NASS Love Monkey Open Slalom Championship

Race Report by Rob Ashby

This was the third year that the UKSSA had been racing at NASS, sadly this year numbers were severely down on previous years. Much of this I believe was down to people having being put off by last years atrocious weather. 

We had been given the same spot as the previous year only this time there was a bit more going on around us which bought a few spectators over. Unfortunately when we went to set up on Saturday Morning we discovered what looked like chip fat had been spilt all over the road! We were given a couple of bottles of shower gel by the Production Office to try and clean slippery surface but as any BP employee knows it’s not easy cleaning up an oil spill no matter how much shower gel you are given! After an hour or so of scrubbing it was clear that the oil wasn’t going to budge and that we would have to modify the course around the affected area for safety’s sake.

Since our first year at NASS in 2008 we have been lucky enough to have our races sponsored by Paul Nash and Glastonbury Ales. It was while we were waiting for the “showered patch” to dry out that Paul arrived with a keg of “Love Monkey” and one of “Glasto Festival Cider” for this years post race relaxation. It also enabled a few of us to have a pre-race ‘cheeky half’!

 Practice got underway and after a few incidents the courses where modified again around the oily patches. In contrast to last year the only real complaints we had from riders was that it was too hot! Eventually all was ready and after the usual riders briefing the qualifying got underway for the Tight Slalom.

Paul Price fresh from races in Grenoble and Riga set the standard very early on with some fast runs. As riders were eliminated one by one it soon became clear that there were just four riders in serious contention to take Saturday’s top spot. These were Paul Price (Pavel Racing), Sam Gordon (Pavel/VirageTrucks), Louis Selby (Pavel/Pistache) and Mmedo Duffort (Pig City). In the final Louis was paired up against Paul and Sam vs Mmedo.

After some very close racing and some even closer finishes it was age that triumphed over youth with Paul taking 1st place from Louis and Sam beat Mmedo to snatch 3rd.

Once the racing for the day was over there was plenty of time for interested spectators and other skaters to be taken through the rudiments of slalom. Soon we had quite a few people trying their skill out through the cones on borrowed boards.

Sunday morning bought overcast skies but these soon cleared and the sun to shone on us once again; today we would be running the Hybrid Slalom. As if the oil wasn’t bad enough the previous day the sight that greeted us in the morning sun was ten times as bad! Bits of burger, squashed chips, broken glass and other unspeakable debris covered the surface – this wasn’t going to shift with a ton of shower gel!

I went to the Production Office and got the OK to use the bigger main road that ran the length of the showground – the site we were promised 3 years ago! A quick sweep down of the road, a re-jigging of the power supply and we were set up and ready to race. This was more like it – Louis and Bruno had set a good challenging long course down past the guard’s compound which allowed for a nice run out over the finishing line.

 After practice and qualifying heats we broke for lunch which came courtesy of Paul and Glastonbury Ales crew in the form of their Glasty’s, (half pie, half pasty). Bellies full and helmets donned racing re-commenced. Some of the courses bigger offsets were causing a few problems; riders found themselves drifting round cones where the road surface was still a bit dusty.

Once again the cut for the top four mirrored the previous day – and the results too were a carbon copy. Paul Price taking 1st place and the overall weekend winner trophy, a hand shaped wooden “Re-Turner” cutaway slalom board by Gabriel Steptoe of Foiled Concepts. Louis collected another 2nd with Sam his second 3rd of the weekend. Mmedo Duffort took a well earned 4th place overall.

Prizes were presented by Paul Nash of Glastonbury Ales and donated by Pavel Skates, Octane Sport, Foiled Concepts and Glastonbury Ales.

Thanks to all who made the weekend possible, who knows maybe next year Relentless will give us some prize money and attract some big names?

Photo’s here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/robs_gallery/sets/72157624465372203/

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