Race report by Rob Ashby: Originally hosted on the UKSSA blog
Hogtoberfest Poster – Thank you to all of our generous sponsors.
This years Hogtoberfest was the biggest ever yet both in terms of the number of skaters taking part over the two days and in the number of generous sponsors supporting us.
Hog Hill is a popular race location for our European cousins and this time round we welcomed Victor Martensson and David Berntsson from Sweden and Frenchman Vincent Tanguy who is becoming a regular visitor to our shores these days. After the usual exchange of pleasantries over coffee and bacon sarnies we began setting up. With Sam away I was ably assisted at Race Control by Nigel Allgood who manned the netbook that Andy had lent us to run the spreadsheets on.
It’s all go at Race Control – Louis Selby vs Richard Searle in the Hybrid Round of 8. Photo by Gavin Palfrey
As ever first up was the Hybrid after qualifying we split the riders up; the fastest 8 forming the A Group and the remaining the B. In the A Group round of eight Louis Selby would be racing Richard Searle, Victor would be up against Ben Williams, Vincent would face David Berntsson and Mmedo would race John Nicholas.
Louis was just too quick for Richard even with his wealth of recent European race experience he could generate the speed required to get close to the UK’s No 1. Despite close times Victor advanced to the round of 4 after Ben picked up few cone penalties in his two runs. Vincent was blisteringly fast and accordingly dispatched David who was around a second slower and incurred a number of cone penalties and in the final pairing Mmedo beat John who despite getting faster was just a little off the pace. The round of 4 would see Louis race Victor and Mmedo would face his fellow countryman Vincent. After some intensely close racing it would be Vincent and Louis that would face each other in the final and Mmedo would have to battle it out for third against Victor. Despite some amazingly close runs the three cones Louis hit over the two runs would essentially be the difference and so it was Vincent that took the 1st place in the A Group. In the consolation round the times were again exceptionally close with both riders running clean but Mmedo just managed to edge out in front of Victor and so took third place.
Mmedo vs Vincent in the Hybrid Round of 4. Photo by Andy Turner
Mmedo vs Vincent from another angle. Photo by Patrick Dumont
Vincent vs Louis Final – 1st run. Photo by Patrick Dumont
Vincent vs Louis Final – Run 2 Photo by Patrick Dumont
After the excitement of the A Group Finals we ran straight in to the B Round of 16. Time was now getting on and I wanted to try and finish both Hybrid groups on the Saturday. Unperturbed by his recent board-snap slam at Summer Swine Stomp back in July Dobie Campbell returned to the Hill – this time to race. He was now armed with his recently acquired Pavel Paul Price Roadster which was shod with a set of trusty Lazer Slaloms and Zig Zags. It was a joy to see him pumping through the course in fine style. Again the group produced some fine racing with some great performances notably from newcomers Polina Fokicheva and Scott Hayman – both “graduates” from Louis’ Sunday Slalom School.
Polina getting to grips with the Hybrid Photo by Rooster Josh Szabó
Scott Hayman (white course) vs Alfie Osborne B Group Hybrid Photo by Patrick Dumont
Cyprien Dumont on his way to the B Group Final under moody skies Photo by Andy Turner
The overall standard of racing in the B Group racing was very high and we saw some very close times, although the bottom section of the course was catching a few people out and adding decisive cone penalties to final times. In the final Cyprien Dumont would race Paul Coupe and in the consolation round the new improved aerodynamic Mk II Andy Turner would meet Trevor Baker. The first run of the final saw both riders run clean with Paul crossing the line in 16.12 just behind Cyprien on 15.61. The second run was even closer again both riders running clean this time Paul edged in front with a time of 15.69 to Cyprien’s 15.73. However the first run time had clinched it for Cyprien and so for the second time that day the French claimed another Hybrid 1st. In the consolation round there was yet more neck and neck racing. However Andy’s cone count would be his downfall, 3 cones in each run to Trev’s solitary cone penalty saw him relegated to fourth spot while Trev stepped up to take a well deserved 3rd place.
Andy test driving his lighter frame – his cone count meant he missed out on a podium. At the prize giving ceremony he received a special award of a D-S Street complete for his services to the UKSSA throughout the racing season. Photo by Rooster Josh Szabó
Cyprien (White lane) vs Paul Coupe – B Group Hybrid Final Photo by John Nicholas
We cleared the site in double quick time and headed off to Lambourne End. Things have changed quite a bit since we last camped there; a brand new hut has been built incorporating new showers and toilets in place of the tumbledown hut and insect populated toilets/showers. The campsite is also now accessed via a very narrow sleeper bridge – a long wheelbase Transit is not the best thing to get across it but Andy did a fine job squeezing it through. After pitching our tents Andy, John Nicholas and I headed over to Better Extreme in Barking for the evening session. As is often the case we pretty much had the bowl to ourselves and were joined by Christine Maier and Toria Jaymes for a rad little sesh.
The organiser (and author) gets his skate on at the evening session at Better Extreme, Barking Photo by Andy Turner
John Nicholas, Frontside Air, Better Extreme evening session Photo by Andy Turner
On arrival back at the campsite the spangly shiny new hut was doing a good job of accommodating many a drunken grom. Ben Stainer could be seen trying to keep on top of the mounting detritus busying himself pushing a broom around the mud and booze spattered floor. Seconds later there was a crash and much wailing as someone had accidentally dropped an entire mug of tea right where he was trying to sweep; I decided to leave them to it and headed for the relative quiet and sanity of John’s V-Dub – quiet that was apart from the classic tunes coming from the stereo – The Dead Kennedys, The Clash even The Higsons; “top choons” as I believe the yoof say these days? After a quick cuppa it was time to turn in and leave the groms cultivate their hangovers with various noxious concoctions.
After a chilly start the sun emerged and beamed down on the myriad of squinting hung-over faces hanging out of tents. The hut was now a veritable hive of activity as the clean-up team set to work restoring it to it’s former glory whilst a seemingly never ending line of pale, pasty and in some cases seedy looking skaters queued at the urn for boiling water for life restoring tea, coffee and err….soup!
Good Morning Campers…….Hi Di Hi! Photo by Rob Ashby
We packed our tents up and loaded the van which Andy then managed to manoeuvre back out across the rickety bridge without alarming the trolls underneath and so we headed off for day two. On arrival at Hog Hill the access barrier at the entrance was still down. However for Caterham owners this proved to present no problem to access at all as we observed Michael “limbo” underneath with inches to spare. Pete Davies on the other hand chose to take his VW camper cross country and skirted around the barrier. We just waited patiently for it to be raised.
With the large number of heats to be run on the main hill for other disciplines we were under pressure to get things on the GS hill finished by 1 o’clock so that the chicane that links the two hills could be opened up for the downhill racing. A fairly gusty head wind was blowing as the practice session got underway and it showed little sign of abating when the actual racing began. Times fluctuated with the wind conditions and riders soon began choosing their optimum moment to launch themselves from the ramp in an attempt to shed valuable tenths of a second from their times. Vincent’s first run had been clean and super quick his 21.56 became the time to beat. Louis came close with 22.15 but picked up two cone penalties, each cone penalty added .2 of a second. Mmedo put in 22.66 but like his Pavel teammate he also picked up cone penalties – four in all! Joe Baldwin was really going for it, after his first run he opted for the Lycra suit in an attempt to shave a few seconds off his previous time and it worked – he put in a clean run 22.16. On his final run he pulled out all of the stops and went for broke, swapping his conventional helmet for a streamlined downhill one but ended up putting in a marginally slower time? Try as he might Louis was struggling to run clean and in the end had to settle for his first run time with the two cone penalties making his final time 22.55. So it was then that Vincent added the GS crown to the Hybrid one that he had picked up on Saturday, Joe took second place, Louis 3rd and Victor (22.59) just edged Mmedo (22.63) into 5th place.
Jim “Nutsac” Parry Jones Stylin’ through the GS Photo by Rooster Josh Szabó
Dobie – Style is everything. Photo by Rooster Josh Szabó
Victor Martensson blazing on the Hog Hill Tarmac Photo by Rooster Josh Szabó
Victor’s Teammate David Berntsson getting a taste of the Hog Hill GS course Photo by Rooster Josh Szabó
Is it the Green Goblin? No it’s Lycraman Joe Baldwin – Look out Sam! Photo by Rooster Josh Szabó
Going round the bend – he led with his 1st run time the eventual winner of the Hogtoberfest GS Vincent . Photo by Rooster Josh Szabó
At the prize giving ceremony there were special awards of Cult Wheels to both Polina and Scott for their performances in the weekends competition, Dobie was awarded a set of Road Rider wheels for “Best Beef” at Summer Swine Stomp and a D Street complete was awarded to Andy Turner for “Services to the UKSSA”. He has transported the ramps to Hog Hill throughout the year as well as providing his netbook at short notice to use for the Hybrid timekeeping which save a lot of grief.
As ever a massive thank you goes out to Michael Stride and Octane Sport for their support of all things slalom.
Big Thanks Dept. – DAS Industries – Timmy, Hannah and Louise for all of their hard work both behind the scenes and throughout the weekend, to Andy “Transit” Turner, Nigel “Fingers” Allgood for assistance with timing, Mmedo “Chalk” Duffort and Louis “String” Selby for course setting and Paul “Wires” Coupe for help with the timing system and to all of the usual suspects for mucking in and getting things moving – many hands make light work! Thanks also to all of our uber generous sponsors; everyone at Kryptonics, Half Dead Skateboards – Lee Bryan and UK Rep Stewart Savage, Seismic Skate Systems – for the Race Spreadsheets, Van Dem/Lush/Cult, Shiner & D Street Longboards, Mindless Longboards, One Tree and all of our other brilliant supporters. St John’s Ambulance – London Region for patching people up, Ian Coles and all of the wonderful staff at Redbridge Cycling Centre for continuing to welcome us back, Lambourne End Centre for Outdoor Learning, The Camp Clean Up Squad for doing such a good job on the hut that deposit actually came back this time!, to Lyn and Richard Case for use of the stable for ramp storage and last but by no means least to all of you wonderful people that came and took part – thank you.