Take 16 riders, break them into heats with four riders each, and send them side-by-side down a boardercross course ending in a table where spins are mandatory. The goal is still to get across the finish line first, but since tricks count towards the final score, a rider in third could spin a 720 and potentially knock out a rider in first if he only did a 360. That's boarderstyle, a unique event created by crew at Monster Energy that debuted at The Show last year.
Two things were new this year: the addition of an upper rail section to the 32 gate course (which most riders skipped in favor of keeping speed since it wasn't mandatory) and the appearance of Terje in a race bib.
Terje's been making the rounds in North America this winter, competing at the Dirksen Derby, Red Bull Supernatural, and the Baker Banked Slalom to name a few. According to Instagram, he was in the Whistler area this week, but no one could be sure if he would compete as his name was on the guest list for parties at The Show last year and he never appeared. Dude is kind of elusive in that way, you know, like a sprocking cat.
Before the qualifying time trial window closed however, Terje materialized to take some runs and claim a spot among the top 16 fastest riders including Travis Williams, Joel Loverin, Mark Sollors, Spencer Lundin, Aaron 'Peanut' Johnson, Justin Lamoureux, Will Jackways, Chris Matheson, Scot Brown, Martin Jaureguialzo, Marcus Culver, Rube Goldberg, Nev Lapwood, and Jon Versteeg.
After six heats the field was down to the final four of Travis Williams, Will Jackways, Terje and unknown rider Martin Jaureguralzo. Although Travis had been first in each of his heats so far, Will and Terje came around the final turn together, making contact while fighting for position, only to hit the jump at the same time. Will stomped a backside 540 and Terje threw a backflip but reverted giving Will a slight lead. As the first across the line with a cleanly landed trick, there was no doubt Will won.
"It was crazy to beat Terje," said Will as he cradled his trophy. "He's without a doubt the biggest idol I had growing up. Even now I admire what he's doing. I'm stoked he came out to be a part of the event. To race against him in the final was cool. To beat him was just a bonus."
"I've done boardercross before but here you have to do a trick so there's a little strategy," said an unflappably calm Terje from behind his mirrored Oakleys (what is he thinking, dammit?). "It's a lot more fun."
For Terje, boarderstyle is a step towards revitalizing what boardercross was in the early '90s, with courses that were highly technical.
"I'd like to see boardercross as technical as supercross," he said. "The courses right now look boring and you end up with guys who weight 90 kilos with armor on their shoulders."
Terje sees boarderstyle as a work in progress however.
"This course was still easy and simple," he said. "They're definitely being creative though."
As to why Terje decided to compete?
"I was here," he said.