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.
Here are a few videos from Day one practice session. Simple phone videos with Jacko voice overs. The track was wet, it was slippery. The days results are up on ASRA. Louis Pilloni was the fastest today followed by P Swiss. Best placed Aussie is Ben Hay sitting third. Yatesy is 9th and Cam is 17th. Lea is the top placed woman qualifier and is sitting 56th in the open which damn fine for her first IGSA race! Hopkin Racing team has never been better placed in a world cup event. Adam Yates, Mischo, Dalua and Switzer all cruise past in this practice run. IGSA Mt Keira race Day 1 practice Steez corner followed by faceplant and Tony Graves inspecting the haybales. IGSA Mt Keira race Day 1 practice with Tony Graves Rob McWhinnie shows us how to crash into the haybales. IGSA Mt Keira race Day 1 practice with Rob McWhinnie Louis Pilloni shows us the right way to crash into hay bales. IGSA Mt Keira race Day 1 and crashing with Louis Pilloni
Teutonia 2011 through Jackson Shapiera's eyes: The day is done and a Champion is born. Mischo Erban dominated the race and was crowned 2011 IGSA world champion. Riding the hill for the first time is a scary thing. Getting comfortable on it and trying to gain speed and control is the next step. But racing someone down the hill is a whole new level. Once you hit a certain speed, the power of a draft is amplified so much. Being able to sit in someone's slip stream and time it right means you can boost on past and take the lead, however passing too soon opens up the opportunity for your opponent to get into your draft and pass you back. Finding the right time to make a pass is key, but one of the most difficult things to do while racing on this hill. If you let your opponent get too far ahead at the start and you have no draft, game over. If you make a pass too soon and open up for your opponent down the straight at the end, game over. Its so hard to pick the right time to pass, you have to make decisions quickly and figure it out as you go. Having experience on this hill is important. It really showed that the people who have skated and raced here before are the ones who come out on top. It would be extremely hard for one to just show up for the first time and win (unless your name is Kevin Reimer). The Brazilians who know this hill train so hard to be strong for the race, once you go up against someone who is OG at Teutonia, your day is pretty much over. My first round I was lucky enough to have someone with not much experience on the hill, so I pretty much got a free ticket to round two. The next round I had an amazing race with a local Brazilian. Not sure how many times he has raced here before but he gave me a run for my money! The lead changed 3 times before hitting the sweeper, and I decided to open up coming into the turn to try get into a good position for the straight. After he passed me through the turn I got right back into the draft and as we hit over 100kph, it was like pressing the button for the nitrous, and boom away I went! Unfortunately for me, my qualifying position was not ideal, so the next round I was up against Kevin Reimer. It was so good be on the race track with Kevin again, physically he might not be 100%, but mentally he is in perfect form. This is key for racing this hill. I pretty much didn't stand a chance, his start was much better than mine and he was able to pick a quick line through the first drop to pull away and give me no draft at all. I was unable to keep up with him coming into the steep section so he pretty much just peaced out and owned the place. It was unfortunate that my day was over, but in a way it was good as I was able to sit on the track and watch some amazing racing unfold. Coming into the Semi Finals, it was the same 4 riders as last year: Kevin, Danky, Mischo and Dalua. However this year the positions had swapped. Mischo was facing Kevin, Danky was facing Dalua. Mischo had been in top form all day, he was happy with his ability and technique on the hill and after every run there was the biggest smile on his face. The one who is winning is usually the one having the most fun. Coming into the straight, Mischo had a solid lead on Kevin, he was able to carry his speed and distance all the way to the finish line and claim the first spot in the finals. In the 2nd round of the Semi Finals, Danky was leading Dalua down the final straight. Danky has lots of experience on this hill and knows how to hold a solid tuck. Dalua was so close behind that when he would get a speed boost from the draft, he did not have enough distance to build up momentum to get passed him. Unfortunately for Dalua, he was stuck behind Danky all the way to the finish line and did not make it into the finals. In the finals, Kevin and Dalua were swapping the lead into the final straight and ended up in a drag race, side by side. Kevin was forced onto the left lane and hit the same chunder patch Dalua hit last year in the finals, he broke tuck for a split second and allowed Dalua to take the lead and claim 3rd place. With Mischo against Danky, it was all over before it began. Mischo's skill on the hill was far superior than Danky's on this day, and he was charging way out in front all the way to the finish line. It was such an amazing race to watch, the demand for skill and precision on this track is something I was not expecting. Being a part of this race has really opened my eyes to a new form of racing and I feel privileged to experience it. The day before I rode the hill, I was shitting my pants and afraid of what was to come. The day after the race, I was already so excited to come back for more! Videos from Jackson's mobile Second Semi Final Teutonia 2011 Danky vs DaluaFinal of 2011 IGSA World Championships Teutonia Mischo vs Danky