Passing the Torch
Bathurst, Australia- The Women's Downhill Skateboarding race at Newton's Nation brought together a really strong field of the world's best on the super challenging Mount Panorama track. Brianne Davies has totally dominated the sport for the past three years. She won consecutive IGSA World Championships in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Brianne was also the 2008 and 2010 IGSA World Cup Series Champion scoring a perfect 1800 points on both occasions.
In addition, she was named Concrete Wave Magazine Speedboarder of the Year in 2009. This was the first time the prestigious award had ever been awarded to a woman. Brianne has broken new ground for female downhill skateboarders all over the world and has often beaten a large number of the men while racing in the Open Division.
Prior to Newton's Nation, she let many of her friends know that Australia would be her last race. The demands of continually competing at a high level along with the pressure of sponsors have taken their toll. Brianne also wants to finish her studies and realize her dream of becoming a firefighter.
For the past few years, Katie Nielson has had Brianne sqaure in her sights. They've competed numerous times with Katie getting closer and closer to matching Brianne's performance and even beaten her on a few occassions. Katie has known that Newton's would be her final chance to race against Brianne on one of the toughest tracks in the world. With support from her sponsor Sector 9, she was able to make the trip to Australia and fulfill her dream of racing Brianne one more time.
In addition to Brianne and Katie, the field of women racing at Newton's was deep with 2009 IGSA World Cup Series Champion Dasha Kornienko and World Speed Record Holder Dominique Vukorep also competing. In Friday's timed qualifying, we got a glimpse of just how competitive the Women's race would be. Katie set the fastest time with a 1:06.056. Dominique was second with a 1:06.734 and Brianne was close behind with a 1:06.756. There was only 7/10th of a second separating the three ladies!
Unfortunately Dominique was injured in Saturday's Open Qualifying race. While negotiating "The Dipper" she had another skater crash right in front of her. With nowhere to go and carrying massive speed Dominque crashed heavily. In the accident she suffered a broken wrist along with ligament damage to her knee and ankle. Sadly, Dominiques weekend was finished.
For the Women's race, the decision was made to run all five remaining women in three separate heats. The race was run in the rain with very difficult, slippery conditions. After showing she had the measure of the ladies field in the dry, Katie showed she also had it in the wet. Katie won all three of the heats in dominating fashion. Brianne was second in all three heats. The other ladies took turns swapping out the third, fourth and fifth positions.
It seemed fitting that Katie would earn the victory and assume the role as the dominant women's downhill skateboarder in the world. The torch was passed and now Brianne can relax and simply enjoy skateboarding for the fun of it.
Women's Downhill Skateboarding
1. Katie Neilson, Canada
2. Brianne Davies, Canada
3. Dasha Kornienko, Canada/Ukraine
4. Stephanie Auger, France
5. Renee Bayly, New Zealand
6. Dominique Vukorep, Canada