Course described as the world's best! Jackson Shapiera rounds the final corner toward the finish. Photo Marcus Rietema
Argonay, France- Many riders didn't know what to expect when they traveled to Argonay, France for the Graveyard Call. After all, the race was a replacement event after Almabtrieb was canceled and some said the narrow course was not worthy of World Cup status. After some of the bad reviews a number of the world's best racers were very pleasantly surprised what they found.
Scoot Smith feels Argonay is the best World Cup course. Photo Marcus Rietema
Current IGSA World Champion and World Cup Series Champion Scoot Smith (CAN) feels that Argonay is the best and most technical course on the entire World Cup circuit. James Kelly (USA) was completely blown away by the course and felt it was the most challenging he has ever ridden!
One of the great features of Argonnay is that the transport buses are able to take a different route to the top so riders can make runs continuously and the roads never need to be opened for traffic the entire day. This allows the riders to make a very large number of runs in a short period of time.
Mischo Erban 100% focused on the technical Argonay track. Photo Bob Ozman
Jonathan Martinez (FRA) through the high speed right hand sweeper. Photo Marcus Rietema
The track starts out very narrow at only about 4 meters (12') in width and works it's way through dense forrest. There is a long straightaway followed by a tight left hand hairpin. After the hairpin there is another straightaway followed by a high speed right hand sweeper. This is followed by hard ninety degree left and two more hairpin corners, and series of esses that take you by a cemetary and finally a hard, ninety degree left that sends you onto the finish straight.
Peyragudes winner Louis Pilloni (USA) enters the final left hander. Photo Marcus RietemaStreet Luge World Champion Matthias Lang (GER) headed onto the final straightaway. Photo Marcus Rietema
Martin Siegrist flying by the beautiful flowers along the track. Photo Marcus Rietema
Olivier Wagner (SUI) leads Abdil Mahdzan (MAS) down the course. Photo Marcus Rietema
Bareaud and Wagner likely out for the season
On the Tuesday after Peyragudes, Olivier Bareaud (FRA) had a severe impact with a guardrail while out freeriding and suffered a broken ankle. He will be in a cast for the next 6-8 weeks and off his skateboard for 6 months. Bareaud is severly disappointed but vows to come back stronger in 2010.
In the afternoon practice session on Friday, Olivier Wagner (SUI) went off at the exit of the high-speed sweeper suffering a huge impact. Initially he thought his ankle was broken but after a trip to the hospital, the x-rays were negative. He anticipates that his season is done but he still is hoping to make it to Eastbourne next month.
Sebastian Hertler (GER) seems to be gaining confidence and speed with each big race. Photo Marcus Rietema
Patrick Switzer (CAN) was stoked to take a run with "Yes Man" star Jean Yves Blondeau (FRA).
The day of riding ended at about 5:00pm when a rain shower came in. Photo Marcus Rietema
After a full day of riding, the organizers decided to end the session at around 5:30 pm when a rain shower came in resulting in numerous crashes. Everyone headed down to the riders building where the IGSA performed technical inspections and dinner was served.
Julian Yamba (FRA) has his equipment checked by Bob Ozman from the IGSA. Photo Marcus Rietema
Tomorrow's action begins at 9:00am with a morning practice session followed by two qualifying runs in the afternoon. We will have a detailed qualifying report and full results posted here immediately after tomorrow's qualifying runs.