Zietsman Wins Hot Heels!
Kogelberg, South Africa -Mike Zietsman from Cape Town South Africa has won today's Hot Heels Africa IGSA World Cup race. Zietsman has not competed on the World Cup circuit this year but showed he still knows how to race and win against some of the toughest racers on the planet. Ramon Konigshausen from Zurich, Switzerland finished second. Last years winner and defending IGSA World Cup Series Champion Mischo Erban from Vernon, Canada was third.
Wednesday 8th December 2010-
Anton Pratt and myself are anticipating the end of our workday as we are amped to get home and packed for Hot Heels Africa 2010. Thursday is set up day so we do our best to get to Kogelberg Biosphere nature reserve the night before so we are ready in the morning to pack hay bales. After work on Wednesday we got our gear into our cars, made sure we had everything in place, which by then it was midnight. This did not phase us, we knew that getting to the bunker on the hill was our goal and we leave for the hill. By the time we get there it's in the early hours of Thursday morning, it's pitch black on the hill with no electricity in the bunker. We unpack our gear and bunker down for the night.
Thursday morning we are greeted with a beautiful day in the Kogelberg Biosphere, we are really stoked to be back in this pristine and beautiful reserve. We had a few hours to take in the scenery before 2 truck loads of 1000 hay bales rocked up for us to set up the race course. Luckily we had help from Murry Chandler as well and a few of the workers who brought the bales. Packing out the bales took about 2 hours and 30 mins to do. As we got to the infamous Baboon bend we kept an eye out for our furry baboon friends. With just a few meters to go after baboon bend the course was finished and we had some time to get ready for Friday's practice.
Day 1, Friday 10th December- we a woke to a very strong headwind blowing up the first half of the race course and a cross tailwind blowing down after baboon bend. With registration complete and most of the riders in place we got practice underway. Day 1 was all about riding the hill and getting used to the wind as the weather bureau had forecast strong winds for the majority of the weekend, with it only dieing down on Sunday afternoon. All the riders enjoyed the hill in spite of the strong wind. By lunch time we got the call that a troop of baboons had made their way to baboon bend and were munching on some golden hay bales. We quickly made our way down there before they got stuck into the bales and chased them off. At the end of day 1 we all packed up and headed to Hangklip Hotel where local and international riders enjoyed some cold beers around the braai, discussing the hill and having a good time.
Day 2, Saturday 11th December- we were greeted with the same windy conditions as day 1. The riders made the most of it and got plenty of runs in before qualifies. Due to the head wind riding was tight and very close, there were a few bails due to riders skating hard into Lloyd's left. Just before we started with qualifying, Mikael Jensen from Norway took a run with Steffan Eliassen, Christoph Batt and Douglas Silva. Mikael came into Lloyd's with to much speed, went wide and crashed into the hay bales hard, cartwheeling down for a couple of meters. Stefan and Christoph went down as well, Douglas tried his best to negotiate the carnage and in doing so went down himself. Stefan and Christoph were ok but Mikael was semi conscious and Douglas injured his knee badly. Medics responded in seconds and made the call to take Mikael to hospital, this delayed qualifies till later in the afternoon as the ambulance met up with a second ambulance so they could get back to the hill so qualifies could proceed. With the ambulance in place qualifies began with classic luge, local rider Russel Naude took the fastest time of 1.47.41.
Street luge was up next and once again Russel put in a solid run of 1.45.18 to take the top spot. Merrick Waldish from Australia took the top spot in the junior skateboard category with a time of 2.00.06. In the open skateboard category Ramon Konigshausen from Switzerland was skating hard all day, he took the top spot with a time of 1.53.33. With qualifying starting so late all the riders only had one timed run before it got to late and all the riders headed back to Hangklip Hotel. Later that evening Mikael was fit to be released and his Norwegian friends Torbjorn Sunde and Steffan Eliassen took a drive with local rider Brad Pinto to go pick him up at the hospital. Unfortunately for Douglas he injured his knee badly, and choose not to race the next day even though he qualified 2nd. Christoph Batt also injured his wrist and broke his Magun trucks plus his skateboard in a crash, he used a borrowed board for qualifies, later that evening he had to set up a new board for Sunday's racing.
Later that evening while riders were sharing their stories of the day, I was told the chalet that Ramon, Stefan, Christoph, Robin Moodley and Brad Pinto were staying in got broken into! Funny thing is that it was a robber of a different kind, baboons! From what I was told all the rooms have burglar bars so no one can get in, how the story goes is the alpha baboon gets the smaller baboons into the room through the bars and pretty much gets them to do the dirty work of trashing the place and coming back with anything to eat! The same happened to my room on Sunday morning, these baboons are not to be taken lightly as they are extremely clever!
Day 3, Sunday, 13th December- Race day, wind was still blowing hard in the morning, the weather was forecast that the wind would drop later that day. Anton Pratt got to the hill in the early morning and was greeted once again by a troop of baboons on baboon bend have a morning snack. The wind was blowing hard up on the hill with many of the hay bales fallen over. Everyone worked together to get the bales back in their spot and chased the baboons away so we could get on with practice. All the riders were happy to be seeded with their one qualifying run and were stoked to get practice underway. The wind was swirling in the mountains and gusts of tailwinds were blowing down the straight into a very tight Lloyd's. There were plenty of crashes as the riders negotiated the tricky winds and the medics had a handful with plenty of riders crashing in both Lloyd's left and Baboon Bend. As the weather was forecast the winds died down before lunch, the Flexfit spectator shuttle was kept very busy as plenty of spectators came out to watch on race day.
After lunch riders were ready to race their final IGSA World Cup. Conditions were near perfect for racing with a light headwind on the top half and then a tailwind down the last section. With the spectators lined on Lloyd's left racing got underway with the junior skateboard finals. Merrick Waldish from Australia was up against Sam Jakins, Alyosha Diebold and Fair Cape winner Nick Hook. Merrick took the lead and held on till the end to win the junior skateboard category, unfortunately Nick took a bail in Lloyd's and came in at 4th. In the street luge category there were 9 street lugers competing to be in the final four. In the finals it was locals Russel Naude and Waldo Sweigelaar up against Peter Elliot from England and Michael Muller from Austria.
Peter Elliot flew to Cape Town hungry to win the final IGSA street luge race, all 4 came into Lloyd's left with Russel in front, as they exited the left Peter made his move on Russel and over took him going into Baboon Bend and held on to win the street luge finals and claim the IGSA world cup series. Next up was classic luge, with only 4 riders, Russel Naude, Waldo Sweigelaar, Glen Phillips and Peter Elliot, there was only one heat which was the finals. Russel Naude was not going to let this one go and charged down the course staying in front all the way to the finish to win the classic luge finals.
Open skateboard division was the last category with 46 riders entering. By the time racing approached the field had narrowed down as a handful of riders did not compete due to injuries. Racing was exciting to watch and the spectators were entertained with plenty of heats, very fast and close racing coupled with some spectacular bails. Everyone was enjoying the hill even the troop of baboons that were creating havoc on baboon bend came up to Lloyd's left, sitting just a few meters behind all the spectator watching the action, or may be finding an opportunity to steal some food.
As the heats came down to the final 8 there was a good mix of SA locals up against the international riders, in the finals it was international riders Mischo Erban from Canada and Ramon Konigshausen from Switzerland up against locals Mike Zietsman and Anton Pratt. All four riders fought hard to get into the finals. Mike Zietsman used his big push to get in front followed very closely by Ramon leading into Lloyd's left, not far behind were Mischo and Anton. Mischo was biding his time hoping to get a pass before baboon bend. The front 3 riders all came into baboon bend together followed by Anton trying to catch their draft.
The final straight was extremely close with Mike Zietsman edging a head of the group to take Hot Heels Africa 2010. Second place was so close the finish linesman had to check the video footage to see who came second, which was Ramon followed by Mischo and Anton in fourth.
All in all it was an awesome weekend with very close and tight racing that everyone loved, all the riders were super stoked on the hill and all had a great time. SAGRA would like to thank all the marshals for doing such a great job on the course, the Tygerberg Volunteers Medics, Mitsubishi for the shuttle, Redbull and for their continued support, Flexfit for the caps and the super efficient spectator shuttle, Power Band, First Nature, Mischo for the Seismic Wheels, Butlers Pizza and Cape Nature for allowing us to race this hill for the 8th year. Just one more year and we'll have organized Hot Heels Africa 10 years in a row! Hope to see you all at Hot Heels Africa 2011!
Hot Heels Africa
Downhill Skateboarding Top 8
1. Mike Zietsman, South Africa
2. Ramon Konigshausen, Switzerland
3. Mischo Erban, Canada
4. Anton Pratt, South Africa
5. Christoph Batt, Switzerland
6. Scoot Smith, Canada
7. Stephan Rufli, Switzerland
8. Matt Arderne, South Africa
Street Luge Top 8
1. Peter Elliot, Great Britain
2. Russel Naude, South Africa
3. Waldo Swiegelaar, South Africa
4. Michael Muller, Germany
5. Borris De Bel, South Africa
6. Alexander Frischauf, Austria
7. Duayne Cumpsty, South Africa
8. Glen Phillips, South Africa
Classic Luge Top 8
1. Russel Naude, South Africa
2. Waldo Swiegelaar, South Africa
3. Glen Phillips, South Africa
4. Peter Elliot, Great Britain
Junior II Downhill Skateboarding Top 8
1. Merrick Waldish, Australia
2. Alyosha Diebold, South Africa
3. Sam Jakins, South Africa
4. Nick Hook, South Africa
5. Nick Jakins, South Africa