The Bar Has Truly Been Raised
Audi Nines 2021
Women’s Progression Goes Through the Roof
Debuting their skills on this global stage were nine highly talented women with an incredibly diverse mix of backgrounds and experience, with ages ranging from 14 to 38. This group of riders have truly driven women’s mountain biking to the next level. From day one, they have pushed through individual boundaries and have collectively raised the level to new heights. Rest assured that these women are only just getting started, and the momentum created in these five days will carry far into the future and beyond the realms of Audi Nines.
Rider-voted Ruler of the Week, Robin Goomes (NZL) was absolutely unstoppable. She stepped up to the plate and attacked the vast venue, stomping run after run on the entire course, including the Big Air kicker and the formidable 18m Freeride Line hip.
“These are the biggest jumps I’ve ever hit in my life. I don’t know how to explain the feeling. It still doesn’t feel real to be riding with my idols. I’m so stoked and want to keep coming back for as long I’m able to!” said the 25-year-old.
Audi Nines 2021 presented by Falken has drawn to a close, and the venue has been absolutely shredded to pieces by the riders. From top to bottom, the Quarry has been inundated with non-stop tricks and heavy lines, including phenomenal world’s firsts from Caroline Buchanan, Elias Ruso, Sam Hodgson and Emil Johansson.
The avant-garde of mountain biking gathered in the Hunsrück-Nahe bike region near Birkenfeld, Germany, for a week of constant sessions and progression between 23rd to the 28th of August. The location, a repurposed stone quarry, has once again been completely upgraded beyond recognition to a world-class mountain bike venue and has seen the levels of mountain biking pushed to their limits by a stellar group of riders.
These riders usually face each other in competitive environments, whereas Audi Nines provides a one-of- a-kind creative space to progress their sport. From the moment they stepped into the Quarry, the stoke was high, and riders went straight to business, sessioning the interweaving lines and riding every custom- built obstacle in sight.
The Australian rider Caroline Buchanan has only recently hung up her racing BMX but has made a seamless transition with her debut to mountain biking. Buchanan landed a perfect frontflip on the Jam Line, her first-ever attempted on dirt, and took the win for the Women’s Best Trick category. This ex-racer clearly has a bright future ahead of her in the world of freestyle.
“I’ve had some successes in my BMX and mountain-bike career, riding in the Olympics, winning world- championship titles, but to personally do a trick for yourself and to claim a world’s first, it’s really rewarding. It’s a long way to come from Australia but so worth the trip over. I’m so honoured to be here as one of the first women to take on the Audi Nines venue,” said the 30-year-old Australian.
Stepping over to the Big Air kicker, 22-year-old Sam Hodgson (GBR) executed a flawless backflip superman to tailwhip, which has never been done. Hodgson won the 2020 Become A Nine contest and has gone on to join the highly skilled course building crew for this year, and is clearly still a rising star. This trick was followed up by Austrian young-gun Elias Ruso, landing a world-first frontflip heel-clicker on a downhill mountain bike. It was Elias’ first time riding at Audi Nines, and he’s firmly cemented his place alongside the top riders in the world, including his older brother Daniel.
“Audi Nines is one of the sickest events. I’ve been watching it every year since 2013, and to be here and to land my first ever frontflip heel-clicker is a dream come true. I can’t believe it, to be honest,” said the 22- year-old from Vienna.
Swedish rider Emil Johansson dissected the course with his signature precise style, landing a perfect 360 double downside whip to bar, which has never been done before. He also took the win in the slopestyle category, as voted for by the riders.
“There was so much riding happening all week but not too many full lines on the Slopestyle Line, so I was happy to put down a longer full run. This is my 4th time here, so it’s sort of becoming a ritual to come back and ride with everyone. This year I’ve really enjoyed watching the women progress. It’s been really cool to have them out at Audi Nines for the first time, and it is definitely a game-changer.” commented the 22- year-old Swede.
And that wraps up Audi Nines for 2021 This week has truly been one for the books. Groundbreaking tricks have been landed, preconceptions of what’s possible have been smashed, and the Audi Nines family has grown larger and more inclusive, better representing the sport of mountain biking and continuing to shine as a space for progression on all levels. Event founder Nico Zacek had this to say:
“Every year, I think that it can’t get any better, but the level of riding progresses even further. The women’s debut couldn’t have gone any better. There was so much camaraderie on display between the men and the women. They all help each other on multiple levels. Ultimately, Audi Nines is not about winning. It’s about riding together and progressing the sport. We believe it’s the most progressive week for mountain biking out there.”