In order to conduct a successful World Tour, having generalized parameters is absolutely vital. Only a universal judging system allows for fair and reliable ranking as well as the possibility of comparing performances. Which is why one of the FMBA's first steps this year was the establishment of judging clinics. Every event is required to have FMBA certified judges -- the number depends on the event's level. Using the guidelines established in the clinics, the judges are looking forward to providing more clarity and professionalism in competition judging.
Just like last year, all FMB World Tour competitions are categorized into four levels: diamond, gold, silver and bronze. The categorization system integrates a multiplicity of different criteria that ascertain the level of each single event. The FMBA reviews the events year by year in order to make sure these can keep the standards of their categories or change to a different level. The higher the competition level the more points are collected by attempting riders for the overall FMB World Tour ranking. This year, each athlete's best five results at the different FMB World Tour competitions and related points count for the overall ranking, so the riders can collect points and improve their ranking all season long. While last year only the four best results counted, athletes will have to show more consistent performance this season to take home the golden trophy.
Naturally, the subject of prize money is of great importance to the riders. Freeride athletes risk their health every time they get on their bikes and it is important to express an appreciation for their willingness to do so. The FMBA has therefore introduced a minimum amount of prize money depending on the level of the event. This way, the sport has a consistent standard and it is ensured that athletes are rewarded for their readiness to take risks.
Big crowds at the Vienna Air King 2011
On site: The FMBA booth