Off the chain: BMX Champs
Matti Hemmings, organiser of the UK Flatland Championships, on his love of the Kent coastline and why Dreamland’s Roller Disco was perfect for the comp
As the grime was rapping verse, the grinds were shredding nerves at the UK BMX Flatland Championships, which returned to Kent for the third year in a row.
As part of Dreamland’s summer Block Party, which featured UK rap artists Big Narstie, DJ and MC duo Oxide and Neutrino and grime MC Jammz, the bikes were hitting tricks in front of the judges.
But there were no posers or sandbaggers here, you had to know your biffs from your pegs and your tailwhips from your icepicks as both amateurs and pro riders got their chance to bag the £1,000 prize money.
We caught up with pro-rider and event organiser Matti Hemmings to get the lowdown.
Hi Matti, How’s it going? First things first, for those that might not know, what’s your background? How long have you been in BMX?
My background has always been in BMX from a young age. I entered my first professional (Pro) competition at the age of 18. But it was after winning my first ever amateur (AM) contest at the famous Nass Festival; I went Pro the next day.
I've been riding BMX flatland for almost 19 years now and love every minute of it.
So, does that mean you get to jet off round the world?
I'm a sponsored rider and also do lots of events across the UK and in Europe working with big brands such as Sony, Gopro, Jimmy's Iced Coffee and Honor phones to name a few.
So, you are well known in the BMX world!
Well, I’ve done a fair few TV appearance and had a Kids TV show on Nickelodeon called Get Your Skills On.
Nice! Bag to the 2018 UK BMX Flatland Championships, who were the big winners on the day?
The big winners this year were Dom Nekolny from Prague in the Czech Republic in the Pro Class competition and Turi Istvan from Hungary in the Am Class, both riders absolutely smashed the dance floor with some incredible riding.
Wow, Dom Nekolny has won titles all over the world! You also had x-games coSo, how many competed and where were they from this year? We had 19 riders at this championships from all over the world, including Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, Spain, Brazil and, of course, from around the UK.
We know you have held the comp in Kent before, but what was it like being hosted at Dreamland?
It was amazing to be a part of the Block Party event at Dreamland! The staff were all amazing and it's a perfect venue to hold such a showcase for Flatland BMX riders! It's definitely called Dreamland for a reason.
Did you stay down in Margate? Have you been before?
Yes, have stayed in Margate a fair few times over the past few years, both for a bit of a holiday or in some cases for work. I always enjoy being near the coast, so on this occasion was excited to be back here running the BMX competition. All the riders’ feedback about the location and venue has been very positive and would really like to come back again next year.
What is the BMX scene like in Kent in general? Are there many good places to visit?
The BMX scene in Kent isn't too bad though, there are a few flatland riders that live nearby and a fair few places to ride next down to the coast. There could always be more.
So you’re hoping to bring the championships back to Kent again next year?
Yeah, it’s positive the UK Flatland BMX Championships will be back in Kent next year.
Social Media: @mattihemmings / @ukflatandbmxchampionships