The last Hog Hill race of the season Hogtoberfest took place back in October. Unfortunately unlike previous years it didn’t look as though we were going to be as lucky with the weather. On arrival the track was wet and would take a while to dry out before any slalom could take place.
Hogtoberfest saw the return of our French slalom cousin Vincent Tanguy to the hill and he was joined by Patrick Allan who was making his maiden visit. Mmedo (dubbed “Mmexit” for the weekend) also made the trip over to join his Pavel Teammates Louis and Sam in the competition.
Dual Hybrid Slalom Course. Photo by Rob Ashby
While the course was drying we began setting up and getting the dual Hybrid course marked up ensuring that we could get underway without delay as soon as conditions allowed.
Eventually we were ready to roll and got practice and qualifying underway. I took a few runs but it was clear that my ankle wasn’t going to play ball so I sat out and concentrated on timekeeping duties. Once qualifying times were safely in the bag we bracketed the racers; the fastest 8 forming the A Group and the remaining the B. Just to mix things up a bit we started with the B group first since there were a few more of them to get through. The standard of racing was exceptionally high and provided some quality close racing. There were a few byes in the round of 16 so we got through that fairly rapidly.
Race Control, Rob Ashby seated on the right assisted by Mmedo on the whiteboard
Photo by Sam Gordon
It was good to see Kim Jungreuthmayer giving the hybrid a good go on his new “The One” set up – a step up in terms of technology from his Hobieflex Slalom. He was drawn against Andy Turner and was despatched to the sidelines after his round of 16 heats. He’ll be out for revenge next year with that set up well and truly dialled in so watch out folks! Returning PigCityskater Dom Barette went out to the ever improving Dill Hill and after DQ’ing in his second run Alec Brown joined Kim and Dom on the sidelines going out to Andrea “Beer Monster” Paro. So through into the round of 8 were Veteran LSD racer Dobie Campbell, Trevor Hickey, Paul Borrell, DreadCity’s John Nicholas, Richard “The One” Searle, Andrea, Andy and Dill.
Dobie’s fast and fluid style saw Andrea eliminated next. The heats were very close between Trevor and Paul but the latter’s cone count was to be his undoing. The first run between Richard and Dill ended in a dead heat with both riders crossing the line in 16.86 but it was Richards 2 cones to Dill’s 4 that gave him the edge going into the second run. Richard pulled out all the stops and ran clean thus eliminating Dill who was still “running in” his new Octane/Pavel set up and hitting cones in the process. Close racing was to be the order of the day in the B group and in the first heat between John Nicholas and Andy, John crossed the line in 16.82 picking up 1 cone penalty and Andy managed 16.72 but hit 2 cones meaning tied times with penalties added. John hit 2 cones on his second run but his faster run (16.25) was enough to see him advance despite Andy’s 16.47 clean run time.
Dobie, Speed and Style is Everything.
Photo by Sam Gordon
So the stage was set for a great round of 4 with Dobie facing Trevor and John racing Richard. Trevor (16.30) just edged across the line ahead of Dobie (16.34). Trevor’s 1 cone penalty to Dobie’s 4 meant he went into the second run with a 0.34 advantage. Dobie was having none of it and put in a blistering second run. Both riders hit a cone but with his time of 15.80 Dobie relegated Trevor (16.30) to the consolation round, the margin just 0.16. In the other heats John (15.95) showed he meant business and crossed the line ahead of Richard (16.28) who had hit two cones leaving himself an uphill struggle in the next run. John again put in another sub 16 second run (15.92) incurring just 1 cone penalty whereas the best Richard could manage was 16.36 also with 1 cone so he joined Trev in the Consolation Round.
This year’s Hogtoberfest Hybrid saw what was probably the best B Group racing we had seen all year. Talk about saving the best until last!
In The Final it was a case of new technology versus old, John running Don’t Trip trucks, Dobie on 70’s Lazer Slaloms. Both riders got great starts off the ramps, anticipating the “beep” brilliantly. They were neck and neck at the midway point John was just slightly ahead of Dobie at the finish, crossing the line in 15.74 to Dobie’s 15.86. John hit 2 cones, Dobie just 1 – meaning they were separated by a margin of just 0.02. Lightening fast reactions again saw both racers launch themselves well from the ramps and again they couldn’t be separated. With both riders hitting 2 cones each, Dobie’s time of 15.54 and John’s time of 15.56 meant after two runs the racers were tied meaning that for the first time ever in a Hog Hill Final we needed to hold a run off! Both veteran racers again climbed the ramps and focused as the red lights on the timer lit up. As soon as lights turned green and the beep sounded they catapulted themselves down the hill. This time John just crossed the line ahead of Dobie in 15.55. But John’s 3 cone penalties were to be his undoing. Dobie’s time of 15.64 with just 1 cone meant that he had snatched the top podium spot with a margin a just 0.09.
Lazers and Southbank 1 – Don’t Trip andDreadCity0…….to be continued methinks?
The Consolation Round provided yet more high calibre racing. Richard called on his wealth of recent European race experience to get well and truly “in the zone”. He put in a great smooth, fast and clean first run finishing in 16.30 to Trevor’s 16.36 with 1 cone penalty. Both riders ran clean in their final run but Richard (16.14) had done enough, pipping Trev (16.26) to the line and so nabbing the 3rd podium spot.
Now that the B Group had shown how it was done it was time for the A Group to show their metal. The round of 8 comprised Vincent Tanguy (FR) vs. Paul Coupe, Patrick Allan (FR) vs. Sam Gordon, Louis Selby vs. Paul Taylor Crush and Mmedo Duffort vs. Chris Charalambous.
Patrick Allan on his Hog Hill debut.
Photo by Sam Gordon
Vincent was running incredibly fast and although Paul was doing his level best he was sent packing by the Frenchman, the margin 2.82 seconds. For the first time in quite sometime Sam failed to make it into the round of 4 joining Paul “on the bench”. Sam (14.77 & 15.06) crossed the line ahead of Patrick (14.99 & 15.09) in both heats but his normal fast and clean runs failed to materialise picking up 4 cone penalties on each of his heats. Louis was looking good and had been running clean in practice. His first run against Paul TC was no exception leaving Paul to make up a deficit of a second and a half going into the second run after he had hit cones and picked up 4 penalties. Their second run saw Louis hit 2 cones to Paul’s 3 but the damage had already been done and so it was theUKnumber 1 that advanced.
In what has now come to be a bit of a friendly grudge match Mmedo took the first heat against LSD Southbank skater Chris. Did Mmedo psyche him out? Chris just froze on the ramp, failing to start after the “beep” leaving himself an almost impossible task in his second run. His only hope was that Mmedo would DQ, but it was not to be. They were neck and neck through the first half of the course but Mmedo accelerated through the last section finishing in 14.81 clean. Chris managing 15.32 but picking up 3 penalties.
The round of 4 would see the two Frenchmen, Vincent and Patrick face one another and Pavel teammates Louis and Mmedo would once again have to slug it out. Vincent got the better start in the first heat and beat Patrick, who had hit cones, finishing by a margin of 0.79. Vincent put in the fastest run of the day on his second run crossing the line in 13.68 with just 1 cone. Patrick ran clean and finished in 14.29. The sky was darkening as Louis and Mmedo prepared themselves on the ramps, we were now racing the rapidly approaching rain too! Once again we saw two super fast racers in perfect synchronisation with each other as they powered through the course. Louis ran clean again, finishing in 14.36, Mmedo in 14.58 with a cone penalty. A couple of drops of rain had been felt at the top of the hill and the riders where asked if they wanted to take their second run or wait? They opted to go for it. Louis got the better start but Mmedo was still up with him and managed to close right up. Louis (13.91) had run clean again and although Mmedo was right behind him (14.12) he had clipped 4 cones. Perhaps the rain in the air may have played on Mmedo’s mind or he may have just been unfortunate? Either way it was Louis that would race Vincent in the final. Sadly the rain came down very heavily and so prevented us from completing the A Group on Saturday. The forecast wasn’t looking particularly good for Sunday either.
Sunday began grey and overcast but it looked promising when a bit sun broke through and a light breeze started to dry the track but a couple of light showers further hampered our start. Mmedo and Louis were setting the GS nonetheless. We only had to run the A Group Hybrid Consolation Round and Final which would take 10 minutes but unusually the track was very slow to dry. The GS hill was drying well and allowed for a few practice runs and those that had gone down found the course really “nice and pumpy”, it sounded like a good course.
Vincent Vs. Louis – Ready to rock.
Photo by Dobie Campbell
Eventually the Hybrid hill was dry enough to race on so we went for finishing the racing from Saturday and we would run straight into the GS afterwards. Perhaps Patrick had been put off by the Sunday weather forecast and he failed to show up. Under the rules of racing he was entered as a “Did Not Race” (DNR) and so Mmedo picked up the 3rd place automatically. So it was thenBritain vs.France to fight it out for the top spot in the A Group. Both riders wished each other well and took their places on the ramps. In the first run Louis got a great start but Vincent was hot on his heels in no time but he was clipping cones and Louis was running clean. Vincent went over the line in 14.15 but had 3 cone penalties. Louis’ clean run time of 14.22 gave him the upper hand with a 0.23 advantage. The second run was again very close but Vincent had the edge, he clipped a cone but pumped hard in the last section of the course and crossed the line in 13.93. Louis finished in 14.47 but it was not enough and the victory went to The One’s sponsored pro Vincent.
Over the line. Louis on the right Vs. Vincent
Photo by Dobie Campbell
The timing had all been tested on the GS hill and we were just getting the ramp set up when the heavens opened, it poured down and we all ran for cover where we could; many of us squeezing into the back of the van cursing the “effing rain”. Sadly with time against us we had to cancel the GS in favour of drinking tea and coffee in the café. Oh well that’s all part of the joys of racing in the UK in October eh?
A Group Hybrid Podium. L-R Vincent Tanguy, Mmedo Duffort, Louis Selby
Photo by Dobie Campbell
B Group Hybrid Podium. L-R Richard Searle, John Nicholas, Dobie Campbell
Photo Courtesy of J Patten Photography
At the prize giving ceremony there were special awards for Trevor Hickey who produced the best bit of show ‘n’ tell we have seen at Hog Hill in a long time – one of his pristine 70’s vintage Motoboards (yes I did say “one of…”!) and a D-Street complete went to Richard Searle for creating “The One” slalom board and introducing a lot of people to slalom through its creation. I was stoked to be presented with my very own “The One” deck by Richard for my services to slalom and doing the timekeeping this year (Sam will be jealous now, chortle).
Well as we end yet another year of racing at Hog Hill I would just like to say a few thanks to people:
Massive thank you goes out to Michael Stride and Octane Sport for their support of all things slalom. Michael on behalf of us all, we all wish you the very best of health in 2017 and hope to see you return for the odd race when the mood takes you.
To Andy Turner for transporting the ramps to Hog Hill and Paul Coupe for doing it in July. Thanks also to Andy for all of the great photos too. Thank you also to my sister Lyn and RK Case Contractors in Rowhook for the ramp storage and putting up with our stuff in one of her stables. Big Thanks to DAS Industries – Timmy, Louise and Hannah for their hard work both “on the day” and behind the scenes at the events and for sorting out all of the Downhill and Longboard side of things, to Jorge Higgins for running the sliding stuff. To Paul Coupe for help with the timing system and to all of the helpers, supporters usual suspects (you know who you are) for mucking in and getting things done. A special mention to Ed Brockman for his unerring support at all of the events, it’s always good to hear your voice on the hill. We all wish you the very best for 2017 too.
Thank you to all of our very generous sponsors; everyone at Kryptonics, Octane Sport, Pavel Skates, Half Dead Skateboards, Seismic Skate Systems for the Race Spreadsheets, Van Dem/Lush/Cult, Shiner & D Street Longboards, Mindless Longboards, Jimmy Z, One Tree and all of the other first class sponsors.
Thank you to the London Region of St John’s Ambulance for repairing the broken and bleeding, Our hosts Ian Coles and his wonderful team at Redbridge Cycling Centre for continuing to welcome us back – special thanks to Sylvia and her crew in the café for keeping us nourished and to Lambourne End Centre for Outdoor Learning for letting us camp with them.
Until next year folks, Cheers.
Hogtoberfest Slalom Results
- Vincent Tanguy
- Louis Selby
- Mmedo “Mmexit” Duffort
- Patrick Allan
- Sam Gordon
- Chris Charalambous
- Paul Taylor Crush
- Paul Coupe
- Dobie Campbell
- John Nicholas
- Richard Searle
- Trevor Hickey
- Paul Borrell
- Andy Turner
- Dill Hill
- Andrea Paro
- Alec Brown
- Dominic Barette
- Kim Jungreuthmayer