It couldn’t be better than this! Full stands and a skate park filled of life are a sign that the Pannonian Challenge is back to normal, and BMX day, traditionally, is the best proof of that. BMX riders have been jumping on the ramps since the morning and practicing tricks for the audience, while with the BMX Cup of Slovenia and competition in amateur competition, the expected final in the BMX Elite / Pro discipline came as icing on the cake. There, the favorite of the audience in Osijek finally celebrated – Marin Ranteš, with a high 95 points! But all 12 best drivers had a real fight, because Ranteš with a fantastic second run by less than half a point surpassed the second-placed Englishman Kieran Reilly, who delighted the judges with his best trick, a fantastic double flair, and then won the Big air competition with an unreal jump of 4.1 meters and with that jump he also surpassed Jurica Barać, director of the Pannonian Challenge festival, who has held that record so far. The third place was taken by the young Jacob Thiem from the USA, who is at the Osijek festival for the first time. That he would achieve a good result could be sensed already in the qualifications, after which he deservedly held the first place.
But this spectacle on the heated concrete in Osijek, with the thunderous support of the audience that occupied the skate park, rounded off a first-class surprise! After a big celebration at the award ceremony, BMX day, and thus the sports part of the 22nd Pannonian Challenge, ended with the performance of Debeli predcjednik, a band from Osijek that has been following the once small and underground, and today world-famous extreme sports festival. The big party was then transferred to Tvrđa, where it lasted until the morning in the Stara pekara with top DJs – Jogarde, Sly and Pips.
Riders from 10 countries and an unforgettable show
From the experienced veteran Alessandro Barber from Italy, who pulled out only the best tricks from his arsenal in Osijek, to 15-year-old Kristof Krausz, who delighted the audience with his courage – all drivers from the new Olympic discipline did their best, using the entire skate park, but mostly the part in front of the crowded west stand. Drivers from Colombia, Argentina, Germany, the United Kingdom, Slovakia, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Latvia and Slovenia completed this spectacle, in which there was room only for one on the throne , the one and only Marin Ranteš, who showed a strong desire, both in the competition for the best trick, where after one failed attempt he fell on his hand, fortunately without major consequences. The award was presented to him by Nataša Tramišak, Minister of Regional Development and European Union Funds, who, along with the Mayor of the City of Osijek, Ivan Radić, was stunned by the hot atmosphere at the 22nd Pannonian Challenge. Colleagues on the throne bowed to him, and a hug with Reilly marked the whole celebration.
A humble winner and amateurs like the pros
– It is always the intention to win, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, now I finally succeeded and I am happy about that. I don’t look at others, I look at myself more, so I’m actually the biggest competition to myself, because I want to do everything I planned, this time there was that fall, but sometimes you need to fall. I am extremely glad that the audience returned to the stands, because it gives us more strength and motivation to be even better and without it it would not be the same”, said the modest champion Marin Ranteš, whose mother is always his biggest support, and 720 tail whip favorite trick, which he perfected over the years, so the atmosphere exploded in the BMX final because of it.
The judges also had a hard time in the BMX Amateur discipline, where even the Mosquitoes took a break and waited to see the tense finale. There, 27 riders aspired to win the first place, but again the Hungarians showed all the splendor and discovered why they are investing more and more in this discipline. Janos Babel celebrated, and while behind him was a very young compatriot Aron Varro, who is only 11 years old, the third place was earned by Maksim Getoš – Osijek’s new hope of extreme sports, which thus announced great results. As part of that final, the BMX Cup of Slovenia was held, where the first place was taken by the excellent Matej Žan, the second by Jaka Remec, and the third by Matic Pečar. Among the girls, the best was Kim Lea Mueller from Germany.
With a huge party in the Stara pekara, there was no lack of fun, and the 22nd Pannonian Challenge was thus successfully brought to an end, after daily bursts of adrenaline that once again showed the audience all the charms of urban culture and extreme sports.