Summer Swine Stomp/Martin Sweeney Memorial Trophy Tight Slalom Race, Hog Hill – 14th – 15th July 2018

Race report by Rob Ashby

Chris Charalambous passes in front of the distant London skyline.
Photo: Andy Turner

This year’s Summer Swine Stomp took on a slightly different format than usual as it would incorporate the running of the inaugural Martin Sweeney Memorial Trophy Tight Slalom Race. Martin died last October and was one of this country’s top slalom exponents, excelling in Tight Slalom. He was probably best known for setting the original 100 cone record on Hawthorn Hill at Brands Hatch in 1991 which was recorded by BBC TV and featured on Record Breakers with Roy Castle. It was a record that stood for many years to come. At the European Championships at Hog Hill in 2013 Martin was presented with a special ISSA diploma by ISSA President Jani Soderhall in honour of him establishing the 100 cone record. To mark Martin’s passing and the immense contribution he made to slalom skateboarding we decided to hold a race bearing his name with a bespoke trophy to be raced for and awarded annually. The trophy was made from some of Martin’s personal bits and pieces of skate stuff by the very talented Bryn Nulty of Flaming Flamingo Forge and was based on an original sketch by Mac.

The Martin Sweeney Memorial Trophy for Tight Slalom
Photo: Rob Ashby

Numbers were definitely down on previous year’s summer events but those that were there were making the most of the track and the continuing fine hot weather.
Our aim was to run the Memorial Race using a timed, single lane, old school style Tight course on the hill where we normally hold the dual Hybrid. The fastest 10 riders would go through to a final on Sunday.
Chris Charalambous set about putting a course down but on completion and after a few practice runs it was clear that bar himself and Louis nobody else was going to make the course without DQ’ing.  We decided to try something else. We were few in number so were not in any great rush. In fact the afternoon had already taken on a much more chilled and relaxed atmosphere than usual which made a change for me and Sam. Normally we would be up to our necks running the dual Hybrid and manning the timing table/laptop. A new course was soon down and being practiced on but once again it proved way too fast. People were just not making it, either DQ’ing or spraying cones all over the hill, time for another rethink. This time Paul Coupe had a go at course setting, opting for a snaking “S” shaped course down the hill. Whilst it was by no means perfect and would not be the actual course used for the race we decided to leave it down for people to skate. Saturday therefore became just a nice relaxed “free skate”.
Whilst all the shenanigans were going down on the hill, Jim “Nutsac” had scoped a nice flat-ish section of track behind the Downhill start line up at the top of the track that would a) allow a proper old school TS course to be set b) with sufficient space to run it as a head to head race and C) it would allow the Downhill crew to get involved if they wanted to.
Having liaised with Timmy we decided that we would run the memorial race proper on Sunday afternoon after the GS. It would be old school in every way including a limited push start into the course. With a new plan in place for Sunday we headed home.

Saturday’s chilled atmosphere spilled over into Sunday, it was still too hot to rush anything and shade was at a premium. As is customary we began the day with the Giant Slalom; with only a small amount of racers we opted to go for the best of three timed runs. It was very hot but there was an occasional breeze, which whilst welcome by onlookers roasting in the searing Midday sun, could have a negative effect on a racers run time.

Andy Turner prepared for launch.
Photo: Rob Ashby

Following a short delay due to a timing issue we began the practice session…  “Mad dogs and Englishmen” springs to mind. During practice a few minor tweaks were made to the course before getting down to the serious matter of the actual timed runs. Racers may have been few in number but the competition was as fierce as ever, all eyes on the digital time clock at the top of the hill. After the first run Louis was leading the pack with a clean run time of 25.22 but Sam was hot on his heels with 25.44 also clean. Paul TC, Paul Coupe, Dill, Andy and Chris Charalambous were all putting very good 26 sec. times, the battle was very much on. Try as he might Sam couldn’t nudge Louis off the top of the leader board. His best run of 25.02 clean wasn’t quick enough. Louis’ final run time, a clean 24.68 ensured he chalked up another Hog Hill GS win for his Pavel Twin Terror model.

During the GS Simon Gunning, former World Record holder in Downhill showed up complete with his Roger Hickey designed downhill set up and gave a bit of an impromptu “show ‘n’ tell. He has even mentioned maybe coming along to Hogtoberfest possibly with a luge? That would be good to see. It is always good when old faces turn up at Hog Hill, you just never know who’ll show up next?

Simon’s Roger Hickey designed Downhill board.
Photo: Rob Ashby

From the GS we turned our attention to setting up the courses for Martin’s race. Big thanks go to Jim “Nutsac” Parry Jones for getting everything going on that front ably assisted by Chris and Dobie. In fact at this point I would like to say a special Big Thanks to Dobie for his sterling work on contacting sponsors for the race and getting us a stash of goodies from far and wide. This enabled us to make sure that everyone that entered walked away with something and we still have some left for Hogtoberfest too!

The dual Tight course
Photo: Rob Ashby

As previously mentioned the race format was going to be old school in every way. The idea was that everyone would race one another, there was a limited push start into the course, no cone penalties, 4 cone = DQ, first across the finish line takes the point. The two riders with the most victories would race for the trophy.  Simple and to the point.
A few interested longboarders came across to try slalom during what became a bit of an extended practice session. After a very brief rider briefing we began the head to head racing. Racers formed two queues and waited for their turn to race. The start was a simple 3-2-1-GO! then the skaters pushed hard into the course. With no cones to count and very few cones to replace the racing was almost continuous. Everyone seemed to enjoy the informal jam format feel to the racing. Chris was on blistering form, making short work of the tight course and racking up victories.

Chris Charalambous, speed and style.
Photo: Andy Turner

 

Simon TG Wells “Having a blast”
Photo: Andy Turner

 

Louis heading for the final against Chris.
Photo: Andy Turner

Unfortunately owing to a slight misunderstanding with our exit time from Hog Hill we were forced to bring a premature end to the heats and proceed to the final based on the greatest number of wins so far. A quick look at the tally board showed that Chris and Louis had chalked up the most wins and so would face each other for the honour of lifting the trophy. It was fitting too that one of Martin’s Southbank brothers should be in the final against the current cream of the crop – the best of British old and new.  
In the first run Louis hit just one cone and crossed the line just inches ahead of Chris who had run clean just as he had pretty much done all afternoon. All eyes were on the course as both riders began pushing in for the last run. Chris clipped a cone at the top of the course but was still neck and neck with Louis. Then it all went wrong for normally clean running Chris as he took out a swath of cones halfway through the course and DQ’d, leaving a very jubilant Louis, the winner of the inaugural Martin Sweeney Memorial Trophy Tight Slalom Race.

Well raced chaps.
Photo: Andy Turner

We carried out a token presentation as the trophy still needs a little bit of work to finish it off. The formal presentation will be carried out by members of Martin’s family who will award the trophy to Louis. I’ll keep you posted on when and where that will be.
Sam Gordon was awarded a special one off slalom deck made by sp8boards complete with the UKSSA 10th anniversary Mac graphic printed on it. This was in recognition of getting the UKSSA racing at Hog Hill 10 years ago and so starting everything off.
 

Rob presents the Martin Sweeney Memorial Trophy to winner Louis Selby
Photo: Rob Ashby


Sam Gordon with the Special Award Slalom Board made by SP8boards with Mac “Hog” 10th Anniversary graphic.
Photo: Chris Drewery Photography

The weekend panned out slightly different than I had originally anticipated but I think Martin would have approved of the relaxed vibe. I enjoyed the few runs I did for him on his old set up that Paul Coupe bought along – I even got a clean run in! Quite a few people came up to me and said how much they enjoyed jam format head to head racing and that we should do more of it; something to think about for future Sunday afternoons after the GS perhaps?

 

Jim “Nutsac” enjoying the vibe.
Photo: Andy Turner

 

Dobie and Chris – when you gotta chill, you gotta chill.
Photo: Andy Turner

 

Schwag for all from our very generous sponsors.
Photo: Rob Ashby

 

Simon Gunning catching up with Chris after many years.
Photo: Rob Ashby

The Most Gigantic Mahoosive Thanks Dept.

On behalf of everyone monumental thanks go to Sam Gordon for getting us the gig in the first place 10 years ago and for all of his subsequent first class work in front of and behind the scenes, sign-up etc. ever since. We all appreciate your enthusiasm and commitment. I know you will be stepping back a bit what with fatherly duties and all but nonetheless the slalom community owe you much beer and many packets of crisps.

The Usual BIG Thanks Dept:

Michael Stride and Octane Sport for their ongoing support with ramps, timing and prizes

Lyn and Richard Case/RK Case Contractors for ramp storage

Simon Wells for transportation/ramp shifting and generally getting involved in just about everything during set up, racing and breakdown

LSD Crew – Jim Parry Jones, Dobie Campbell and Chris Charalambous

Kryptonics – for the awesome wheels!

Bod Boyle/Dwindle Distribution

Don Brown/Etnies

Dan Jagger/Supreme

Donald Campbell/Pavel Skates

Sabina Edwards/Thrill Magazine

Ian Coles, Sylvia, Dave and all of the staff at Redbridge Cycling Centre

 St John’sAmbulance Service

 Coupe Limousine Service

 ……And finally a special big “Thank You” to everyone that raced and helped out whether it be writing things on whiteboards, set up/break-down, van packing the whole shebang – many hands make light work.

 

Summer Swine Stomp 2018 Results

 

Giant Slalom

Raw Times – cone penalties (.2 secs) in brackets

 

  1. Louis Selby                           24.68
  2. Sam Gordon                         25.02
  3. Dill Hill                                   25.84 (3)
  4. Andy Turner                          26.46 (1)
  5. Paul Coupe                          26.30 (2)
  6. Paul Taylor-Crush               26.58 (1)
  7. Chris Charalambous           26.92
  8. Trevor Hickey                        26.94 (1)
  9. John Nicholas                      26.74 (4)
  10. Mike Fish                               DQ

 

Martin Sweeney Memorial Race Tally Board

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