping in for their competition runs.
Nine riders dropped in for the Boys U15, and competition was heated. Florida brothers Weston and Camden Lukens both laid claim to the podium, finishing second and third respectively. 14-year-old Ethan Erps is proving this season to be no stranger to the podium, this time taking home the top spot after an impressive run marked by a massive backflip over the moon booter.
Veteran Kira Livernois was the sole representative of the Girls U15 class, and she cruised through the course, skipping only the largest moon booter at the bottom. Feeling comfortable and confident, she decided morning-of to also drop into the Women’s Open later that day.
After a break for lunch and more practice time for the open class athletes, competition resumed with the Women’s Open Class. Local Avery Martinson took the first place spot, kicking off her winning run with a one-footer on the first hip, followed by a bar spin, tire grab, and massive table, and finishing with a foot plant on the quarter pipe. Newcomer Madeline Jurrissen surprised the crowd with a stylish run, marked by a nac-nac and a manual tire tap on the first spine. The 21-year-old athlete staked her claim to second, finishing with a smooth whip off of the final step up.
Tania Lillak and Kira Livernois (fresh off her U15 win) were locked in a tight battle for third. Tania laid down the stronger first run, casing a few of the lower features but throwing in some stylish bar turns at the top of the course and prompting Kira to push a little harder in round two. In the end, Kira was able to put down a smoother, stronger second run–tackling the features she’d skipped in the morning and cleaning up some cases–and take her spot on the podium.
The Men’s Open kicked off with a massive party train, and then all thirteen competitors lined up to take their chance against the winds. The field was stacked with local favorites, including many of Highland’s own: trail builders Connor Worrall and Jamie Cooper-Ellis, lifties Carter Segien, Noah Erps, and Jerrell Webster, mechanic Dustin Iverson, and coaches Kaidan Ingersoll, Christian Arehart, and Andrew Meier.
Hype was especially massive for Dustin Iverson, returning to the field after a major early-season injury. Despite claims of keeping it chill, he showed off his signature old-school style and earned a sixth place finish.
Crowd favorite Jerrell “The People’s Champ” Webster, still just a couple of years into riding big bikes, took home his first podium spot with a close third place finish over Andrew Meier. Jerrell’s third-place run was characterized by his notoriously fearless style and featured a massive front flip.
The fight for the top spot was a heated head-to-head between heavy hitters Christian Arehart and Kaidan Ingersoll. After the first round of competition, Christian had ahold of the first place spot with a run that featured a cashroll off the first spox. Kaidan came out swinging in round two, and managed to scrape his way into first with a massive 260 downwhip off the step-up immediately followed by at 540 on the quarter pipe.
The third and final stop in the Ultimate Freerider Series will take place on Saturday, October 7th on the slopestyle course! Who will be crowned the Ultimate Freerider?
Athlete registration is open. Find more information here.
Current SERIES Standings:
1st – Ethan Erps
2nd – Weston Lukens
3rd – Camden Lukens
1st – Kira Livernois & Lyla McSheffrey
1st – Kaidan Ingersoll
2nd – Christian Arehart
3rd – Andrew Meier
1st – Kira Livernois
2nd – Betsy Orfao, Avery Martinson & Tania Lillak
3rd – Madeline Jurrissen