By Mia.L

Hastings Source Park is the world’s largest indoor skatepark with an inclusive programme of events running throughout the year. The definitive highlight in the park’s calendar is next month’s BMX Battle of Hastings.

PICTURE: Nathan Joseph

The BoH event boasts a 20,000 euro cash prize, with riders (including many from across Europe and beyond) travelling to Hastings in order to take part. Also due to be battling it out are the BoH Wildcard Team, two of whom have been picked from an earlier qualifying event, held at the Source Park on 20th July.

The judges at the July qualifier were a mix of pro BMXers and other well-known individuals involved in the local scene. Extreme sports are inherently subjective, so adjudicators had to assess the performers’ individual technique, style, speed and overall riding ability. I joined the audience, and watched agog as a diverse medley of around 40 riders performed an impressive array of stunts with dynamic precision and balletic grace. Although most were local, some came from the north of England, with one rider even flying over from America to compete.

PICTURE: Nathan Joseph

The atmosphere inside the venue was suitably electric, as spectators showed their support for the performers on show.

At the end of the day South African Greg Illingworth and 19-year-old local talent

Stuart Chisholm were selected to join fellow riders Denim Cox and Shot Higa on the BoH Wildcard team in the main event in September.

It’s no surprise that Stuart, who also competed recently in the Vans BMX Pro Cup Regional Qualifiers in Germany, made it through to this coveted selection. Widely respected within the local scene, he displays a maturity beyond his years, with an admirable determination to further develop his skills as a BMXer on the global stage.

The BMX Battle of Hastings will be contested at the Source Park on 5th-9th September. The park is currently closed for installation of the water feature above – see page 3. It will reopen on Saturday 17th August.

PICTURE: Nathan Joseph

Mia.L conducted a brief Q & A session with Stuart Chisholm following his qualification success.

ML: Could you tell me  about your background and how you got into BMX-ing?
SC: I was born and bred up in Hollington. I was pretty boisterous as a kid, and got into cycling through friends and family. My cousin used to take me out when I was little, and I guess this sparked my interest in bikes. BMX-ing felt like a natural transition!

ML: What’s the geography of Hastings like for you as a BMXer and how does the Source Park relate to this?
SC: Hastings has some really good areas for riding, if you enjoy being creative in the local landscape. The Source Park is known globally amongst the skate/BMX community, it’s really opened up a door for kids in the local area. But sometimes I ride in Rye and Bexhill too – there’s a crew there who do racing, which is a more dynamic style of BMX-ing. There’s a lot for riders in Hastings and the surrounding areas.

ML: Do you have any favourite riders – what influences you as a rider?
SC: I really like travelling…especially with my bike, so I can ride as well! I love meeting new people and exploring new places. One of the best things about the scene is that you can go anywhere and just connect with other riders – there’s no rules, no bullshit! I used to go out and party a lot, but these days I just want to keep my head down, stay focused, and ride. The Source Park has helped make me the person I am today, no exaggeration. Their support – having somewhere to go – has really made a difference. I used to be pretty quiet, but I’m much more open to stuff now.

ML: What are your goals for the future?
SC: I want to get out into the big wide world and make a name for myself! No… ultimately, I just want to keep riding and doing things I enjoy. I’m lucky because my family have always been pretty supportive of the BMX-ing. I just want to stay healthy and happy!

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