While most people are either out partying, spending time with family members, or chilling out with friends, we were at Pearl’s Hill City Park with a crowd of about a 1,000 people training our calves and feeding the mosquitoes. This might seem like an absurd idea but really, we were there to catch the Red Bull Dark Knights 2013 that was organised by the European Red Bull.
The Red Bull Dark Knights is Singapore’s only night-time mountain bike downhill race and ever since its debut in 2011, the Red Bull Dark Knights has gained much popularity and its comeback this year at Pearl’s Hill City Park has attracted quite a number of riders from all over the world.
I have to say this, although I have been living in Singapore for the past 25 years, I have never been to Pearl’s Hill City Park and it was my virgin trip there. A look at the National Parks Website reveals that there is a restricted reservoir on top of the hill and if you’re clueless about where Pearl’s Hill City Park is, it is tucked away in the corner of Chinatown. It’s location is rather accessible as there are a couple of buses that serves the area and the nearest MRT Station is Outram Park Station, NOT Chinatown Station [unless you don’t mind walking a longer route].
Pearl’s Hill City Park.
The Restricted Reservoir at Pearl’s Hill City Park.
[I bet not many people know that there’s a reservoir in Chinatown.]
The walk from the carpark to the event ground was really quite a distance and there wasn’t any signages around to guide us.
This was the one and only signage that we spotted on our way to the event ground.
When we arrived at the Race Village, it was bustling with activities, and tentages that sold food, drinks, and bicycle gears were set up.
The rider in the lead gets to sit on this hot seat!
Visitors were also entertained with a special screening of Red Bull Media House’s feature film, “Where the Trail Ends”. The 81 minutes long movie showcased the world’s top freeride mountain bikers search and ride unraveled terrain around the globe, making their expedition the most progressive and ambitious mountain biking ever attempted.
The DJ for the evening was electrifying. The music that he played were heart-pumping and groovy.
When we checked out the profiles of the riders whom were competing in the competition, we were quite surprised to find out that a majority of the competitors were Singaporeans.
Honestly, capturing photographs of the riders were extremely difficult as there was insufficient lighting and the riders were moving really fast. Although we were cleared to use flash photography, we decided against it as we do not want to affect the performance of the riders. Thankfully, we managed to get some good shots as we had access to the restricted zone.
Keeping in the theme of knights and castles, the obstacles were interestingly named arrowhead, slingshot, and the dragon’s back, and each of the obstacles tested the tenacity of all the riders whom participated in the competition. In fact, we witnessed quite a number of riders falling off their bikes but their sheer determination and perseverance pushed them beyond their physical limits to complete the entire course. For that, we salute all the bikers whom took part in the race.
One of the riders completing the dunes obstacle.
The ballista obstacle is definitely a tough one because riders must have a solid control of their bike in order to prevent themselves from veering off-course.
An overview of the slingshot obstacle.
One of the riders completing the slingshot obstacle.
The saddleback and pitchfork were perhaps the hardest obstacles for the riders.
Truly, the obstacle-filled race that is part urban part trail isn’t easy and one must have loads of guts to tackle the challenging obstacles.
Rider Ng Chee Keong sitting on the hot seat for a moment.
The champion for the Red Bull Dark Knights 2013 is none other than 37-year-old Daniel Sprague from Australia. Daniel has been competing in off-road cycling events for 31 years and he has won 2 World Amateur BMX Championships, 7 Australian Championships, and 29 Western Australian Championships across both gravity MTB and BMX. He was also the champion for Red Bull Dark Knights 2011.
In second and third place respectively are Ditra Pranata, a 23-year-old professional biker from Indonesia, and 20-year-old Agung Fambudi.
Ditra Pranata, winning 2nd place at the Red Bull Dark Knights 2013.
Agung Fambudi, winning 3rd place at the Red Bull Dark Knights 2013.
A photo of the top 3 riders at the Red Bull Dark Knights 2013.
Although we didn’t have quite a lot of good shots, we did managed to video down portions of the event and if you’re interested, you can check out the following video.
Truly, the Red Bull Dark Knights 2013 was an eye-opener and the Singaporeans didn’t fare that badly because most of them are in the top 10 positions. In fact, we were quite impressed by a 16-year-old Singaporean rider, Shadiq Putra, whom gotten 7th placing for the race.
Well, although we pretty much fed the thirsty mosquitoes, the action that we caught at Red Bull Dark Knights was definitely way more exciting than watching the Formula 1 Race and we hope that this blog entry will create a greater awareness of the local mountain biking scene. Cheerios~!