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Hop Podcast #6 - Brennan Bast and skating at 140kph (87mph)


Brennan Bast, known as Bassi to skaters, is one of the fastest skaters in the world and the nicest bloke you will ever meet. Everyone's mate, a gentlemen to the core. 

As a race organiser (Newtons and Mt Keira) I have a special love for Bassi, he always haybales. Literally Bast has handled every haybale the last two years at Newtons... all 900 of them, twice! He is usually perched on top of the truck, throwing bales off, or catching and stacking them. 

I have been wanting to interview him for a long time, because he was in that legendary IDF World Cup final at Mt Keira in 2016. He was on the podium at Arirang Hill and Kozakov in 2017, finished 7th in the world in 2017!

We are haybaling at Newtons, putting bales on a truck, cleaning the track, an hour earlier Bassi has just come 2nd in the Open Downhill final, and now he is throwing haybales like they are pillows. During a break, I take the opportunity to interview Brennan, while the race is still fresh in his memory. You can hear Rob McWhinnie in the background sliding his double kick on Forest Elbow.  

First up apologises for the poor quality, but please give it a listen, there is some good stories in the interview. First 10 minutes is the Newtons interview. Then I do a phone interview for another 20 minutes. I was not using a microphone, so the sound is a bit tinny. I was recording it via my iPhone voicemail, but Telstra would only give me 5 minute long recordings. So you'll notice every 5 minutes there is a awkward edit, which is me stitching the audio together. 

What do we talk about?

The final at Newtons, what happened?

The Top Speed Challenge and Bassi skating over 140 km per hour!! What was that like and we get a real and raw answer.

Photo credits to Harfang wheels (you can buy them here)

The wet Arirang Hill race this year? How dangerous was the bottom section? How did Bassi make rain wheels for 30% of the competitors! 

We talk about Mt Keira in 2016, and how he got 2nd at Kozakov (hint a satisfying pass on Carlos at the finish).

Who is the best downhill skater in Australia at the moment? 

Can Thiago be beaten at Kozakov?

If you are new to downhill, a young person starting out, Bassi has lots of tips for you. The most important aspect you need to learn. How he got into downhill, and it was a long grind of an apprenticeship with Ado at Mt Stuart. 

Bassi's shout outs were:

Ado at cr8ive sk8
Zak Maytum
Darkspeed gloves
Ronin Trucks
Black Mamba
Vultur helmets
IDF the world downhill sanctioning body

Thank you for listening. You can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes
Podcast home is here on the website 

Find us on your favourite podcast player (we like Overcast) by searching "JAMES HOPKIN".

Suggestions, comments, requests to be interviewed, please use form on the podcast page


Ethan Lau was killing it

Ethan Lau was killing it

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.

Newton's 2008 Video Feature