That was Matt Corder's comment today on the Newtons Playground 2008 video on the Hopkin Vimeo channel. I have been wanting to do an article on my favourite moments from Newtons 2008-2013. Mainly because ASRA is not going back to Bathurst anytime soon. They are not saying never, just it is unlikely with the current Council arrangement. The next Australian World Cup will likely be 2015 and in Wollongong. I'm not going to do the top ten moments now, and it might not appear on the blog, it might be published elsewhere. However, the legend of Ethan Lau of 2008 is definitely in my top ten. For our overseas readers, let me paint the picture. Bathurst is in country NSW. During the week, Mt Panorama is quiet. Just locals going about their business and a few wannabe racers having a crack. Mt Panorama is an unusual mountain. It is a world class race track, built on a mountain and on a public road. This means anytime, outside of a race day, Joe Average can drive the track and pretend they are racing. It is heavy patroled by the police and monitored by the locals who live there. That's right, the mountain has 8 residents. Mainly farmers, a few have fruit orchards. Why Mt Panorama is iconic in the Australian skateboard community is everyone dreams of bombing the big hill. We all grew up watching racing on the mountain. And a few of our crew grew up bombing the mountain illegally and telling tales to inspire everyone. Rob McWhinnie grew up in Bathurst. Basement Skate owner Robbo went to University at the bottom of the hill. There are many other tie ins, such as Fitzy, who was instrumental in Newtons being successful in 2008. So Mt Panorama Bathurst can be a dry, hot, lonely place. Especially if you are part of the ASRA crew hay baling. In 2008 there were too many haybales (over 6000!! We used 750 in 2017), who knew what was going to happen, ASRA just didn't want to kill anyone, so everything got haybaled! On Conrod straight, no one around, a few guys pulling haybales off a truck and a Hawaiian appears out of nowhere, eating fruit. WTF. Where did you come from? It was Ethan Lau. Proclaiming Bathurst was one of his favorite places in the world. He had the mountain to bomb, it was quiet, there was fruit everywhere to eat. Nirvana! Had he been here all week sleeping the the orchard? Farmers are the same all over the world. They find someone in their orchard, they are going to shoot first and ask questions later. So the ASRA crew had to give Ethan some guidelines, such as no bombing the hill until it gets officially closed tomorrow...wear some shoes...don't get shot by a farmer. There might be some embellishment there, but it doesn't matter. We created the Ethan legend that year, and we told groms everywhere. This Hawaiian walked out of an orchard on Conrod Straight carrying a Sector 9 longboard you could buy at any surf shop, and he nearly won Newtons!! I don't know how many Aussies have been inspired by that story, but it is one of my most favorite memories of Newtons. Even in 2008, Sector 9 was "we make fun". Have you watched the Newtons 2008 TV show? Grab a peach from the orchard, chill out for half an hour and enjoy.
All Moss'd Out, was run and won on Monday. If you were not there, it was a great day and we only got a little bit wet. Here is the big grom myth about the rain: It is not more dangerous, it is just different. You'll have more fun, and it helps your freeride/slide technique. In an interview with Api in 2009 and he said this about his progression:
I thought sliding was impossible, it wasn't until one day I was out skating and the road was wet, I tried a 180 in the rain and my board did it then it pulled back to normal and there was my first pendulum. Once I got that down I learnt a bunch of slides and variations, like colemans, 360s, stand up 180s and some switch slides.
Back to Moss'd out. It rained all morning, roads were soaked, volunteers got wet but were stoked. All Moss'd out is held on a sweet hill in Mosman/Clifton Gardens. The locals and residents were chill, no one called the police. The ranger came for a drive by and a look, and was happy. The hill starts with a small hand hand sweep and then into a left hairpin (not that intense more of a dogleg) Another steep hill in to a right hand corner, into a hill that goes to the most intense corner, a real hairpin to the finish. One of the great features of the course is a series of steps and pathways that take you all the way to the top in a direct line, you don't have to walk back up the road to the start.
With rain on the whole road, the course went from hard to challenging. A few things happen when it rains to change a race. The speed and the racing slows down, which suits the inexperienced. Sandbagging becomes easier and more effective. Why? It becomes more effective because the competitive racers will push themselves into the corners, take more risks and crash more often. (Sandbagging is the art of starting behind the leaders, drafting or waiting for a mistake: aka doin a Bradbury). Steven Bradbury is the Australian Patron Saint of Sandbagging.
Racing was a series of three rounds, everyone racing each other for points to sort out the places for the final racing. Everyone moved through tot eh final tree. It was a standard tree of racing - 4 racers per race. 1st and 2nd progress to the next round. Finals and placings were: 1st Robdog 2nd Matty Rae 3rd Callum 4th Jake It was great seeing all the skaters traveling from Bathurst, Newcastle, Central Coast and Wollongong. I was disappointed that Sydney crews were not well represented, a lot of missing faces. Some of the more experienced skaters don't like to get wet anymore. Big thumbs up to Maga, Ned and Ashley for all racing on the day, and we did have a girls final which was won by Ashley!
The reason you go to outlaw race events You don't have to race. You can enjoy the day by, watching the racing, or getting involved and volunteering. Nick Gibbons, Rohan, Bredon and Hugh did that. They marshaled the course, did car spotting. Nick, with random help from a few groms, on the finishline was awesome. Trav managed the startline with his usual bravado. Big thank you to those guys. Rob McWhinnie organises a lot of these outlaws. It helps support our scene, and they are also community fundraisers. Money raised goes to ASRA and also to help support Rob and Maga traveling to World Cup events. It is more than just racing, they are learning and social events. Rob goes through course with all the skaters. He was giving advice on how to skate the last corner of the event, that is experience you can not get watching online videos. Skaters travel to these events, you'll met people from all over, who might invite you to skate some of their local hills one day. PLUS you get fed! Rob is a chef, he provides food for all his events. At Pumpstation there was Minestrone soup, at Moss'd Out it was freshly made ham and salad sandwiches. At Deep End on Saturday it will be sandwiches again, and Mt Keira on Sunday will be a BBQ.
Hop's tips for wet weather events If you are coming to watch or volunteer, go get a rain poncho from the $2 shop. They usually have them, they are about $2 to $4. They'll keep you dry without having to wear heavy rain gear all day. If you racing and are worried about your board, then a few things at the end of the day's racing, will help your deck live to fight another day. Wipe it down, get all the moisture off. Turn your board upside down and spin each wheel, in a dry place, for about 2 to 5 minutes on each wheel. This will remove all the water out of your bearings, dry them out, stop them seizing up over night. You'll have to do it straight away, so on the train or bus on the way home or in the garage at home. If you have any other tips, post them up on our Facebook page or in the comments below. When are the next events? Deep End is on this Saturday 29th June Keira Kaos is on this Sunday 30th June I'll see you all there! (please note I just changed the dates, I got them wrong)
I know it has been a few days, but here it is. It was an awesome weekend. The Sydney downhill scene grew up on Mt Keira. It is where the Hopkin Racing team honed their skills and introduced new riders to downhill. There has always been a dream to hold an event on this mountain. ASRA has spent nearly two years negotiating with Wollongong Council to get the event cleared and sanctioned. The commitment and dedication of a few has resulted in an amazing new track on the World Cup scene. However, all dreams need to be funded. There were three important sponsors: Ourselves (Hopkin Racing). Orangatang Wheels and Landyachtz longboards. Both those companies have gifted the Australian longboard community with a sponsorship deal that will stoke us for many years. It was a big ask and we are grateful for the support. The other people (skateboarding's power couple) that contributed and never get a mention is John and Christine from JHS Distribution, without their generous support we would not have had the capital to run Mt Keira. These events survive on a knife edge of funding. You want to know what happened. When I arrived on the mountain on Sunday morning, there was carnage. The road was slightly wet from the night, and the corners were slippery. Two big crashes affected the Hopkin Racing Team. Lea went down and dislocated her shoulder, and Luca crashed and smashed the back of his helmet. He was wearing the new Predator, and I have seen the helmet, the Predator saved his life. More on that later, but Luca hit his head at the worst position, at the back, the Predator absorbed the impact, the outer layer took the force and the shell remained in tact. As the morning progressed the track dried up. Mid morning the heats began and the racing was eye popping. What makes this track so great is the length and gradient. It is fast all the way, not too technical as you can rail all the corners with a bit of air braking, but it is long enough to create close tight races. The only surprises in the first round was how many Australian juniors were progressing. Particularly Dejan Djukic who quickly got the Striker nickname of "mustard". You know you have made it when Striker nicknames you! What was impressive about mustard was that he qualified for the final 64 by winning through the repechage rounds. He would only be stopped by the Arbor team riders James Kelly and Duke Degen in the quarters. Who else kept racing all day was young gun Will Morphett. He also progressed via the repechage and got knocked out in the quarter finals. Can you imagine the nerves of steel this guy had, raced for two days to find himself in a final sixteen up against Dalua, Kyle Martin and Tony Graves. New Zealand youngster Api also showed that our cousins across the ditch have what it takes. He also made the final sixteen but raced up against Louis Pilloni, P-swiss and Matt Kienzle and was knocked out. The remaining Hopkin Racing team were knocked out in round two, and no shame in that. There was tight hard fast racing against the best skaters in the world. It goes to show that racing on Mt Kiera is a bit different to freeriding. One mistake or mis judgement and your out. Every race was super competitive and Round Two was where it all happened. On a race tree, round 2 is where 16 racers do not progress and there are always big names that bow out. The Australian Round Two curse continues for Mischo. He got caught in the rough at the start and fell over on his push. He never recovered and could not catch the field. Where is that rough section? Locals secret, Mischo knows where it is now, maybe he'll tell you or kept it for his advantage next year! There were two hero performances within the Hopkin racing Team. That of Kelly Carter and Lea Robertson. Lea dis located her shoulder on Sunday morning. She had it gaff taped up and raced the women's draw. Made the finals and came a board lengths away from winning on debut in an IGSA World Cup race!! It started to rain during the women's final and on crash corner Lea had the inside opening drafting Marisa and as she dove in to overtake her board slipped out and she crashed into the hay bales. Marisa crashed too but she managed to get on her board faster and win the race. Kelly Carter dislocated his shoulder on Saturday. It did not stop him competing in the junior round. He made it to the final. Lead into the final corner getting drafted by Jayden Mitchell, and had one small wob on his board which gave Jayden the opening to pass and win. He lost by a board length but in my mind he did not lose that race, he has just shown that even with a busted wing he is still one of the best juniors in Australia. That leads us to Jayden Mitchell. Not much I can say, his performance speaks for itself. In the after race ASRA meeting it was generally agreed that the best racer of the event was Jayden Mitchell. There is no award, if there was it would be Most Valuable Racer award. Not only did he dominate the juniors, he matched it with the best in the world and represented Australia in the open downhill final. The Australian scene has been watching his progress over the last 2 years. He has won a few junior races and a few outlaws. He definitely has stepped it up. He was racing on a Early prototype called Olive, another longboarders pro model, who knows, it could be released under Jayden's name! I was on the finish line for the finals. When it started to rain, we all yelled over the radio to the startline to start the open standup downhill final first. We thought the track would still be a bit dry but it was too late. Wet track, which resulted in a chaotic final. Most of the men crashed multiple times. It shattered Dalua's race lines. Only Alex Tongue managed to stay up and finish first. Watch all the videos below, the racers tell the story in their own words of what happened. It has been dry so far this week in Bathurst for Newtons Nation which starts Friday. Dalua holds the course record and he is itching for revenge. I would not be surprised if he smashes the course record and becomes the first downhill longboarder to break 1 minute on Mt Panorama. I could write stories all day. There was excitement in every race. Thousands and thousands of people showed up and crowded the course to watch. Hopefully we have inspired one of those young locals and he or she will grow up and compete in a Mt Keira race in the future and take on the world's best. Thank you to the residents of Wollongong for having us in your city. We love the Gong. See you all next year.