Tarma Welcome World Cup Riders Amid Stunning Scenery
Organisers Pablo Seoane and Daniela Lazo Prepare to welcome Riders to The Copa de Los Andes at Tarma Peru.
Photo Norman Kinnish
Tarma, Peru - The pretty Andean Town of Tarma, high in the hills of central Peru is gearing itself up for an invasion of top class downhill racers this weekend.A superb 2.9km (1.8mi) course has been especially prepared by the local municipality who have thrown their wholehearted support behind the event.
Work involved removing all the central reflective road studs and placing 1000 straw bales along the entire course. Main sponsor Hotel Portales has opening it’s doors enthusiastically, welcoming the local organisers into the main foyer to run registration and technical inspection under the noses of slightly surprised non skating guests.
The course is fast and steep with exciting flowing bends. A good selection of top class local riders have registered and will be put under intense pressure on their home turf by a cohort of the world’s finest skaters.
Heading up the women’s event and wearing number five is ‘Skatie’ Katie Neilsen who has put in some impressive finishes this year. Local rider Maria Isabel Nunez, currently ranked number eight in the world will be pushing hard to preserve national honour.
The big class, Open Downhill Skateboarding sees World number one Patrick Switzer making an appearance in Peru for the first time. His finishes have been close to impeccable this year and his grip on the World Cup is not to be removed, but that will not stop other top riders pushing him as hard as possible.
Tarma is situated at an elevation that would require a light aircraft pilot to put on an oxygen mask. It remains to be seen therefore whether the top class international riders will have allowed enough time to acclimatise to the altitude. Last year Douglas Silva suffered as a consequence of oxygen depletion and has arrived early to get used to the thin air. Micho Erban is also an early arrival and has already noticed the effect of the elevation.
Tomorrow will be a fairly casual day for riders. A whole afternoon of free practice is scheduled allowing competitors to learn the course and get used to the altitude before competition proper begins on Friday with the first of two qualification runs.