European Indoor Slalom Championships, Dusseldorf, 14th/15th December 2013.

The 2013 season closer, The European Indoor Championships was organised by Donald Campbell and the Pavel Crew ably assisted by the Peek/Factory gang. With the event being so close to Christmas only myself, Louis Selby and spBSA’s Richard Searle were able to make it out to the event.

Louis preparing to go up against Sebi in the Hybrid

We both headed out early on Friday morning, Louis from London City and myself from Heathrow. On arrival at Dusseldorf International we were met by Donald who took us back to The Factory via my hotel. After a coffee with our host and a good nosey around he informed us that he had to go out for a couple of hours and handed Louis and I his keys for The Factory and the shop.  We walked across to the entrance to the skatepark unlocked it and went in. The place has got a lot bigger since I was there last with a street area added to the mini ramps and pool/bowl…..and we had the whole place to ourselves – heaven!

Later in the afternoon we were joined by Martin Hoppe, Peter Jachmann and fresh of the plane fromMallorca, Juan Pedro Fullana.  After a few beers and a bit of customary banter it was time to make my way back into town to my hotel. Louis and a few others were staying in Donald’s rehearsal room, complete with drum kit – for those gentle “wake up” solos! Me – I like my comforts these days! After waiting over 40 minutes for a tram in the bitter cold a passing Taxi driver took pity on me – any longer and I was in danger of being frozen to the tram stop. He asked me if I needed a ride someplace, fifteen minutes later I was in my hotel room attempting to thaw out under a hot shower.

On Saturday morning I made my way back for the start of the race. Louis and I were joined by Richard at the race location which was about 300 yards from the Pavel factory in a separate building. Some 30 odd riders representing Ukraine, Latvia, Spain, Czech Republic, Norway, Holland, UK and Germany had made it along to this, the pre-Christmas season closer. The venue was absolutely huge, a vast expanse of highly polished concrete flooring – super smooth but super slippery with it!

Go Louis!

 As riders began to assemble their first priority after an initial test ride was selecting a wheel combination that allowed them to make the course without sliding out! There were a lot of traction issues early on – or rather I should say a complete lack of it! Many riders were experimenting with harder combinations – older formula 89a Purple Seismic Hot Spots seemed to be quite popular with some while former Pavel team rider Dominik Kowalski opted to use Cult TFR slide wheels on his new iCone set up. I tried a number of combinations of the various Cults that I had bought along but was struggling to put enough weight down on the back end to prevent it sliding out. Finally I tried both sets of Kryptonics I had with me. The 70mm Red’s were fairly fresh out of the packet still and so hadn’t been scrubbed in which meant they were a bit too shiny still and caused them to slide out a bit. My worn in 65mm Green’s it turned out were much gripper than anything else I had tried even with their radius edge so I opted to use them.

After a short practice session we adjourned for the very wholesome lunch which was provided for the racers and following this qualifying sessions for the Tight began. Donald took his place at Race Control ably assisted by the lovely Nadine Hünemörder on the laptop and the racing commenced. It was one of the quietest races I think I have ever been to? Apart from the noise made by the racers coming down the ramps there was no sound made except for the odd creaky truck or bushing, as soon as wheels hit the ultra smooth concrete that was it – silence. If you listened carefully you might hear the wheels going over the tape strip at the end of the course? 

The 16 fastest racers would make up the A Group with the rest forming the B Group. The standard of racing was extremely high especially amongst the younger riders. In the A Group it was an unfeasibly fast Dominik who took the Tight title with Stas Mironenko (UKR) in 2nd and “Christmas partied out” Christoph “Homer” Baumann taking 3rd and Robert Thiele in 4th. Louis had put up a good fight against Gustavs Gailitis (LAT) with some very close racing in the round of 16, losing out over the two legs by just 0.001!

In the B Group both young and old battled it out for the top spot, Max Thiele was really powering through the course, keeping it low and fast. Lukas Knobloch also gave some of the more experienced riders a run for their money! In the end it was to be an all German podium with “Sticker” Peter Jachmann taking 1st with Lukas in 2nd and Kathrin Sehl taking the 3rd spot and Martin Hoppe 4th.

 After the racing was over for the day we adjourned to The Factory for beers and bratwurst (expertly cooked by Donald) before watching the old school “Fish Bowl Jam” going down in the skatepark. This was an Open street & bowl Session for riders using Santa Cruz Fishtail boards & dressed in vintage 80‘s style gear. Music pumped out of the sound system and there were free beers for the entrants and a chance to win Converse Shoes andSanta Cruzstuff for best trick & best outfit! Mad Rats shorts and Flyaway’s were very much the order of the day. A couple of riders seemed to be unaware that the final runs of the jam were in progress in the pool and dropped in to much jeering – one of them being Ferdy!

After the bowl session had finished and having quaffed a few more beers it was time for me to head back into town – this time I wasn’t going to risk freezing to death waiting for a tram, instead a slightly squiffy and very amusing Nadine (eventually!!) called me a taxi.

 Following a really good nights sleep I set off from the hotel for the race venue. On arrival the Hybrid course was being set. There were a few tricky off sets in the course and these in turn were coupled with two or three “gimme cones” which allowed for a better line so as to avoid any sharp sudden “traction losing” turns. These caused a few problems to begin with but eventually we all got the hang of it and the qualifying began. As with the previous day the riders were split into A and B groups. Louis was paired against Sebi, the current European Amateur champion but too many cones would see him go out early doors. Richard was a “no-show” on Sunday – it was rumoured by Donald I hasten to add – that he was being held in some massage parlour somewhere, the truth however just involves a lot of drinking with the people he was staying with! 

With the exception of a few places the results in the A Group Hybrid were pretty much a repeat of the previous days racing with Dominik taking 1st, Homer in 2nd and this time around Robert Thiele claimed the 3rd place with Chris Schutz in 4th.

Me going up against Juan Pedro in the Hybrid – Photo by Marissa Zegel

 In the B Group I went out to Juan Pedro by around a second and a half over the two legs. “Sticker Peter” emerged victorious in the B Group once again having fought off the challenge from Lukas once again. Kathrin took 3rd from Max Thiele by a margin of just 0.54 seconds.

 This was a really good fun weekends racing at a first class location. There were no timing problems, no disputes and obviously no interruptions from the weather. Massive thanks to Donald and all of the organisers and marshalls that made the event possible. Thanks too to all of the sponsors including Pavel, Kryptonics and Paranoia for their support.

I hope we get the opportunity to race here again very soon?


Tight A – Top 8

 1. Dominik Kowalski, GER

2. Stas Mironenko, UKR

3. Christophe Baumann, GER

4. Robert Thiele, GER/CZE

5. Gustavs Gailitis, LAT

6. Chris Schütz, GER

7. Markus Roch, GER

8. Radan Knobloch, GER

 Tight B – Top 8

 1. Peter Jachmann

2. Lukas Knobloch

3. Kathrin Sehl

4. Martin Hoppe

5. Alf Olsen

6. Malte Strunk

7. Anna Vackova

8. Juan Pedro Fullana

 Hybrid A – Top 8

 1. Dominik Kowalski, GER

2. Christof Baumann, GER

3. Robert Thiele, GER/CZE

4. Chris Schütz, GER

5. Stas Mironenko, UKR

6. Gustavs Galitis, LAT

7. Ferdinand Lindner, GER

8. Sebastian Vorhoelter, GER

Hybrid B – Top 8

 1. Peter Jachmann

2. Lukas Knobloch

3. Kathrin Sehl

4. Max Thiele

5. Alf Olsen

6. Malte Strunk

7. Anna Vackova

8. Juan Pedro Fullana



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