This November, four of the UK’s Snow Domes will see the Whitelines Rail Jam come to town. The first leg of the Knockout tour at Tamworth set the bar high, so the pressure was on for Castleford’s XscapeSnoZone to pull out a killer park setup for the 2nd leg.
With sponsors such as iON Action Cameras, Monster, SSX and other organisations, it brought with them some of the best local riders and those from around the UK with many names appearing from the previous week at Tamworth such as Becky Menday, Orla Doolin and Ollie Dutton.
Riders of all ages and abilities attended to hit the slope and showcase their talents as eager-amateurs and semi-pros, making good viewing for the spectators.
There was plenty of action as the night progressed with some fantastic riding, as well as quite a few wipe-outs when tackling the big rail. There were a few car crash moments, which just showed how technically challenging the Wally rail is.
With its original Knockout format, the top eight men and four women were chosen from the Open Jam session in order to compete in the semi-finals. The runs started with two rails, leading up to an options of; a rainbow rail, a Wally bar down-flat-down, or a pipe followed by another rail and a gas pipe at the bottom.
After winning the women’s finals at Tamworth, Becky Menday was the first woman to successfully ride the Wally bar to the end. However, it was Orla Doolin who won the women’s finals with a great technically competent run. When complimented on her winning run, she was very humble in her success saying: “It’s no big deal it just takes a lot of practice.”
During the women’s finals, Doolin stood out from the crowd as the best and only one for 1st place, but the men’s was such a close knit final, that only the judges really knew who’d won. All three riders had such different but unique styles excelling in different areas, with John Weathery taking first place, followed by Tamworth’s winner Ollie Dutton in 2nd and Charlie Clark in 3rd.
Despite all these great riders, there was one person who really shone in a way which was inspiring. Lewis Hopkinson, a seven year old snowboarder, confidently rode the slope and rails like he’d been riding all his life, when in fact he’d been a boarder for only two years. This little star reminded many of a young Jamie Nicholls. Watch out Jamie, you may have competition.