Links set to go urban as major event returns to the borough

Bike Trials riders (left to right) Ian Drummond and Brett Penfold seen showcasing their stunts at Panama Skatepark, Whitley Bay.
Bike Trials riders (left to right) Ian Drummond and Brett Penfold seen showcasing their stunts at Panama Skatepark, Whitley Bay.
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BIKERS and skaters are gearing up for a major urban event in the borough this weekend.

The Urban Games and Hip Hop 2011 event will take place in and around Whitley Bay’s Panama Skatepark, on The Links, on Saturday and Sunday.

And as well as bikers and skaters, there will be free-runners, DJs and more showcasing their talent.

Highlights will include sessions by stunt cyclist and Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist Joe Oakley.

There will also be world record attempts by national stunt cycle team 3Sixty.

On Saturday, stunt biker Brett Penfold will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the highest drop onto a target.

He will be aiming for a drop from a 3.1-metre platform before landing on a target less than four inches wide with his back tyre.

Rider Ian Drummond’s official Guinness World Record challenge will be to complete a 360 vertical drop onto a target from a 2.6 metre platform.

And on Sunday, Joe will be among 15 of the country’s best trial bike riders battling it out to win the title of best all-round rider.

They will perform in a bespoke arena on The Links, negotiating obstacles, ramps and transitions; being judged on their risks, tricks and execution of their moves.

Also on Sunday will be the region’s first ever ‘parkour jam’ – which involves moving over obstacles with speed and agility, and is similar to free running.

Players from the Newcastle Eagles basketball team will also be on hand, offering coaching tips and organising a mini competition.

Throughout the weekend, young amateur skaters, bikers, DJs and dancers can take part in ‘jams’ to win prizes and medals.

And bridging the two days will be a Saturday evening ‘Urban Games Experience’ event at Playhouse Whitley Bay.

The Urban Games and Hip Hop 2011 event, now in its second year, has been organised by community interest company Solar Learning, in partnership with North Tyneside YMCA and North Tyneside Council.

Solar Learning director Michael Evans said: “We are really excited to bring the Urban Games and Hip Hop 2011 event to North Tyneside this year.

“We hope that some of the spectacular events that come with the Urban Games will help make Whitley Bay an even more vibrant and exciting place to visit and make it a weekend to remember.”

Coun Glynis Barrie, North Tyneside Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for culture and tourism, welcomed the event’s return.

She said: “The Panama Skatepark provides an ideal venue for this genuinely exciting event, which will add a whole new dimension to the activities already planned as part of our International Kite Festival.”

Most of the weekend’s spectator events are free of charge.

Tickets are required for the Saturday evening event and are priced at £5 or £6 on the door.