Red Bull Nigeria is hosting two BMX riders as part of their consumer engagement in the month of June,2014. 360nobs spoke to Viki Gomez and Camilo Gutierrez about the uniqueness of their sport, their experience so far in Nigeria and their newfound love for Nigerian food.
Jorge “Viki” Gomez is a Spanish BMX competitor and BMX demonstration performer who has won countless prestigious Awards and BMX Competitions, such as the official World Championship Title in 2010, twice the European X-Games Gold Medal and the record holder of winning the most legendary BMX Flatland competition, the Red Bull Circle of Balance three times, these are to name a few amongst the many other international and legendary titles, as well as been nominated the “Number One Flatlander in the World” 2013 and “Rider of the Year” 2013. Viki was the very first BMX Flatland Rider in the world to be part of the Red Bull Athlete sponsorship, already in 2003.
The multitasker, Viki, also runs his own BMX demonstration concepts, such as the famous “Flamenco Flatland” and the “The Streets My Kingdom”, together with his own BMX Bicycle design “Orbea RUDE” and his fellow team riders under his own management, GGM Sports Image Management, that he runs with his partner/girlfriend Alexandra Gobran. Viki has clearly without a doubt earned himself the title of one of the greatest Flatland BMXers ever.
Viki’s method of facing flatland is almost philosophical. For him it is not just aerobatics on a bicycle. Viki defines his sport as “a fight between mind, gravity and physics combined with movement inertia. A way of surpassing the limits of your imagination”.
Viki is by far the best flatlander in Spain and today in title the best in the world (World Champion 2010). He has won the Europeean X Games Championship twice, the Asia Championship twice in Japan, the Red Bull Circle of Balance a couple of times, The Red Bull Flamenco Flatland 2011 and he has been collecting titles since he started competing in this sport at 19 years old. Viki´s style of originality rewards him throughout his career. This is his motivation in a sport like BMX Flatland!
Viki´s inspiration and motivation comes from all the world-wide experiences he has been offered in the past decade. He has been invited to travel to more then 45 countries, to perform in many exotic places in the world, from Asia to America and the beautiful Middle-East.
He is one of the chosen few in the world who live Flatland in a professional way, although in Spain it is starting to become a popular sport. Due to Viki´s professionalism in promoting the sport and sponsors by keeping the kids away from bad things and staying lazy. He is a bigger idol in other countries, like Japan, where kids ask for autographs and hang his posters on their bedroom walls. Nowadays, he combines competitions and exhibitions all over the world with work as a businessman designing bikes for big international bicycle companies focussing on the development of special parts and bikes for flatland and other disciplines of BMX riding. Today, Viki has his own brand of frames and handle-bars under the name of ”FENIX Bikes” made in L.A.
Although he could keep on winning competitions without too many problems, Viki doesn’t want to get bogged down. For Viki, Flatland is a lifestyle not only a competition. Although, he keeps on winning! He is developing a brand new and innovative riding style, much more technical, with new tricks that involve not grasping the saddle, kick flips and many more. He is ready to make the sport bigger each day with originality.
NORA Cup Awards 2013 “Number One Rider” “Number One Flatlander” 2013 (Worldwide Awards) USA, World Champion 2010 Japan, 3 Times Red Bull Circle of Balance Champion (2002, 2007 and 2012) Japan and Germany, 3 Times King of Ground Champion, Japan, 2 Times European X-Games Champion Barcelona, Spain, etc.
Official Sponsors: – Red Bull Energy Drink, – Orbea RUDE BMX Bicycles (Design by Viki Gomez), – G-shock (Casio, Global Athlete Team), – FREEGUN, – MOTO Pedals, – Arnette, – Tenga (New Adult Toy Concept, Japan), – ARES Bikes (BMX bike components) (see “Friends & Sponsors” (Right Column))
“Reach the youth market through influential and international action sports stars, by bridging the gap between brands and athletes.” – Alexandra Gobran, Founder of GGM, “We do what we love, We love what we do”
Viki’s talents and work has been acquired by prestigious sports awards, such as the “Laureus Sports Awards” 2011 in Abu Dhabi. As a professional BMX Athlete, Viki is able to travel across the globe for professional international competitions and live appearances, with over 12 years experience as a professional competitive rider, with countless gold medals and awards, and as a performer.
Other riders under the management are Nigerian-spanish Courage Adams, Spanish Alberto Moya, Dutch Dez Maarsen, Spanish Varo Hernandez, Luxembourg-born Bijan Kessler and Peter Recking, Ecuador-spanish Byron “Seko” Vela ,
360: What’s the sport about?
VG: BMX flatland is a sport that’s all about making tricks with a bicycle on the flat ground which is pretty much free styling as you can do whatever you want with the bike, either with the front wheel or back wheel or whatever position that comes to the mind. Its very related to art because its all about flexibility and originality. Our purpose is to give message of hope and freedom to people to understand that we have a passion for which is to ride BMX Flatland and you can have our job with a passion. This is what we came all the way to say with the spirit of Red bull.
360: IS this your first time in Nigeria?
VG: No it’s my second time in Nigeria. I came to Nigeria four years ago.
360: Why bring the sport to Nigeria?
VG: Well Red Bull of course wants to promote the brand and the marketing but Red Bull is not only an energy drink, if you know much about Red Bull you’d know its much more than just the drink and they want to promote through us as an example which is BMX, because we represent what is the spirit of Red Bull which is Freedom, being yourself, having energy and having creative skills.
360: The risks in the sport…
VG: Its not very risqué because its done on the flat ground so we kind of dance with our bikes. You can fall and harm yourself but it’s not the kind of injury that puts you into the hospital. It just leaves you more or less with minor bruises.
360: This is the first time this kind of event would take place in Nigeria…
VG: Yes its great because the response and reactions of the people is huge because they’ve never seen anything like this before. We are excited about the response we have gotten so far of fans anticipating this and our goal is to make people happy and motivated to believe in their hobbies and passions and realize that one day it can become a job like ours.
360: How long have you been riding?
VG: I’ve been riding for 18 years but 14 years professionally.
360: Are there others involved in the sport?
VG: BMX Flatland is big worldwide especially in Japan as the country is porous with more riders now. But it’s growing more worldwide like in South America and in Africa as well. Like in South Africa we saw some guys but the sport is very artistic which makes it difficult for people to stick to it and become somebody but when it comes to BMX and our community is growing.
360: Is there a governing body for the sport that determines rules and regulations?
VG: As soon as you get a bike you’re free to do whatever you want so there are no rules but we have our own competition regulation, which is the World BMX Flatland and then we have like five stocks all over the world and then there are different rules for every competition- sometimes you have three minutes, then music and then you have to show whatever you have to do and you have to show originality, frequency and viability.
360: Is this a male dominated sport?
VG: Yeah there are female bikers but it comes with the society where girls aren’t scared to show what they can do. In Europe there are some, in America as well but Japan has more of the female bikers, because it’s the most advanced society when compared with the rest of the world. It’s a sophisticated sport so it comes along together with a sophisticated society. That’s why this sport is practiced more in high societies.
360: Do you need to go through lessons to master the sport?
VG: Well the most important thing is to get a proper BMX bike, which is proper BMX and then you can do different disciplines and if you want to do flatland you can Google some tips like the pressure in our tyres must be the right pressure required for the tyre or else you wont be able to spin because there wont be air or
360: Do you and Camilo Travel All the time for events, seeing as you’re both here for this?
VG: No we’ve known each other for seven years now but he’s not only a rider but a professional photographer as well.
BMX Freestyle Professional Rider, Camilo Gutierrez, a native of Peru but a resident of Germany for 5 years, is known for his unique style and competitive prowess. He has been involved in the sport for more than 15 years. Since 2003, he competes and performs at International championships and Events, visiting more than 25 countries. He later delved into photography full time having studied Photography at the Kodak Americas Academy and the Centro de la Imagen Institute in Lima, from which he graduated with the thesis: “Appropriation of Urban space through the BMX Freestyle”. Camilo has been active in the scene the last years, helping to develop the sport and also producing several videos and pictures about it. He has been invited to several competitions, Shows and Tours. World class events like German Championship: Flow Combo, representing the city of Berlin and Flamenco Flatland representing Latin America in Spain.
Camilo Gutierrez: My name is Camilo Gutierrez and though I’m from Peru i have been living in Germany for about 6 years now and I’m also a professional photographer, that’s what I do. I film and take shots of mainly the BMX sports.
360: So basically you’re into all forms of the sport. Do you cover your stunts yourself?
CG: As of the sport most of the time, I work with my partner and we cover different kinds of contests and competitions and also shows and performances on tour videos. We travel a lot and we produce videos, sometimes for personal use but most of the time I take shots of the riders like Viki. When we travel, and we find a good location, we take shots and it gets featured in magazines.
360: Is this your first time in Nigeria?
CG: Yes this is my first time in Nigeria and in Africa.
360: How long have you been here for?
360: Have you had any Nigerian Food?
CG: I was downtown at the mainland yesterday and I was impressed because I grew up in Peru and its also a third world country so as expected the traffic jam and people who don’t respect the rules and regulations unlike Germany where you must follow all the rules because everything is clean and organized. My tour guide got me some local food, sadly, I can’t remember the name but it was nice.
360: Are there BMX riders in Germany?
CG: There are maybe about 250-2000. Europe is a continent where you can move around easy so a lot of shows and competitions are done here.
360: How long are you in Nigeria for?
CG: We are in Nigeria till Monday the 16th with shows lined up for each day with about three or four shows per day at clubs and other locations. We would be shooting videos and taking pictures as well for the tour of our impressions of Nigeria.
360: Next stop after Nigeria?
VG: We would be going to Norway then Barcelona after that and then Madrid.
Photo credit: Courtesy Riders