British Open Slalom Championships – Hog Hill, 6th – 8th August 2010

Race Report by Rob

Unfortunately unfavourable weather reports for London on the continent put our European cousins off making the trip over for this years British Open Championships. We did however manage one European representative Jeroen Steggink from Leiden in Holland – one of the infamous Amsterdam crew!

Friday began with registration for the racers and freeriders, numbers were noticeably down on those in May, although we knew that the majority of the Longboarders would be coming on Saturday. Mick came along for the day as Course Setter and marked a challenging GS course out which we would be using on Sunday; he also managed to register a qualifying time for the Dual Hybrid before heading off on holiday the following Saturday to join Ella.

Although sunny we didn’t wish to chance the abundant moody looking clouds overhead, so as soon as the ramps, timing and course in were in place practice began for the Dual Hybrid qualification. It was Louis, who had been looking very fast in practice that set the pace early on in the qualifying rounds with Paul Price hot on his heels.

Once qualifying was over the riders were split in to “A” and “B” groups ready for Saturdays finals. With qualifying times “in the bag” we adjourned to the Lambourne End camp site, a short distance away from Hog Hill, for the night’s shenanigans.

On arrival at the track on Saturday we found the Dual Hybrid hill still damp from the overnight rain so there was time for coffee and a bacon sarnie while the hill dried out in the morning sun. More Longboarders and Downhillers were arriving to ride the smooth sun bathed tarmac hills including the Weymouth Longboard Lounge crew complete with a classic red velour chaise lounge!

Paul Nash and his wife kindly drove up from Somerset to deliver some of Glastonbury Ales finest product for consumption at Saturday’s “Après Skate” bash back at the campsite and take in some of the action. We were also joined by John Sanders from X in the City who came along to watch the racing and meet Paul and talk bar requirements for his event.

Racing got underway around 11.30am with the “A” group Hybrid finals first. After some very hard and fast racing the field was soon whittled down to the last four riders; Louis, Paul Price, Sam and Clingfilm.

In the consolation round Sam took 3rd place in a close race against veteran racer Clingfilm. Whilst in the final Louis battled it out with Paul once again, this time snatching the top podium spot by the smallest of margins.

In the “B” group Ian Cranfield from Pig City triumphed over local rider Sam Slaven to take 1st with newcomer Jon Merrifield and Terry St George fighting it out for 3rd place which eventually went to the ever determined Terry.

A joint prize giving ceremony was held in the canteen with the longboarder’s and downhiller’s. Timmy Peters and crew provided some very creative “wheel cakes” as part of the racers booty and in different duro’s too!

Afterwards we all made our way back to the campsite for some well earned alcoholic refreshment courtesy of our sponsors, Glastonbury Ales who provided beer and cider for one and all. Some people barbecued while a few of us decided to grab a quick bite at the local pub “The Camelot” before heading back to camp for more quality ale!

As an added bonus Nathaniel one of the Downhill crew set up an impromptu outdoor movie theatre adjacent to the camp fire using his projector and laptop. Soon we were all sitting round the fire watching “Road Buzz” – a nice little film on the European Downhill scene by Saft and Boneless.

Sunday morning bought some bright, but breezy sunshine; some of the racers were noticeably bleary eyed due to the previous night’s excesses! Nothing that more coffee and bacon sarnies couldn’t sort out though.

At the track the Giant Slalom set by Mick had been set out and riders had started practicing on the super fast course. A few of the wider offsets were giving some of the rider’s problems but overall people were making the course just displacing the odd cone here and there.

We would each have three timed runs with the fastest counting. Riders busied themselves applying duct tape around any clothing thing that flapped around in the breeze whilst others (Sam) clad themselves in tight fitting Lycra to try and gain what could be vital hundredths of a second.

Louis couldn’t quite mirror his previous day’s performance only managing 4th whilst Paul Price put in some uber fast runs to take the top spot, Sam’s lycra didn’t quite cut the mustard but earned him a valiant 2nd place from Clingfilm in 3rd.

After the combined results from the two days racing had been worked out Paul Price was crowned overall winner and 2010 British Slalom Champion.

Big thanks go out to Sam, Octane Sport for ramps and timing, Sam Slaven for tech support, Munchh for Timekeeping duties, Glastonbury Ales for their unerring support and sponsorship, Mike and Anna for PA and choons, Timmy Peters and crew for event assistance and cakes, Edwin and the legendary Martin Sweeney for expert coning duties (and providing the very entertaining vintage slalom footage we all watched on Sunday morning!) and to everyone that made the weekend possible – well done to Jeroen for doing a fine job representing The Netherlands, your Special Award was well deserved my friend! Last but not least thanks to Ian, Nick and staff at the Redbridge Cycling Centre and special thanks to Sylvia who kept us fed and watered all weekend despite being besieged by wasps!

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