Hogtoberfest 2011: longboard slalom video and race report

In October 2011 the last Hog’s Hill event of the year was held. Rob Ashby wrote a great report and Will delivered a great video, but due to production deadlines it didn’t appear in the first issue of Thane magazine. It was too good to lose, so here it is. We’re looking forward to the first Hog’s Hill event of 2012!


Report by Rob Ashby, video by Will Bloomfield

The UKSSA was invited to race at the Hogtoberfest event by Timmy Peters, one of the Southampton University crew, who set the event up as a fun weekend featuring various workshops and downhill races for all skill levels.

At Hogtoberfest we ran both Dual Hybrid and Giant Slalom (GS) formats.

In the Hybrid Qualifying on Saturday our adopted Brazilian cousin Bruno set the early pace with an impressive raw time of 13.51, with just one cone penalty on the 45 cone course. It wasn’t until his Pavel teammate Louis Selby took his run that he was toppled from pole position when Louis shaved a tenth of a second off Bruno’s raw time but he also picked up one cone penalty – it was that close! Pig City (aka Brighton) riders were close behind the Pavel Team riders. Young gun Jack Corpes made a welcome return to Hog Hill and took the 3rd qualifying slot, and the ever popular Gecko Decks rider Mike Allison took 4th.

Once qualifying was over the riders were bracketed by their times; the fastest 16 formed an ‘A’ group and the next 16 a ‘B’ group. Riders race in heats, the slowest being eliminated after each round. The heats start with a round of 16 riders, then 8, then 4, then a 3rd and 4th place ‘Consolation Round’. After this comes the final, which features the fastest two racers.

In the A Group round of 8, Louis went through to the round of 4 easily against Sam Slaven, who, despite taking me out in the round of 16, DQ’d both his runs. Mike Allison went through when he took out fellow Pig City rider Andy Makeham, Bruno despatched OG Southbank Old Boy Chris Charalambous with two style-heavy, clean and fast runs, and in the closest racing of the round Ben Williams took out Jack Corpes by a margin of just 0.02 seconds!

The round of 4 was exceptionally close, with clean-running Louis beating Mike Allison by just 0.14 seconds after Mike had clipped a cone on each of his runs. Bruno’s first run against Ben was incredibly close; despite a faster raw time, Ben paid the price for hitting cones. He wasn’t so lucky on his second run either, and ended up with a DQ. So the final saw team mates Louis and Bruno slug it out for the victory. In the first run there was basically nothing between them; both racers hit one cone, but Louis just edged in front by 0.03 going into the last run. Bruno tried really hard, but although he crossed the line a fraction in front of Louis in the final run, his look back up the hill confirmed his fears as he saw two cones lying in his wake. Louis took 1st place by just 0.11 overall, showing what a difference a cone or two can make! In the consolation round ‘Old Skool’ Mike beat Ben, who was suffering with an unwelcome flare-up of an old ankle injury.

The B Group Hybrid was run on Sunday. The start of the racing was delayed due to a few technical hitches (and me ‘having a stressy’), one of which meant abandoning the laptop used to record times on a custom spreadsheet designed by Seismic CEO Dan Gesmer. I therefore had opted to use the ISSA manual bracketing format and a piece of paper, ‘old school’ stylee!

The 8 riders were soon whittled down, and in the round of 4 Terry St George met newbie Harry Phelps, and Jack Taylor Crush would face another newcomer Lee Tilbury, who was using his street board with loosened off trucks! Harry showed great style and put in really good runs against Terry, who was hitting too many cones and so missed out on a place in the final. The other heat saw the experienced Jack run smooth and clean to book his spot.

In the first run of the final the racing was amazingly close, both riders hitting just one cone each. Jack crossed the line with a raw time 17.47 and Harry with 17.57. In the second run there was nothing between them; both riders running clean and both with the exact same time of 17.57 – incredible racing! Big congratulations to both racers for showing how exciting racing can be, and especially to Harry on a great debut performance.

For the Giant Slalom we switched from the small hill to the longer back hill behind us.

After ensuring everyone had taken few practice runs down the hill I held a brief rider meeting to outline how we would be racing before we got underway. We were using the tried and tested ‘Octane Sport Leader Board’ (based on the Top Gear one) to show where racers were placed in the standings. This also helps promote a bit of friendly competition; riders seeking to better the time of the person above them, which adds a fun element to the racing. The times were all very close, but in the end it was the race-hardened Louis Selby that emerged top of the heap with a time of 21.55, followed by a ‘slightly’ hung-over Bruno on 21.58, and this time around Ben Williams beat Mike Allison to claim the 3rd place podium spot with an impressive time of 21.92.

If any of the above has whetted your appetite then why not give it a go? Set a straight course of 5-foot centres and see how many pushes you can take into it. When you get the hang of it, loosen those trucks and move each cone out by one diameter, then skate the long way round. Or set a “normal” tight course and then place a cone in between each. You’ll soon discover the thrill. For more information visit: http://www.ukslalomskateboarding.org.uk/

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