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.
The continuing story of Dawg and his quest for hills thrills and spills Words by Mr Adam Yates esquire Word of the Day: "Tu Meke" (too mek eh) - Too Much The main plan was to get to Jacko in Hamilton by mid arvi. Usual runtime time in the morning eh. The crew are getting it down, so it all just runs pretty smooth, we're getting it organised reasonably early. Today we're chasing a road that never been sk8d on the other side of Lake Rotorua. For those that are familiar with Makara, it was to be like it! exciting!!! yeah, aghhhh, not really. Mondo rough and not anything really that exciting. Don't knock me though. still sick to be out on the road n turning wheels. Wake up and Roll ya know!! yew!! So we been learning maori words for the last two days. Bodhi's doin a hell job throwin down the local knowledge. Today's Maori word was "Tu Meke". it means too much. Yesterday's word was "Waka"(waa ka). This one I liked. It is simply the vessel that gets you from A to B. That be anything that transports your arse, e.g.: LONGBOARD or Canoe? Hamilton, again for me, but the for the Tour was to be their first visit to see the man and how he'd pulled up from his surgery. I'm sooo glad that he's got his mumzi here. Made his stay a great deal more homely I'm sure, yeah mumzi!! Lea had gone out and got Jacko a rad caramel mud cake and 23 shitty poof candles. yew!! Reckon he had no worries smashing the lot! ha. Off to Whangamate ( funga-mada) for the night. 90 minutes North of Hamilton. On the way we passed through a town called Tirua, aka "Tin town". Everything here was tin. Tin dawg, tin sheep, tin car, tin flowers. Token ozzi, Shazza (ville) has taken the challenge of makin rad words out of Concrete Wave stickers. Team JEDUS is born with everyone getting one of Shazza's DIY creations. Shitty weather has set in. nooooo. I'm really hoping that the weather clears up. Headin up the north I think we're in for some clearer weather and smoother roads. Talks been about this hill, Coromandel. meant to be pretty sweet, butter smooth and a heap of turns eh, can't wait. Lets hope the rain gods are on our side and they'll allow mondo jedus stoke sessions to take place. Bodhi again has hooked up the accommodation at a backpackers and smashing some grub Bucko's, the local pub with grub n cold beer. Please rain gods, let us see the sun an some blue skies, meke aroha ( much love). Dawg
Before I post the big one, I have to catch up and tell you a tale by Gabe that landed in my inbox. There will be a few posts today, be patient, I'll get to them all in the next hour. It will become apparent fairly quick why there has been no NZ blog posts the last 48 hours. Words by Gabe Gwynne We awoke late on Sunday morning, some had decided to hit the town the night before and it was pretty late in the day before we rounded the whole crew into the van and off to the slide jam that had been mentioned at the race the day before. The prospects were looking good as we rolled up into the suburban estates of North Wellington. But as we neared the top it became apparent that the hill was copping a gnarly headwind....FUUUUUUCK! After a handful of full tuck slide hill runs [yes, you literally had to tuck into each slide] Team Hopkin decided to not be a part of the competition. We chilled and jammed down the hill while the local groms battled it out for domination of the full tuck slide hill. After a solid couple of hours of jamming the hill, the winners were announced. In first place was young Luke Steezy Scott, the kid was killing it all day with his smooth toeside 180's and switch checks. Just behind him with pretty much equal steeze was Ryan MacMillan. Unfortunately we forgot the name of the dude who got 3rd, he was a tiny grom in a red shirt who was ripping mega monkey heel styles down the hill with some serious balls. Whoever you were little grom dude, you were rad! After a few full runs of the estate the jam was held on, we jumped in the van and followed the convoy of cars to a skatepark a few minutes down the road. As we came around the corner and saw the park there was an eruption of frothing and general stoke. I had never seen a park like this before, every single bank had a perfect transition for getting pitted on a longboard. The banks were massive, flowy and smooth and to make it even better there was a goddamn bomb INTO THE PARK! You could pick how far up the hill you wanted to bomb in from for ultimate pittage. After a quick jam I decided to chill in the sun and take some shots of the boys ripping it up - hope you like them!
Opens 1st Jackson Shapiera, 2nd Adam Yates, 3rd Kelly Carter Womens 1st Marisa Nunez, 2nd Rachael London, 3rd Amy Stoke London Groms: 1st Alex Knight, 2nd Luke Steezy, Scott 3rd Finn Boyle Jackson gives us the skinny on what when down: After having a pretty relaxed day yesterday skating some sick mountain runs just outside of town, getting pitted by trucks and ripping through different pavements on hairpin corners we chilled at the villa and had the mondo feed, settling in for rest before the big race day. We all got up nice and early ready to get amongst it. Leathers were on before we left to stretch em in and warm em up before tucking down a crazy rough and windy hill. Rocking up to the event true skate team style blaring tunes and jumping out of the van handing out stickers stoking out the crew getting pumped up to race. I had attended this race last year but not as a rider due to shoulder injury so I was there to witness the carnage caused by the rough road and had some form of idea that it was going to be hideous to ride, but I was not actually prepared on how unpredictable the racing would be. Trying to get a good solid line through the first corner was tricky, it was a steep drop into a solid hairpin with shit pavement that was gritty, had pot holes and rough as guts. cooking wheels and sliding out was an easy task, there were many upsets on this bend for sure. After the bend was a long sweeping chicane section that was steep and fast, and an easy spot to pick off people's draft. Following that was a nice uphill section for fat fuckers like myself to charge over and into the next two corners; a sweeping right hand bend (that was surprisingly smooth!) into a tight dropping left that was a nightmare to slide. The pavement was so dodgy and slippery in the pre-drift zone that trying to pull that early slide move just caused fade-out action. The only option was to just rip into the turn and drift the board through the apex, try your best to hook up and roll onto the finish line. The day was long due to the double elimination format with 1-on-1 racing. You needed to loose twice to be out of the mix. If you lost one of your heats you were moved into the loser's bracket with still a chance to make the finals, however if you blow it twice your done. The team were all shredding but we all sampled the gnar and had many many upsets. I hit the hay once and then on the same run went off the edge of the road riding a haybail down the hill, then had to climb down another 15m to retrieve my board. Yates hit a pot hole after the finish line and got launched into the bank for a mud swim, kam 50-50 grind the gutter and launched, Luca had mondo footshift through the first bend due to bumps and went into the next turn super monkey-toe and slid off, even Lea's puck got caught in the cracks and ripped off. One of her race heats she was infront and lost a puck through the first lefty, however managed to stay on her board and rode on with one puck. She then swapped it to her left hand for the final corner but unfortunately she needed to put her hand down in the righty, got it jammed on the bend and popped the shoulder, which meant she was unable to continue racing. I managed to make it through the rounds without losing, having a few tight heats with local NZ shredders and finally matching up against the wingman yate-dawg in the final. Kam and Kelly battled through to the end with Kam knocking out Benbro and Kelly then taking out Kam to face off with Yates for a spot in the finals. Yates was in the zone and was ready to take the grom to school, frothing on making it back in the mix to race again in the finals with me. Unfortunately for him he was a little too stoked and went into the first corner too hot and wiped out, letting me sail through to take the win. Super stoked with the day, the weather was awesome and everyone was having a great time. Big ups to Bhodie (N-Tense D-Cents bus driver) for driving the shuttle bus all day, and also to Speedy and Max Gordy for running the show for us. We're off to the pub now to party on!