Back to the Old Spot – The Crackling, Hog Hill – 18th/19th May 2013


The UKSSA returned to Hog Hill for the first race of the year at The Crackling, a joint UKSSA/DAS Industries event.  Timmy Peters and DAS Industries organised the Downhill and Longboarding side of things while Team GB stalwart Sam Gordon took care of the lions share of the arrangements for the UKSSA – including some much appreciated grovelling to the management at Lambourne End. This was required owing to a few “incidents” by persons unknown at last years Hogtoberfest which threatened to end our established association with the camp site carefully nurtured by Sam over the last few years. Octane Sport, the UKSSA’s premier sponsor provided the start ramps, timing system, prizes and as ever a veritable plethora of toys – thank you Michael. 

With ever changing weather forecasts and Sunday looking “a bit iffy” for the GS we wanted to complete the Hybrid on Saturday that way if the weather did turn we would at least have results in the bag. To speed things up a bit we decided to cut to the top 8 for the A group with the remaining 16 racers making up the B group. With Paul Price back in the US and Bruno recuperating back in his native Brazil competition for the top spots would be interesting.

UK slalom legend Jim Slater came along and helped out with the cone counting duties taking his place at the timing table along with spreadsheet whizz Paul Keleher who was manning the laptop.   

In the round of 8 Louis cruised through easily despatching Sam Slaven, Jason Martin was looking on good form but despite his best endeavours lost out to Pig City’s Mmedo who was looking all fired up.  Lush/Van Dem gnarly all-rounder Harry Phelps knocked Paul K. out with a fast stylish flowing run and in the battle of the librarians Sam Gordon beat Paul T-C to book his place in the round of 4 against Louis.

In the first heat Harry just edged past Mmedo in a very fast, close race the other heat saw a tied run with Louis leading Sam by just one cone as both riders crossed the line in 15.36! In their second run Mmedo had a great run and crossed the line ahead of Harry, but it was Harry that went through to the final with a margin of just 0.08 and despite a clean run and a really fast time Sam was pushed into consolation round position by Pavel teammate Louis by just 0.03. So it would be the young guns to face each other in the final. Their first run was incredibly close with Louis (14.550 + 2 cones) going into the last run with a 0.2 advantage over Harry (16.650 + 3 cones). The second run was closer still; both racers really powered through the course sending cones flying in their wake, Harry crossed the line with a time of 14.160 and Louis 14.170 it looked like it would be down to the cone count. Both riders had hit 6 cones but with his advantage from the first run it was Louis that took the top podium spot. Sam took third place after Mmedo DQ’d in his first run leaving the deficit too big to make up in his second. 

In the B group up and coming Hyde Park rider James “Lo-Rider” Ritossa, looking to further his slalom racing experience at Hog Hill, despite some cone spraying was looking confident. I was locked in friendly rivalry with Paul Coupe who alas I didn’t get to race head to head with. He went out to Aumary Dumont whose Hyde Park practice sessions were now paying dividends. By the time the field was whittled down to the last four the sun had broken through. I was to meet James in the final and Tim Neal was paired against Aumary in the Consolation round.

Despite finishing just behind James in the first round his cone count meant I would take a 0.16 lead into the second run…but would it be enough? As we left the ramps I just got the edge on him, but he was soon level with me. As I made my way back up the hill from the finish I could see James was shaken but not stirred and up on his feet again. In the consolation round things went bad for seasoned racer Tim Neal as he double DQ’d leaving Aumary to take a well earned third place.

As we started packing up the sun was blazing down on us, the perfect end to a perfect afternoons racing; a smooth set up and quick turn around in the rounds and a speedy breakdown, thanks to all who helped, it makes things so much easier. 

Sunday brought a welcome sight over Lambourne End – a bit of blue sky and the sun peeping through….Oh and lots of bubbles!

After customary Hog Hill bacon butties and coffee and with the GS set, practice was underway. Most riders yours truly included were finding a couple of the offsets particularly challenging and vital to get right if you were to remain on line for the next set.

Practice over, rider brief briefed and with a very bleary eyed Paul “Li’l Ol’ Wine Drinker” K. at the timing table the GS started. Sam seeing an opportunity to snatch a coveted Hog Hill GS victory donned his Lycra and climbed the ramp. Mmedo had set the mark to beat with his first run time of 24.270. Sam’s time of 23.910 with just one cone penalty stood until Harry crossed the line putting in a 23.740 with one cone. Louis could only manage 23.830 but hit three cones. Even running clean Sam was unable to improve on his first run time; Harry however was with his clean 23.770 run. So with just Louis to go everyone’s attention was focused on the clock at the top of the hill, could Slipa pull something special out of the bag? He pulled hard off the ramp and accelerated into the course, 23.090 seconds and one cone later he crossed the line taking 1st place, a truly great ride by theUK number 1. 

Big thanks go out to: Michael Stride and Octane Sport for their continued support and all the good toys they bring, to Sam who started it all and continues to do sterling work on all our behalves – much of it unseen, Paul K. for Timekeeping, Mmedo and Louis for the courses, Jim for all round assistance and cone counting (and the fine display of how a Turner should be ridden). Big thanks also to Timmy Peters and DAS Industries for their work on the sign up, organising the freeride and downhill elements and generally being good eggs and a pleasure to work with and for helping assure the continued success of these events. Paul Coupe for the lift, banter, show and tell and being a good rival on the hill, to all the Ian, Sylvia and the Staff at Redbridge Cycling Centre, Tony and staff at Lambourne End – Special mention to Louis and the clean up crew for sorting out the hut and recycling on Sunday morning and finally to all the racers that made it a thoroughly enjoyable weekend.

Oh and to my GS Mojo…..for coming back and not deserting me in Stuttgart!

Lessons learned:

  • Don’t try to knee slide without pads! (James)
  • Nigel’s Fibreflex doesn’t turn, Tony’s Turner does (Jim) – footage soon!
  • Lycra is no substitute for the speed and agility of youth (Sam)
  • Set up separate recycling bins for glass, cans, paper, card and plastic on arrival at Lambourne End so we don’t have to sort rubbish out when we pack up!



 Hybrid A Group

 1st Louis Selby

2nd Harry Phelps

3rd Sam Gordon

4th Mmedo Duffort

5th Jason Martin

6th Paul Taylor Crush

7th Sam Slaven

8th Paul Keleher


Hybrid B Group

 1st Rob Ashby

2nd James Ritossa

3rd Aumary Dumont

4th Tim Neal

5th Paul Coupe

6th Tiago Fanha

7th Tony Lord

8th Andy Turner

9th Richard Searle

10th Cyprien Dumont

11th Gavin Palfrey

12th Nigel Allgood


Giant Slalom

1st Louis Selby 23.290

2nd Harry Phelps 23.770

3rd Sam Gordon 24.110

4th Mmedo Duffort 24.270

5th Ben Williams 24.920

6th Sam Slaven 25.280

7th Jason Martin 25.450

8th Tim Neal 25.540

9th Tiago Fanha 25.620

10th Paul Taylor Crush 25.660

11th Rob Ashby 26.510

12th Paul Coupe 26.820

13th Richard Searle 27.430

14th Gavin Palfrey 29.360


 The Crackling – Overall

 1st Louis Selby

2nd Harry Phelps

3rd Sam Gordon

4th Mmedo Duffort

5th Jason Martin

6th Sam Slaven

7th Paul Taylor Crush

8th Ben Williams

9th Tim Neal

10th Rob Ashby

11th Paul Keleher*

12th Tiago Fanha

13th Paul Coupe

14th Richard Searle

15th Tony Lord*

16th Andy Turner*

17th Gavin Palfrey

18th Nigel Allgood

19th James Ritossa*

20th Aumary Dumont*

21st Cyprien Dumont*


*Did not race GS


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