The German Open 2015, Stuttgart 18th- 19th September

Race Report  by Richard Searle

Richard gunning it – or should that be gurning it? in Stuttgart.
Photo By Aisha-Mila Urbanova

The German Open 2015 was held on 18th/19th September on a gentle hill in Stuttgart; a small but perfectly formed Team UK were in attendance.

Marking his International debut was Alec Brown, gin obsessive and meticulous of kit; this recent convert to the slalom scene was set to take the Masters division by storm. I was also present, my fifth international race this season, overdraft creaking under the strain, a shiny set of Ettsexett 161 trucks bolted to my board. 

Despite the race being held on the same weekend as The Worlds in Kentucky, a good number of skaters registered; a strong German presence obviously, plus the Swedes, Italians, Latvian, Ukrainians and Czechs – the usual suspects.

Alec revealed his latest board, a recently acquired Gecko Martin Drayton model; it turned out that the small wheelbase was perfect for the very tight courses – tight being the operative word.

Alec – his “recently acquired” Gecko Drayton SLE – “perfect for the very tight courses”.
Photo by Aisha-Mila Urbanova

First up was Giant, which was more like a Tight Hybrid. Race organiser (the man behind T-Boards), Robert Thiele, came first in the Pros. Arturs Liskovs of Latvia was first in Ams (with a faster time than Robert Thiele). Radan Knoblock of Stuttgart came first in Masters. I came sixth and Alec eighth (‘the oldest skateboarders in the world,’ according to the race commentator).

Next was Hybrid, which was more like Special Tight. There was a degree of gamesmanship for Alec’s benefit, via Swedish Sk8 Wizard Pelle Plast, advising Alec to ride his trucks so loose that they flapped about like a landed coy carp, but Alec corrected any perilous adjustments by his final run. After qualifiers, we were split into groups of eight, from A down to E.

Richard vs Pelle.
Photo by Aisha-Mila Urbanova

The Pros cleaned up the A Group; first was Ukraine’s Stanislav Mironenko, second Robert Thiele, third Christoph “Homer” Baumann, the German with a GOG truck named after him. Alec and I were placed in the D group, I came second, Alec was fourth. During this race, I attempted to fit a softer bushing to my perfect new trucks; this didn’t end well. The spherical bearing wouldn’t budge, resulting in a number of burly skaters wrestling with the jammed hanger and walloping the once perfect red anodized finish with a hammer….sigh.

Finally it was time for the tighter than a gnat’s chuff (five and a half point centre on a hill) tight slalom course. [Note to the UKSSA, when the Brits set a similar course for Pros at the Euros/Hog Hill three years ago (an act of British bravado), the Europeans seemed amused but started practicing and racing this spacing from then on, the Brits did not; we need to race tighter, more technical courses in the UK to compete with the Internationals]. 

Stanislav won Pros. Tom Dreiblats of Germany won Ams. Radan came first in Masters. I came fourth and Alec fifth.

This was a very friendly and relaxed race, both Alec and myself won prizes and medals (I came overall sixth Master, Alec a very respectable eight Master). There was a party, with free beer and a band, and most impressively, we were given hot freshly baked pizza for lunch!  

Alec and Richard with their medals on the Masters Podium
Photo by Aisha-Mila Urbanova

Word on the hill is that The Worlds 2016 may be in Stuttgart; I intend to attend.


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