What the world is currently experiencing as life upside-down is just regular-normal to Pannonian Challenge. In spite of the global pandemic, but in line with anti-epidemic measures, Pannonian threw yet another unforgettable BMX freestyle competition worthy of the superior Olympic Games. The loyal and irreplaceable Pannonian crowd dutifully substituted their spots at the skatepark stands//bleachers – always in high demand for the BMX spectacle – with at-home armchairs and settees, happily accepting the chance to see their cherished contest on SPTV. The one constant that remained the same is the sheer adrenaline with which the riders shower their beloved supporters.
The skatepark on the left Drava river bank was home to no less than three BMX finals that welcomed 36 riders. Even the amateur category was world-class, in which gold was won by 14-year-old Kristóf Krausz from Hungary, that swept the competition with over 30 point difference, so in the second place was his countryman Varró Áron – who’s only 10 years old. Ranking third was Denis Lalić, rider from Osijek, who defended pride of Croatia with his bronze medal and showed skills that he perfected in this skate park on the left Drava riverbank.
Marin Ranteš, the pillar of the Croatian pro BMX scene, was set to conquer the Tokyo Olympics. Upon returning once again to Osijek, his second home, Ranteš announced a shining result. Aside from celebrating as victor in the Croatian National BMX Freestyle Championship, overtaking second-place Fran Zeman, winner of earlier Challenge Tour in Rijeka, and third-place aforementioned 18-year-old Denis Lalić, Ranteš wrestled the European BMX aristocracy, but in the end he missed the winner’s pedestal and finished 5th. Months of painstaking practice paid off for all, even for some underdogs, but the gold medal in the end went in the hands of Jack Clark from Great Britain, who excelled in the second run and impressed the judges.
– I´ve been coming to this event for five years now and this is the first time I´ve managed to get first place so I´m very very happy. I don´t really know what to say, I´m speechless. Thank you Pannonian and everyone at this event for such an amazing time, it was incredible and I will be back for many more years. Obviously it´s a lot different. I sometimes struggle with a little bit of pressure sometimes you put a little bit too much on yourself and like this it felt more like a session with my friends riding hard – said Jack Clark, the winner od 21. Pannonian Challenge.
Breathing down his neck were second-ranked Istvan Caillet from France, who used Osijek’s skatepark the most, while Daniel Dhers – legend of Pannonian Challenge and whole action sport, finished third. The extravaganza was an instant hit in the social network universe. Undoubtedly rooted on by the entire population of Croatia, Ranteš will have to wait next year to win the Pannonian Challenge.
– It’s not what I expected. The first run was good, except the last 15 seconds after the fall, while in the second run my shoulder popped out. But everything is good and I am happy that I’m not injured. This Pannonian Challenge is different without the crowd, but I am sure that everybody followed the competition online and on their television – said the best Croatian BMX driver, Marin Ranteš.
Following this BMX gala attended virtually by the entire region via live stream and TV broadcast is the spirited scooter competition, the final event to grace Pannonian Challenge. Contestants include names such as Goran Karačić, one of the most prominent scooter riders in Croatia. The Osijek crowd still has not forgotten his last year’s exhibition of this rising sport’s charms. One thing we know for a fact: even in these extreme times, Pannnonian Challenge has managed to put on a premier spectacle, living up to the expectations of both the athletes and the crowd.