Possibly the ultimate form of social distancing – welcome to the Audi Nines in 2020.

15 September, 2020

There are few things more invigorating or good for you than a nice bike ride. Getting out into the fresh air, peddling to your heart’s content and taking in the great outdoors make this one of the most popular and healthy pursuits around – even during a global pandemic.

And then there are the Audi Nines, where the invited athletes are not so much sucking in the fresh air as getting plenty of air over the purpose-built mountain bike course.

For the third year, Audi has supported this growing sport with the highly specialised Audi Nines event, a sister event to the Audi Nines which take part on ice and snow.

The Audi Nines MTB event sees the very best riders from around the globe invited to descend on Birkenfeld in Germany to demonstrate their unique freelance skills on a course that is specially designed each year in the Ellweiler quarry to present new challenges and new possibilities for the riders to explore.

This year, the Audi Nines served up another week of next level riding, even eclipsing last year’s action. Changes to the event as a result of coronavirus meant that the thousands of fans who normally occupy every square inch of the quarry site were absent and replaced instead with a series of live sessions hosted on audinines.com throughout the week. Perhaps not the same as being there in person, but the sessions did offer some spectacular camera work and angles that wouldn’t have been open to the public, so it was win win.

Once again, riders pushed themselves to new highs, with tricks never before seen in mountain biking. German rider Nico Scholze pulled off a Cordova Flip, which in plain English is an aerial backflip while suspending the bike by its handlebars with his feet – and then getting back on the bike and landing it. 

Italian Diego Caverzasi landed a Backflip Barspin to Cliffhanger – literally rolling backwards while spinning the bars and then hanging upside down. He did this on a hardtail, which is a mountain bike without rear suspension. And Peter Kaiser managed a Backflip Barspin to Superman Seat Grab – backflip, spin the bars then literally getting your body horizontal while holding onto the bike by its seat.

Needless to say, these are elite athletes with no fear of heights or bodily injury, and their mastery in the air is nothing short of extraordinary. Course designers and builders again gave the 20 riders plenty to work with MTB luminaries Sam Reynolds, Clemens Kaudela and Andi Brewi working with excavation crews to create a new and more challenging course than ever before.

The lack of a ground enabled the designers to expand the course over previous years and the addition of completely new features made for a spectacular week of freestyle MTB action.