LUXBMX Boys at Battle of Hastings 2023
On the 14 October 1066, the French army, led by William The Bastard continued their conquest over England, ultimately the peak of their subjugation over our favourite pale, dull imperialists over in the mother land. With over 50% of the combined forces meeting their demise, including King Harold Godwinson, the conflict lasted all day and is now considered a milestone moment in the history of England and even the world, in which William (the duke of Normandy) became the ruling authority of England. Ultimately a conflict based in a tension of succession, it resulted in a profound change to the political, social and administrative structure of England.
The modern battleground, the underground, beachfront 'Source Park'. Photo taken from The Argus
The historical battleground and a real photo from the actual Battle Of Hastings. Photo taken from Google Arts & Culture
Alright, so what's with the history lesson?
Well, the battle occurred in a place called East Sussex (or otherwise 'Battle'), which was just north of the present day town called Hastings. Sound familiar? A battle in Hastings, the Battle of Hastings! Thankfully, the English and the French are now buddies and we can all hang out, talk smack, yell at each other, drink some beers and ride bikes. And that is precisely what will go down at the 2023 Battle of Hastings, held at the Source Park over the weekend of the 8-10 September 2023.
Before we move on, I'll just note that the English were again defeated by the Norman's in 1081, suck on that poms.
Commencing as an event back in 2015, the competition has enough strength to have lasted through the COVID years and now exists as the pinnacle event in the BMX calendar. This year will be the biggest yet, featuring a rail and high air jam down on the beachfront, a park session and best trick jam and then leading into park finals on the Sunday with a closing celebration based around the Number One Rider Awards (NORA). Even as I type these words on the other side of the world, 12 days out from the event, I tingle with excitement for how much fun the competition will be.
The stadium like setup makes for an insane atmosphere as the unhinged crowd attempts to crumble the place. Photo taken from Ride UK
The event is also unique in that it is a pro-invite model, based around 8 x hand picked team captains which then go on to choose 3 x riders. For 2023, little ol' LUXBMX will have serious representation with both Boyd Hilder and Josh Dove named as team captains. To add to the cavalry, central QLD assassin and LUXBMX pro Jake Norris has found himself a spot on Boyd's team, alongside Jason Watts and Murray Loubser. Dovey's team is rounded out by Lewis Mills, Tom Justice and a biker by the name of Garrett Reynolds. Holy guacamole.
Dove man, super stretched no foot can across the hip. Photo supplied by JD
Boyd, waaaaay up there for the lens of Jeff Z.
In anticipation of the event, I wanted to get in touch with the boys to find out a little more about their plans for the weekend, what's going on around the event and how they feel approaching such a big moment. To do so, I sparked up a group chat and got a couple conversations turning.
Boyd Hilder (BH) - Sup Vocko, it's mahd all the boys are going but does suck Dovey won't be able to win again, poor little fella! (Note - Dovey's team won park and high hop in 2022, and Boyd is facetiously remarking that this will not happen again with the force of his elite team denying young Dove man any success).
Mike Vockenson (MV) - You got underground Rocky assassin Norris. You reckon any of the overseas crew know of Norris?
BH - Yeah a few of the boys know of him, this event is so rad! Feels more like a BMX BBQ than a contest with everyone getting together, chatting shit and enjoying it.
MV - Any particular responsibilties as a Captain? Looks proper rowdy, no one taking it too seriously, it's definitely getting a reputation as one of the years highlights in terms of a freestyle competition. What's the plan around the event?
BH - Nah mate, nothing too crazy to do as a captain. Everyone stays together in the hotel across the street, Source covers that. Pretty sick just seeing everyone at breaky. Norris and I are going to go to London for a week after the event, film what we can.
Josh Dove (JD) - Yooo, what's up dudes! Battle of Hastings aye, best event there is. I'm actually on my way to London at the moment and then heading to France and Italy before BOH for a week with my girlfriend.
BH - Livin' large bird man.
Jake Norris (JN) - Yo! I'm going to head to Glasgow after London for a week I think, check the place out, hang with the BSD boys and film too. Keen as for BOH.
MV - Lucky boys, you guys will have the time of your life. So good that everyone stays in the same hotel, brings back memories of the 2020 Slay The Rail jam, bunch of people stayed in cheap accommodtion just up the street, including a bunch of us QLDers, damn it was the best. Interesting that the hotel is down with it year after year, not burnt yet! And with NORA cup, what an atmosphere it must be.
MV - Also, stoked for you Norris and for getting to meet the BSD crew, so important to have that physical connection.
BH - Yeah mate, couple of the rooms turn into a rave at night, then you go for breaky in the morning and you could sit down with Van Homan or Doyle, pretty skitz.
MV - That's proper skitz. How are you going to balance beers and bikes?
BH - I learnt my lesson real good when I broke my jaw there, so I'm pretty good at drawing the line now.
MV - A broken jaw will have that effect, flag that. What's the plan with the Mrs, Dove man?
JD - Yeah mate, just a lot of tourist things, leaving my bike in the UK with a mate and will then pick it up on the 3rd before going to Hastings a couple days early. I love Hastings!
MV - What's so good about Hastings? Norris - what are you hyped on?
JD - The town is old and pretty cool to walk around sight seeing, then the Source park being underground on the waterfront adds to the overall experience. The vibe at the BOH is insane! Definitely looking forward to the event.
JN - Hey man, yeah firs time riding with the BSD crew. Have spent some time riding with Alex D in the past but he's the only bloke from BSD that I've met apart from Liam Zingbergs. I'm real hyped for the whole event! Crazy that I'll get to be around a lot of people that I've looked up to since I was a kid.
Success for team Dove in 2022. What a line up. Gimme some of that cash ya mongrels. Photo supplied by JD
The boys are on in 2023! What a time to be alive, the little Aussie battler coming to town to do battle with the imperialist forces of the European and British conquerors.
Tune in after the event for a recap of the madness, in which we sing the praises of the inevitable domination of a wee couple of blue collar lads from the land of the Queen. Up 'em!
The Source have commendably arranged a live stream for each of the 5 x events over on Youtube, noting that the local time in Hastings is 9 hours behind the Australian eastern standard time. Meaning you would need to be jumping in at 1am to catch a 4pm start.
For a sniff of what's in store, take a look at some of the highlights from last years shenanigans.