The Crackling, Hog Hill, 23rd/24th May – Race Report


A pair of prize decks!

This is the 8th year that UKSSA have been running slalom events at Hog Hill and once again The Crackling is theUK slalom season opener. Unlike our early races these days Hog Hill events are large multi-disciplined meetings. Timmy Peters’ DAS Industries crew provided the logistics for running the weekends Longboard and Downhill elements ably assisted by Jorge Higgins and Jamie Tharp.

This year saw Freestyle making its debut at Hog Hill when Tony Gale and crew from British Freestyle joined us on the Saturday. They attracted a fair amount of attention from those that had not witnessed freestyle up close and personal before and much praise and appreciation from the slalomers that dabble. In fact Freestyle slotted into the mix so well I am pleased to announce that it will feature at future events. Freestyle has always been popular amongst the slalom community as it gives a racer something to do between heats at bigger races. The smaller boards easily fit into your skate bag when heading off to those European events too – give it a whirl if you don’t already? If you’re interested in freestyle checkout the British Freestyle Skateboarding Facebook page.

Tony Gale – Freestyle is go at Hog Hill!

The now customary Saturday rain delay kicked in right on cue during set up and registration. Rain eventually turned to drizzle which gave way to light breeze and sunshine allowing slalom proceedings to finally get underway just before 3.00pm.

After a rapid qualifying session we were soon ready to begin the elimination rounds. The cut for the A Group was the top 8 and the rest of the field made up the B Group. Harry Phelps had opted to freeride and generally tear it up sliding so the stage was set for an interesting battle for top spot in the A Group.

In the round of 8 Louis went through with ease after a disastrous double DQ by Tiago Fanha who had skated so well in qualifying. Then Paul Taylor Crush was squeezed out by Ben Williams despite his cone spraying first run. In the heat between the ever improving Richard Searle and Sam Gordon it was all down to the second run as both had DQ’d their first. Age and experience won through in the end with “The Child’s Father” Sam advancing by almost a second and a half. Mmedo also went into the round of 4 with comparative ease after John Nicholas’ had hefty cone counts in both of his runs. The Round of 4 heats would be Louis against Ben and Sam versus Mmedo. Another bout of cone spraying meant that Ben had to settle for place in the Consolation Round. An extremely close finish saw Mmedo go into the second run with just a 0.01 second advantage over Sam regardless of a cone penalty. Both riders hit cones on their next runs but Mmedo just edged Sam out leaving him to face Ben.  In the Final Louis took the first run with both riders hitting one cone. In the second Mmedo hit one cone and crossed the line ahead of Louis but the seasoned Pavel rider had run clean which was enough to clinch the top podium spot. In the Consolation round Ben’s cone count was to be his downfall once again leaving Sam to claim the remaining spot on the podium.

 While we had good conditions we opted to run straight into the B Group through to conclusion if time allowed – which it did. Despite a valiant effort Sabina Edwards failed to qualify and so that left 8 riders. Fast qualifying times by Tiago had been enough to nudge board collector extraordinaire Paul Coupe into the B Group where he would be racing Dill Hill. The other heats would be between relative newcomer Ben Dorling and Paul Borell, Andy Turner would go up against Alec Brown and Trevor Hickey would take on Gavin Palfrey.  Dill sprayed a few cones too many and so helped send Paul through to the next round and yet more “cone’age” by Paul B. saw Ben advance. The cone count also played a part in Alec being taken out in his heat against Andy: and an unfortunate second run DQ by Trev meant Gav went on to take the last slot in the Round of 4 racing Andy.  In the first heat Ben put up a great fight crossing the line in 16.170 just .03 behind Paul but sadly the 5 cone penalties he picked up gave Paul a 0.53 advantage. Consistency was the name of the game and Ben recorded the same time in his second run this time only pinging 2 cones, but Paul had put in a faster clean run earning him his place in the final. Andy would go on to meet Paul in the final after his victory over Gav by a margin of 0.77 seconds.  The consolation round was between Ben and Gav, sadly a first run DQ by Ben left him with too much to do and so it was Gav that secured 3rd place.  In the final the raw times in both runs were very close, but sadly for Andy he had hit a few too many cones leaving Paul to take the B Group crown.

Sunday saw a very welcome return to Hog Hill for Alan and Derek Featherstone. As has previously been documented here Derek was very active at promoting slalom in the late 70’s and into the 80’s especially at Brands Hatch. The UK Slalom scene has much to thank him for. Also joining us for the day was photographer and all round diamond geezer (Mad) Mike John. This was his first visit to Hog Hill and I think he was impressed with what he saw? For those that don’t know Mike he was one of the photographers that worked on RAD magazine way back. You may have noticed a RAD sticker on his flash gun?

 By the time the Giant Slalom course was set and final adjustments made the overcast sky had thinned a little allowing the sun to peep through now and then but at least it was dry. The riders soon began queuing at the start ramp ready to take their practice runs through the fast winding course. The GS always provides great entertainment for spectators and competition for top spot is always fierce. In GS the racers have three timed runs and it is their fastest time that is recorded. The lead changed several times as times started to improve, each run a crucial few seconds faster than the previous one. Having been beaten by Louis in the Hybrid Mmedo was out for revenge and after a couple of amazingly close runs he found himself in first place with a time of 20.68 seconds just a tenth of a second faster than Louis on 20.69. Despite Sam donning his Lycra to lessen wind resistance he was unable to better either of the top times and had to settle for 3rd place with 21.24. It is worth a mention that after the GS had finished Mmedo took another run and blasted an even faster time of 20.46.

Sam blasting down the GS course.

With the serious racing over a couple of impromptu courses were thrown down for people that wanted to skate. Everyone could now relax, eat, drink, buy stuff or just talk skate, take photos and enjoy the rest of the day until it was time for the prize giving.    

Thanks to:

Sam Gordon for his top notch work in front of and behind the scenes

Michael Stride and Octane Sport for their unerring support, race logistics and prizes.

Kryptonics for the awesome wheels!
All of our Generous Sponsors
Seismic Skate for the Race Spreadsheets 

Lyn and Richard Case for ramp storage and to Fergus and Spotty for being good ramp neighbours (Nay-bours?)

Andy Turner for ramp transportation and timekeeping assistance

Mark Phelps for tech support assistance with the timing system

Louis and Mmedo for course setting

Gavin Palfrey for timekeeping/Octane Top Steer board work on the GS

Timmy Peters and Louise Roberts of DAS Industries for sign up and taking care of all things longboardy along with Lana Pouney, Hanna Anderson, Jorge Higgins and Jamie Tharp

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

London Ambulance Service – Essex Paramedics

Coupe Limousine Service

……And finally a special big “Thank You” to everyone for assistance with set up/break-down.


The next scheduled event is Turn ‘n’ Burn at Paddle Around the Pier in Brighton 4th/5th July – see you there.

The Crackling Results

Hybrid Slalom

A Group

  1. Louis Selby
  2. Mmedo Duffort
  3. Sam Gordon
  4. Ben Williams
  5. Paul Taylor Crush
  6. John Nicholas
  7. Richard Searle
  8. Tiago Fanha

B Group

  1.  Paul Coupe
  2. Andy Turner
  3. Gavin Palfrey
  4. Ben Dorling
  5. Trevor Hickey
  6. Paul Borrell
  7. Alec Brown
  8. Dill Hill
  9. Sabina Edwards

 (Timekeeper: Rob Ashby)

 GS Results

  1.  Mmedo Duffort 20.68
  2. Louis Selby 20.69
  3. Sam Gordon 21.24
  4. Ben Williams 21.55
  5. Richard Searle 22.13
  6. Paul Taylor Crush 22.52
  7. John Nicholas 22.62
  8. Paul Coupe 22.91
  9. Trevor Hickey 23.47
  10. Andy Turner 23.60
  11. Dill Hill 23.84
  12. Ben Dorling 23.94
  13. Gavin Palfrey 23.61
  14. Graham Driver 24.23
  15. Alec Brown 24.38
  16. Luke Baxter 25.69

 (Timekeeper: Gavin Palfrey/Andy Turner)

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