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Ben Winder is the long-lost tea boy of Dirt Magazine. He went and read Peter Pan in the Spring and got carried away, he's now searching for Neverland out in the French Alps somewhere - he reckons he's nearly pinned it down. So he's taken his camera and his (now broken) van, and has been writing  his 'DirtBag Diary' (part 1 and part 2) for us ever since. Anyway, this here are his notes from the trailside...

Words and photos: Ben Winder

I think it’s all too easy to forget about the fun side of mountain biking, I know that sounds slightly mental, but so many people take bike riding too seriously, and forget to goof around with your mates pulling skids and wheelies. I’m pretty sure that’s what I signed up for anyway. That's exactly what the ‘BikeMorzine Whip-Off’ was all about earlier this week, I went along to join in with the heckling and snap some photos. I left feeling like I’d been spoken to by a prophet who had revealed a secret, one that I felt I needed to share.

It was supported by a number of the local businesses who helped in the promotion of the event and also offered up some prizes, which included vouchers, wine and t-shirts. The event itself is free - riders just turn up, sign up and throw down some big whips, or anything to try to please the crowds, of which there were large numbers. Loads of people cut their day’s riding slightly short and spent the evening watching the whips.

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The event itself epitomised grassroots competitions, which was amazing anyone could turn up and give it a go, and yet we still saw some riders that are on the World Cup circuit coming along for a bit of fun. It was a unique event in that respect, there was the community spirit of grassroots riding, yet we still saw world class riding that wouldn’t look out of place at the Whip Off at Crankworx (here's our gallery and video from Cranky last year)

As Morzine is such an MTB mecca you have such a variation of riders here, a lot of the time you’ll get pro’s here spending a week or two in-between races, but you also get some of the privateer racers spending more time here, who don’t have the funds to make it to the World Cups out in Canada and the US, so stay around Europe competing in the iXS Cup. These guy’s tend to base themselves around Morzine, and we had a couple of those guys turn up to the Whip Off to let off a little bit of steam.

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It wasn’t just whips we saw we saw a couple of the guys bust out some freeride tricks, including two backflip attempts, one from Tim Bentley who took the top spot in the Whip-Off and also Will Leverton who took the ‘biggest crash’ prize from his backflip attempt, although he got an A for effort on that… first ever attempt to dirt.

After attending this event it made me realise that we need more free events that are supported by the local community. It really hammered home to me why I started riding my bike in the first place. Here in Morzine there are a decent amount of free events happening, BikeMorzine are arranging a different event every Wednesday. It would be amazing to see more of these events all across the globe. Nothing beats a little bit of community spirit and friendly competitiveness.

I do have to give a big love out to Jake Newell, the dude getting the rad moto style on the go on the Mondraker. After the Whip-Off finished, the chair lifts were all closed (or so it appeared) and he gave me a lift on his handlebars all the way from the top of Super Morzine back to the town, Google Maps reckons it was 7kms. Beat walking anyway.

All in all, a cracking evening of whips and great to see so many smiling faces.

Here's the background to Peter Ben's adventures. Rumour has it he's found his Wendy, but we're yet to see whether Captain Hook exists.

DirtBag Diary Part 1

DirtBag Diary Part 2

Check out this sweet video of the event too, we should definitely have more stuff like this going on. Nice one Bike Morzine!