Hogtoberfest, 15th – 16th October 2011, Hog Hill

Chris Charalambous vs Bruno Silva de Oliveira. Photo: Dave Arnold

The UKSSA had been invited along to race at the Hogtoberfest event by Timmy Peters, one of the Southampton University crew, who had set the event up as a fun weekend featuring  various workshops and downhill races for all skill levels. He had also encouraged universities to bring “fresher’s” along to share the stoke of downhill skating in all of its disciplines.

The mid October weather was very kind to us, with clear skies and glorious autumn sunshine bringing riders out in their droves. Louis and I got sign up going whilst Michael and an army of willing volunteers got the ramps and timing set up and Bruno and his helpers set the Hybrid course. Mick Reiss came along to watch the proceedings and very kindly offered to run the spreadsheets for the day.

We actually started our racing a lot later than anticipated this was largely due to Louis and I manning the main Hogtoberfest sign-up desk, it took almost an hour and a half to register the 150+ longboarders, downhillers, buttboarders, slalomers and in-liners who had shown up for the weekend. This is something that needs to be addressed for future events, we need to move away from people paying on the day where possible, it just takes far too long and eats in to precious time that could otherwise be spent on the track – but I digress!

Over on the slalom hill practice was brought to a halt and with the “Octane Sport F1 starter system” now tested and made ready it was finally time to race! The plan was to run the A Group through to its conclusion on Saturday with the B group and GS run on Sunday. I gave a short rider briefing before kicking off the Hybrid qualifying. First up was newly signed Pavel rider Bruno Silva de Oliveira paired with old LSD Southbank Boy Chris Charalambous, making his second appearance at a British race this year.

There had been some initial confusion with cone counting mainly down to which side of the “cone zone” line people were counting from but this was quickly identified and resolved. Bruno set the early pace with an impressive raw time of 13.51 incurring just one cone penalty. It wasn’t until Pavel team mate Louis Selby took his run that he was toppled from pole position when Louis shaved a tenth of a second off Bruno’s raw time but he also picked up one cone penalty – it was that close! Pig City riders were close behind the Pavel Team riders with young gun Jack Corpes, making a welcome return to Hog Hill, taking the 3rd qualifying slot and the ever popular Gecko rider, Mike Allison in 4th.

In the A Group round of  8 Louis went through to the round of 4 easily against Sam Slaven, who despite taking me out in the round of 16, DQ’d both of his runs. Mike Allison went through when he took out fellow Pig City rider Andy Makeham, Bruno despatched Charalambous with two style-heavy, clean, fast runs and in the closest racing of the round Ben Williams took out Jack Corpes by a margin of just 0.02 second!

The round of 4 was exceptionally close with clean-running Louis beating Mike Allison by just 0.14 seconds after Mike had clipped a cone on each of his runs.  Bruno’s first run against Ben was incredibly close, but despite a faster raw time, Ben paid the price for hitting cones, he wasn’t so lucky on his second run either, ending up DQ’ing. So the final saw team mates Louis and Bruno slug it out for the Victory. In the first run there was nothing between them, both racers hitting one cone but Louis just edged in front by 0.03 going into the last run. Bruno tried really hard and although he crossed the line a fraction in front of Louis in the final run, his look back up the hill confirmed his fears as he saw two cones lying in his wake. Louis took 1st place by just 0.11 overall showing what a difference a cone or two can make. In the consolation round “Old Skool” Mike beat Ben who was suffering with a flare up of an old ankle injury.

A Group Hybrid Final, Louis vs Bruno. Photo: Dave Arnold

With the sun setting over the London skyline we packed up and in time-honoured fashion, headed back to the Lambourne End campsite a couple of miles down the road. Tents pitched and initial thirsts slaked with a few tinnies a few of us decamped to the pub to talk about the day while some cosied around the roaring campfire and bbq’d and others cooked in the hut.

On returning from the pub Bruno, beer in hand, was in full flow – flow being the operative word! After a few more ales and tales around the fire and talk of bushings, wheels and deck composition it was time to turn in with the prospect of another good days racing ahead.

On unzipping my tent on Sunday morning I was met with the sight of frost on the grass and a hazy looking sun in the sky; The sun soon broke through the early morning mist and shone down drying out and warming the tented skate community. With everything packed Michael and I headed off to the race site leaving Timmy checking the camp site and sorting out payment of the fees.

At Hog Hill riders were already assembling – taking full advantage of the abnormally fine October weather.

Before the GS we took time to help Keith Martin and Will Bloomfield from “Un-named Magazine”, (working title now” ‘thane” I believe?),  get some footage of Louis and Bruno racing each other on the Hybrid course which had already been set up in readiness B Group finals later that day. From what we saw on the camera back screen the footage they shot looked really good – we will keep you posted on the progress of the magazine and their coverage of Hogtoberfest.

With race footage “in the can” our attentions turned back to the GS. After ensuring everyone had taken few practice runs I held a brief rider meeting and we got underway. We used the “Octane Sport Leader Board” to show where racers were placed in the standings; this also promoted friendly competition with riders seeking to better the time of the person above them and adding a fun element to the racing. The times were all very close but in the end it was the race hardened Louis that emerged top of the heap with a time of 21.55 followed by Bruno on 21.58 and this time around Ben beat Mike into 4th place claiming the 3rd place podium spot with an impressive time of 21.92.

The B Group Hybrid was bolstered by three additional racers, two young newbie’s and Jack Taylor Crush who had come to Hog Hill just for the day. The start of the racing was delayed due to a few technical hitches, (and me having “a stressy”!), one of which meant abandoning the laptop and opting to use the ISSA bracketing format and a piece of paper “old school” stylee!

The 8 riders were soon whittled down and in the round of 4 Terry St George met newbie Harry Phelps and Jack Taylor Crush would face another newcomer Lee Tilbury. Harry showed great style and put in really good runs against Terry who was hitting too many cones and so missed out on a place in the final. The other heat saw the experienced Jack run smooth and clean to book his spot.

In the first run of the final the racing was amazingly close, both riders hitting just one cone each, Jack crossing the line with a raw time 17.47 and Harry with 17.57. In the second run there was nothing between them, both riders running clean, both with the exact same time of 17.57 – incredible racing! Big congratulations to both racers for showing how exciting racing can be, and especially to Harry on a great debut performance.

With the last race meeting of the season over we broke everything down and loaded the van in seemingly record breaking time – which really goes to show that many hands really do make light work – before heading over to the café for the weekend’s prize giving ceremonies.

Thank you to everyone involved, Timmy Peters and his crew, Octane Sport for their tireless support, Dangerous Decks, Lush, Mindless, Newton’s Shred, all of the staff at Redbridge Cycling Centre ( see you next year!), Thanks to all at Lambourne End. Thanks to Mick Reiss for his work with the timekeeping on Saturday, thanks also to Chris Linford for assisting with the GS on Sunday and lastly thanks to all of the riders and racers for making it a great end to a great UK Race Season. Oh…. and big thanks to the “Big Man” upstairs for the perfect weather!

Hogtoberfest Results

A Group Hybrid
1st Louis Selby
2ndBruno Silva de Oliveira
3rd Mike Allison
4th Ben Williams
5th Jack Corpes
6th Andy Makeham
7th Chris Charalambous
8th Sam Slaven
9th Rob Ashby
10th Paul Coupe
11th Jon Merrifield
12th Tim Neal
13th John Nicholas
14th Trevor Baker
15th Nigel Allgood
16th Johnny Rehab

B Group Hybrid

1st Jack Taylor Crush
2nd Harry Phelps
3rd Lee Tilbury
4th Terry St George
5th Dave Hillier
6th Richard Searle
7th Jamie Tharp
8th Joe Boyle
9th Michelle Auer

Giant Slalom

1st Louis Selby 21.55
2nd Bruno Silva de Oliveira 21.58
3rd Ben Williams 21.92
4th Mike Allison 22.01
5th Rob Ashby 22.58
6th Jack Taylor Crush 22.61
7th Paul Coupe 22.85
8th Tim Neal 22.87
9th Sam Slaven 23.22
10th John Nicolas 24.20
11th Lance Martins 24.94
12th Terry St George 27.89

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