The level of flatland at any pro event is always going to be off the chain… ‘The BMX Masters, 2011’ was no different! And it was at The BMX Masters, that I was to meet (through destiny) Mr Saleki – An avid PRO flatlander. I personally watched all of his runs at the contest and they were nothing short of amazing – Technical, varied with distinct identity. The finals were dramatic for our interviewee – Saleki snaps his cranks clean, mid-run! At this point the crowd thought it was all doom and gloom! But Saleki was not to be swayed by such a hurdle – He grits his teeth, picks up his rig and re-boards the almighty steed… Subsequently Saleki turns what could have been one of the biggest anti-climaxes of the Masters into a multi-faceted GEM! – He executes a diverse run crankless; And does so perfectly; The crowd goes wild – Dreams are made! So without further ado, introducing: Navid Saleki – VS1) Name, age, location?
Navid Saleki, 24, Northern Holland Groningen.
2) How long have you been riding flatland? And what made you start?
I’ve been riding Flatland since 2002; before that I’ve rode two wheels since my fourth. I’ve always been into extreme sports, but I got stuck with flatland after seeing it for the first time on the Extreme Sports Channel (commerical clip). Flatland looked so easy, so I thought I’d like to start riding – But damn was I wrong! It was and still is difficult, but damn addictive! So till this very day, I’m still riding; And most importantantly, still having fun!
3) You recently attended the BMX Masters, in Cologne – How did the experience compare with your expectations?
Even if it was not my first experience of the BMX Masters, my expectation were still high! The BMX Masters is like the birthday of BMX in general, so every birthday is special!
4) Personally, I witnessed a lot of incredible flatland – What was the highlight for yourself?
The highlights for me were meeting old friends – Also, meeting new riders that I had heard of from magazines, or seen in web-edits, but never actually spoken to. These were the best experience and I left The BMX Masters with many nice memories. To see so many high-level riders was amazing, the level that rode in Amateur class was also very high.
5) Can you talk us through your own run?
Well my runs are always hectic, but I guess that’s my style! I always try to prepare myself before competitions, but I notice that I do not like to ride with rules and boundaries, so this means that I mostly freestyle during my run, so here it comes…
It all started two weeks before The BMX Masters, I was tired of my (then) current riding, so I wanted to turn it up a notch and try new tricks that I’d already thought of and they worked! I was doubting if I was going to drop a new web edit or not – This is because nowadays you can see what everyone is doing at this moment by looking online, so I thought, ”lets bring it back, the old style” – Saving you tricks for the competition! So I did.
During practice I had nice feedback from fellow riders about my tricks, which gave me more confidence and a boost to brake loose during my run. One hour before my run I was nervous, I was as calm as a koala bear… Hehe, usually I am all psyched up and fully pumped before my run… So this was wrong, I went to the DJ, asked her to play the most aggressive Dubstep track she had during my run, hoping that it would get me ready and pumped for my run. I was the ninth rider up, so I had some time to plan my run, hehe, better late than never; I wanted to do tricks that no one would do that day… “AND THE NINTH RIDER UP IS, Navid Saleki from Sweden!” – I grabbed my bike and started with any old classic trick from my list, jumping from the pedals to a ‘carlcruser’ pumping one ‘g-turn’ into a brakeless jump to ‘one handed mega spin’. after that I tried three other tricks which all were some of my ”new” ones, but they went sketchy and I made some touches. After my fourth combo I wanted to get more speed, but suddenly my crank spindle snapped, so I could not ride any more… Or so I thought! But then the audience cheered so much, so I went for the last trick – A ‘double peg 360 to mega spin’ and I finished it of by a stylish ‘decade’ and my day was made!!!
The crank was fully refunded by KHE, so shout out to them!!!
6) What else did you enjoy about the masters?
Mainly getting back together with good friends!
7) Do you plan on riding any other European events this summer?
At the moment I’m in Turkey and at the beginning of August I will go back home to Sweden for two weeks and see what’s going on there (I’ll take my bike to ride with the locals at Childstore). But I’m planning to go to ‘King of Southsea’ (king of concrete) and after that I have to check my budget, hehe… I’ll see if there are some nice competitions or jams around.
8) Apart from Flatland, do you ride any other disciplines?
I like board sports, like wakeboarding and snowboarding, but within BMX I like Dirt (until I get really hurt!) and a little street in between – Street helps me to think of new tricks and adjusting power and weight, not the bike which can be very useful for new tricks!
9) Any final words?
I first want to say thanks to vallyside for the interview and welcoming me onboard! And I want to thank everyone that has helped me with small bits and pieces along my Flatland journey! Also, Martti Kuoppa for hitting me up with Jungle Rider. And not forgetting Robin Brown.
And take note – When you imagine a new trick, in a way you have not realised it yet, so you can call it a dream… When you dedicate yourself enough you can make your dreams a reality, thats why I say that dreams come true!
Photo credits: Karol Lasia
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