Where do I even begin!?
Some of the crew after the jam
For those unaware, the Flemington Banks are a stretch of drains that run alongside the Moonee Ponds Creek drainage system in Melbourne. Over the years the drains have become a meeting ground for artists, skateboarders, the homeless, daily exercises, and of course BMX riders. Over time the banks have also had a tonne of D.I.Y additions including rails, ledges, quarter pipes and other random concrete transitions. Needless to say, countless hours of passion have been poured into this place. Running under the city link toll road, these drains have become an iconic part of Melbourne culture for so many to enjoy in their own unique way.
Jam starting to warm up
Hosted by local shops and Focalpoint BMX, the Flem Banks jam was started in 2006 and ran up until 2015. After a small hiatus between 2015-2018, the jam came back in 2019. After COVID ran a muck, the jam was again off for 2020 and 2021. You can imagine how psyched we were hearing the jam was coming back in 2022. As a kid the Flem banks Jam always made me wonder what it would be like to ride these famous drains and see in person what I’d seen in all the videos.
The most stoked dude of the day + a wooden eski!
When the crew at LUX heard the rumours of the jam returning in 2022, we knew it was something we not only wanted to support, but something the crew had to be there for. I mean with D-street and Jimmah at the helm of the build team? No way I was missing this one! It didn’t take too much convincing for Mitch and Troy to get keen, and before we knew it Norris was on board and we were all set. There’s nothing more exciting than knowing you have a full weekend of BMX at an iconic spot, and to say falling asleep the night before was easy would be a lie.
Few familiar faces floating around
Come Thursday morning, I woke up feeling like a kid on Christmas! We got over to the Brisbane airport super keen to get down there and get into the weekend, but not before a few misunderstandings about oversized baggage from the lovely people at an unnamed airline. The flight was delayed, but that didn’t dampen the spirits, the vibes were way too high!
We arrived in Melbourne and were greeted by D-street with a huge grin. After some catching up and a bite to eat we met with Jimmah and Mick Bayzand and headed to the banks to help dig the dirt kicker that went on to be the star of the show! When we arrived the sense of toey-ness started to rise as I was starting to understand the amplitude of what the boys had planned for the day. They went hard, to say the least. We got stuck into the jump and before too long we had a pretty good looking take off, roughly 5 feet tall and intended to be a hip or straight jump. We stashed the shovels, picks, and watering cans and headed home for some dinner and a few catchup beers with the dudes.
Harrison and Whittey prepping the jump.
When we awoke on Friday morning the Melbourne rain gods had blessed us with their presence and the ground was soaked. Unable to ride for a while, we decided to head to the famous Prahran skate park to do some sightseeing while the rain continued to fall. A quick lap on Chapel street and we headed back to the Riverslide park as the sun had started to come out. After watching Norris land tricks effortlessly while the rest of us struggled, Bayzand arrived and we headed into the streets to ride some spots around the Southbank/Docklands area. Led by Jimmah (the king of Melbourne) we tried to keep up as we got the express tour of some iconic Melbourne spots. During that morning we got to witness Jake Norris handle a good looking 360 that was filmed for Troys new movie “tear da club up” (out this April, more on that soon). After a few hours of riding, we met up with LUXBMX’s very own Boyd Hilder, who had been heading down the east coast for the jam a week prior to our arrival. Jacman Hinns, Lewis Mills, Jordan Smyth and Ben Norris were also on the trip, so we spent well into the early evening cruising from spot to spot filming stuff and just enjoying the good weather. A real highlight that afternoon was watching Lewis and Jake film some mind-melting clips, handling everything with conviction and a sense of aggressiveness (If you’ve seen them ride you will know what i’m talking about!). After the sun had sunk into the surrounding skyline and dinner and some pool at the local pub, we called it a day and headed back for a good night’s sleep for the jam in the morning.
The high seat boys.
The next morning I rose pretty early knowing what was in front of me, so after a coffee at the Airbnb, I headed down the triple set of stairs to our cobblestone alleyway that was our front yard for the weekend. It was a 10 minute pedal to D-street and Jimmahs place passing the famous Richmond 13 stair that Jake had put his stamp on the day before. I got to the boys place who had already loaded up one of the cars and were starting on the next. We piled on all sorts of pre-made bits and pieces for the jam all ready to be assembled before a 1 pm for kickoff. When we arrived at the banks, the jump hadn’t quite dried out from the rain the day before, but Harrison had no problems getting a fire lit on the take-off to help. After a few hours of fire, a couple of boards got screwed into the ground and the jump was ready for take-off. Mitch, D-Street, and I assembled the spine, while everyone else was busy building curve wallrides, a 9 meter down ledge, a number of rails and ledges and the iconic quarter pipe. The gap to rail was a real favorite of mine and put on an epic display of BMX radness!
Morning of the jam build.
The clock hit 1pm and there was a good show of new and old crews from previous years, heaps of familiar faces and guys that had traveled to be there which was sick to see. I won’t go through everything that happened as it would take all day, but what went down was captured for the video of the jam, you can watch that right now HERE.
Jimmah and Dylan had $1500 in cash to hand out for the day so the level of riding was damn insane, people really went above and beyond on their bikes for a chance to grab some money.I will give a few highlights from each of the events throughout the day.
The Curve Wallride
The idea of a curve wall is pretty simple, how-ever the art of getting around a curve wall can be a whole other thing. A 180-degree turnaround out of a bank and returning back to said bank was erected and the fellas started taking laps. After already claiming a few bodies (namely Boyd and Lewis prior to the jam) The crowd was revved up and ready to scream! A highlight for me here was watching Pete Mayer wallride around the wall and pop out over the end of it back to flat on the other side. After a few slams, he handled it and won the cash!
Next up was a plethora of flat rails, up and down ledges, wavy ledges and up ledges with mod wood. This is always a popular time at a jam as a flat rail is far less intimidating than a 1-meter high curved wall. There was plenty of stand-out riding that went on in the street section, however, the highlight for me was watching young Samual Grace 180 backflip out of a 2-foot high in-n-out. It was my first time meeting Sam and he didn’t stop impressing the boys all day!
The Quarter Pipe
If you have ever been to or seen a Flem banks jam before, you would have noticed that a popular attraction was a quarter pipe built on the top of a bank. This year was no different as Jimmah and D-street paid homage to the iconic quarter, this thing had like a foot of vert! All the dudes went off on the quarter! Some used it as a take-off to go left into the bank, some put their pegs to work on the top and some just sent it. One rider decided that airs and stalls weren’t enough and gifted us all with one hell of a hurricane! (Think a 540 tap on the coping with little time on the back wheel). Pete walked away with some cash and the gap to rail was up next!
Gap to Rail
When we arrived in the morning Jimmah had mentioned he wanted a gap to rail over the water. Knowing how Jimmah rides I knew this was going to be a sick obstacle to keep an eye on. When the gates opened the stream of BMX riders started to flow down the bank and over the gap. I’ll leave what happened for you to see in the video but I will say that Jacman gave us a tyre ride to double bar, among many other crazy tricks!
The Dirt Jump
It was around 6pm when the final obstacle of the day was called on to ride. The dirt jump that had been built 2 days prior was still a little soggy, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the boys that were lining up to shred. The maidan lap happened and then it was on! The meter-wide lander made from timber was the perfect addition to the jump and fit the aesthetic of the jam well. Heaps of bum slides but no broken bones, a highlight here was watching Samual Grace 270 downside whip from the take-off into the bank.
After all the riding was over, there was only one thing left to do, announce the ‘maddest riddah of the day. Originally this was a $500 prize for one rider, however, after all the madness that went down, Jimmah and D-street thought it was only right that both Sam and Pete were named the Maddest riddah’s of the day. The boys both cleaned up with few greenbacks and the Jam was done.
Now the riding was done it was time for all involved to go and enjoy a few hard-earned coconut margaritas and talk about all the craziness from the day. I personally want to give a massive thanks to Jimmah, D-Street, all of their crew and all the brands that made this all possible. Without these people and brands we wouldn’t have jams and events like this, so thank you!
These two dudes!
To wrap it all up, the Flemington banks jam was a massive success. A huge thank you to everyone that was there riding, helping build, supporting, yelling and having a good time! It’s the people that show up to these events that make them so epic. Without the 100’s of people screaming and shouting to see a trick landed, the atmosphere just wouldn’t be the same.
Huge congratulations to Pete Mayer and Samual Grace for taking home the best riders of the day, both of you dudes killed it and put on a real show for everyone there.
Finally, thanks to all the sponsors that supported the Jam, and LUXBMX for making it an epic first Flem banks jam for me!
There is a full video live on the youtube channel right now! So if you weren’t able to make it you won’t miss out on the Mayhem!