Race report by Rob Ashby
Before this years season opener the talk was all about the weather, more so than usual. The forecast was looking decidedly dodgy as the weekend approached. Once again the UKSSA were aided and abetted in organising this extravaganza by Timmy Peters and his DAS Industries Crew running the Longboard and Downhill elements. This year The Crackling welcomed Swedish racers Pelle Gustafsson – Rob’s fellow Kryptonics brand Ambassador, Tezzan Redman, Johan Grundel and Anton Sundling along with Alex Lutz fromGermany. With our usual freestyle organiser Tony Gale taking part in the World Round up in Canada along with Denham Hill and Alex Foster there would be no Freestyle jam taking place this time round and it was missed.
While Timmy and the DAS Crew assisted by Sam were running registration we got going on setting up the Hybrid and soon had practice going. The course was a little tighter than usual but after a few adjustments had been attempted and made we were ready to roll. After welcoming our European cousins and a rapid rider briefing we began the qualifying rounds. As per usual the cut for the A Group was the top 8 and the rest of the field would make up the B Group. Racing the alongside the European riders were four of the OG Southbank LSD crew, Chris Linford, Jim Parry Jones, Chris Charalambous and Dobie Campbell; it was great to see them all racing. Not forgetting that from the same crew was Ed Brockman who was running his “Little Shop of Treasures” in the café and yours truly at the Timekeeping Table. Mac rocked up too, he is getting to be a regular at Hog Hill events nowadays which is always a good thing. With Tony absent on duty Mac was our head Freestyle representative too! On Saturday we were also joined by Pig City’s very own Simon Levine who came up to view proceedings and I think was quite impressed with what he saw?
Qualifying done and bracketing sorted we ran straight into the A group round of 8 despite the menacing, heavy skies. First up and on the ramps were Louis and Paul Taylor Crush. Louis took the first heat with a fast clean run. Paul wasn’t so lucky hitting 7 cones. The second heat saw Alex Lutz race Charalambous. Despite 4 cone penalties Alex took the win just as the drizzle started. A vote was taken among the riders to continue unless the track became unskateable. The third heat, Ben Williams against John Nicholas was declared a re-run as Ben slid on exiting the ramp. The final round of 8 pairing saw old adversaries Sam Gordon and Pelle Gustafsson square up once again. Sam returning after a year break having become a dad. The pair opted to race and Sam took the win. Sadly the rain got harder and a halt was called on the days racing and we were not able to make the most of our 6pm extension kindly offered by the centre.
We all went our respective ways some to the campsite or home others to their hotels. Those that were camping were treated an evening of top tunes by South Circular featuring luge racer and axeman extraordinaire Pete Davies.
The overnight rain that was forecast thankfully failed to materialise, bright sunshine at the track made for a prompt start to proceedings. This was just as well as we still had the majority of the Hybrid to run as well as the Giant Slalom thanks to the rain the previous day. This caused Timmy a few headaches in re-jigging his running order on the other hill due the later running GS and the chicane needing to be closed off to allow for the course run out.
We continued with the A group finals first re-running Ben and John to complete the first rounds. Louis again took the ever determined Paul TC out of the running and Chris booked his place in the round of 4 as Alex DQ’d on cones. Ben hit more cones than John but his superior raw time meant he would go on to race speedy Sam not John. Sam ran fast and clean against Pelle and put an end to his podium dreams; the unfortunate Swede picked up 5 cone penalties and so was duly dispatched. In the first heat of the Round of 4 it was experience versus youth as Louis faced Chris. Over the two heats Louis just edged Chris out into the consolation round; both were very close runs indeed. Despite incredibly close times Ben’s cone count was too great meaning Sam would face his Pavel teammate Louis in the final. In the Consolation Round third place went to Ben who beat Chris by a second over the two runs. In the final Louis took the first run by 0.08 hitting 2 cones to Sam’s one but in the second he hit three leaving Sam, who only clipped one to claim the win by a margin of just 0.13. A truly magnificent win for Sam.
The B group as ever saw some good evenly matched close races; the standard continues to improve across the board. The LSD Crew were holding their own with both Dobie and Jim going through to the round of 8. Chris Linford didn’t race on Sunday choosing instead to set up his new board – another sale for Mr Searle! The round of four saw Paul Coupe race Dobie and the remaining Swedish racer Johan take on Richard “The One” Searle. Cones and a DQ run saw Dobie relegated to the Consolation Round where he would race Johan for third spot. Johan took the first heat by just one cone but a super slick, fast clean run by Dobie saw the returning veteran snatch the bronze medal spot with a margin of just 0.18 seconds. The final was won by Paul as Richard had hit six cones in the first run meaning he went into the final heat with over half a second to make up which was a tall order against the clean running Coupe. The last race was incredibly close and both ran clean. Paul crossed the line victorious in 16.70 and Richard in 16.78.
The GS course had been set while the Hybrid was finishing up and so was ready begin as soon as we had moved a start ramp into place. With time being something of an issue as well as causing a bit of stress for Timmy’s running order we agreed on two practice runs and then two timed runs each, the fastest one counting. Practice runs done and with the “Top Gear” board in the capable hands of Gavin the racing commenced on the fast course. Louis knew he needed to go for it with Ben and Sam close on his heels. As usual the order chopped and changed but the battle for the top spot was looking tight. Ben looked good and ran clean on both runs but could only manage a best time of 24.81, Louis’ best time was his a clean run of 23.95 in his second run he incurred four cone penalties and so the on form Sam snatched the GS crown from the young pretender with his stonkingly quick clean run of 23.77. He was indeed “The Daddy” in every sense of the word at this years Crackling.
After the standard post race banter, a bit of “show ‘n’and tell” and the partaking of various beverages it was time to pack up the slalom road show for another day. Clouds were gathering in the distance so we made sure everything was packed up prior to the prize giving before the rains came (which they did eventually – just as we were pulling out of the centre and onto Forest Road!
See you all back at |Hog Hill for The Razorback Games – 16th/17th July
The BIG Thanks Dept:
Sam Gordon for his top notch work in front of and behind the scenes
Michael Stride and Octane Sport for their unerring support, providing ramps, timing and prizes
Lyn and Richard Case – for ramp storage
Andy Turner for ramp transportation and getting involved in just about everything during set up and breakdown.
Kryptonics – for the awesome wheels!
Richard Searle – for the special awards and presenting The One slalom deck to Paul Borell and the Tee to Anton.
Idle Slide Gloves
All of our other event sponsors
Louis, Chris Linford (among others) for course setting
Gavin Palfrey for timekeeping/Top Gear board work on the GS
Timmy and Louise of DAS Industries for sign up and all things longboardy
Mike John for the awesome photos and for just generally being Mike
Ian Coles, Sylvia, Dave and all of the staff at Redbridge Cycling Centre
L ondon Ambulance Service – Essex Paramedics
Coupe Limousine Service
……And finally a special big “Thank You” to everyone that raced and helped out with set up/break-down – it always makes things easier when everyone mucks-in!
The Crackling 2016 Results
Hybrid A Group
- Sam Gordon
- Louis Selby
- Ben Williams
- Chris Charalambous
- Alex Lutz (GER)
- Pelle Gustafsson (SWE)
- John Nicholas
- Paul Taylor Crush
Hybrid B Group
- Paul Coupe
- Richard Searle
- Dobie Campbell
- Johan Grundel (SWE)
- Anton Sundling (SWE)
- James Parry Jones
- Alec Brown
- Dill Hill
- Chris Linford
- Tezzan Redman (SWE)
- Andy Turner
- Andre Paro
- Trevor Hickey
- Polina Fokicheva
- Alex Thompson
- Cyprien Dumont (Qualified but DNR)
Timekeeper: Rob Ashby
Whiteboard pen work by Sam, Alan Featherstone and Paul TC
(Raw times – cone penalties in brackets)
1. Sam Gordon 23.770
2. Louis Selby 23.950
3. Ben Williams 24.810
4. John Nicholas 25.990
5. Alex Lutz (GER) 25.610 (2)
6. Pelle Gustafsson (SWE) 25.900 (1)
7. Paul Borell 26.380
8. Chris Charalambous 26.450
9. Paul Coupe 26.510
10. Richard Searle 26.540
11. Trevor Hickey 26.590
12. Andy Turner 26.510 (1)
13. Jim Parry Jones 26.820
14. Andrea Paro 26.870
15. Gavin Palfrey 27.000
15. Alex Ireton 27.000
16. Paul Taylor Crush 27.060
17. Anton Sundling (SWE) 26.530 (3)
18. Alec Brown 27.140
19. Chris Rock 27.250
20. Dill Hill 27.280
21. Tezzan Redman (SWE) DQ
Timekeeper: Gavin Palfrey