Battle of Hastings - Photo Journal 2023
From the beach to the basement of Source Park
Words & photos: Wes McGrath
The town of Hastings, England was first historically mentioned dating all the way back to the 8th Century. The tribe known to have first settled near the sea were called the 'Haestingas' people, taken over by the Romans, the land and existing port was exploited for the minerals found used to create iron for the Roman Empire. After the Vikings came and went and the last Sussex King of England was defeated by the French Army in the year 1066 at the Battle of Hastings, the town has now earned its description as a sleepy little beach town by the sea with a population of about 93,000 people.
Fast forward about 957 years and The Battle of Hastings has a whole new meaning. For the past 7 years, the Source Park has taken it upon themselves to host, some would say, the best contest in BMX right now. Each September, SourceBMX brings riders from all over the world to the tiny town in Southern England (which was of course first brought to the attention of the BMX world with the first Backyard Jam in 1991), to compete in a contest that truly is a battle down to the last fight. Using a variation of the tried and tested team format, a collection of some of the worlds' best BMX talent is divided into multiple teams of four, and their honorable team captains strategically choose who goes into each separate battles throughout the weekend. After the rail jam and high air contest on the beach Friday afternoon, the park qualifications on Saturday inside Source park, the final 4 final teams gather on Sunday for the last battle to settle the score.
Team Captain's Josh Dove, Sergio Layos, Boyd Hilder Jordan O'Kane and Dan Lacey are all veterans to this war-field, so with this stacked list of riders comprised into one Army, you know this grassy-knoll is going to breed bloodshed! The 2023 B.O.H week was certainly an epic tale for the books and we were on site to bring you in closer to all the action brought to you by this massive list of soldiers... Garrett Reynolds, Lewis Mills, Tom Justice, Kevin Peraza, Courage Adams, Alex Donnachie, Reid Casey, Murray Loubser, Jake Norris, Jason Wattz, Sam Jones, Jordan Godwin, Tom Russell, Devon Smilie, Chase Hawk, Dan Paley, Stuart Chisholm, Gaspar Guendulain, Alex Hiam , Nathan Williams, Dan Foley, Alex Kennedy, Ben Wallace and Antonio Smallwood.
The Rail Jam
The beach was crawling with eager eyes and fresh beers as the crowd gathered around the massive temporary handrail built on the rocky shoreline, just outside the boardwalk doors of Source park. The top notch street elite went head to head for a 30 minute non-stop rail session to officially kickoff a weekend of BMX that is the Battle of Hastings! Nathan, Garrett, ALVX, Jake, Jordan, Kilian, Devon and Foley all went at this rail with the speed, precision and technical burliness to make the hundreds of ecstatic fans scream for more the entire time! BMX was certainly in fine display that day.
The fact that Nathan did this smoother 'switch' than he did it regular proves why he's here for the Battle!
Kilian Roth took the jam to an insane new level when he landed this ridiculously clean manual 180 down the rail!
Garrett Reynolds just making sure to throw the bars In-n-Out of the rail, he must really miss California food?!
The rail jam comes to a close after a jaw-dropping 30 minutes of savagery presented by some of the most notable street riders in the industry... After the street session ended the High Air contest was moments away. But first the rail must be removed to clear the runway for the high speed riders about to use this stair set as a real launch and landing pad. During that time, Matthias Dandois kept the crowd hyped up with his flatland magic; taking center stage Matthias pulls off a new move for the crowd as the High Air runway opens up.
THE HIGH AIR CONTEST
Well, if you haven't heard the name Josh Dove before BOH this year, you most-certainly know now... at least I hope you do! Josh came to Hastings ready for this high-air contest like no one else, setting the tone for the boost button right away. Riding along side him in battle are his mates Jason, Chase, Ben, Sergio, O'Kane and Stuart... As the sunset behind the clouds and the clock wound down, the crowd was at its peek and so were the riders! Airing 10 feet out of a 10ft quarter pipe with multiple trick variations the boys didn't disappoint.
You can't get much more bad ass than this!
"Ben Wallace did that flair 3 times!? What a savage!"
Park & Finals
It all comes down to this... The park finals take place inside the basement of Source park. An underground indoor skatepark of epic proportions rests just under the boardwalk of Hastings, transformed from an old swimming pool into what you're about to see below. The last day of this battle amounts to the rumble of the crowd as they kick and scream and bang against the side railings of the mezzanine surrounding the entire park.
The teams are assembled and the riders know what insanity is about to take over the course, each year the level of ability rises and new ideas, tricks and winners emerge. Some of the most experienced B.O.H. veterans have their work cut out for them this year as a new generation of bike rider is coming into the arena like never before!
The final session of the 2023 Battle of Hastings is about to begin...
Chase Hawk has effortless flow inside Source, this invert from below into the tip top of the vert wall showcases his precision.
Best Trick Winners
The real Sam Jones & Jordan Godwin. Team Jordan O'Kane.
TEAM - Dovey 1st place
Josh Dovey knows how to pick a winning team that's for sure! Garrett Reynolds, Tom Justice and Lewis Mills stacked up their points all weekend with a total score of 304,000! Regardless of the numbers, it was clear that team Captain Josh Dove was on a mission this year and he was set on taking his team with him, once again! Nothing but greatness out of this special group of riders.
2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 5th place...
Sergio Layos takes home second place with his teammates, Kevin Peraza, Courage Adams and Alex Donnachie. Team Boyd Hilder comes in with third place, featuring Reid Casey, Jason Wattz, Jake Norris and Murray Loubser. Fourth place goes to Team Jordan O'kane, the team sharing the spoils with him are the likes of Jordan Godwin, Tom Russell and the real Sam Jones. Closing out the winners circle is Team Dan Lacey with Chase Hawk, Dan Paley and Devon Smillie.
Source BMX is an official DIG partner.
The Battle of Hastings is sponsored by these official DIG partners: Monster Energy, Vans BMX, BSD Forever, Cinema BMX, GT BMX, Mankind, KINK BMX, Odyssesy BMX, Profile Racing, Shadow riding gear and WeThePeople.