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 Switzer Wins KozakovDSB Podium 2
Patrick Switzer on top of the Kozakakov podium flanked by Jackson Shapiera & Jakob Raab.  Photo Dave Kessler

Kozakov, Czech Republic- Patrick Switzer from Ontario, Canada stormed to victory in today's Kozakov Challenge Downhill Skateboarding final.  Jackson Shapiera from Australia was second while German Jakob Raab who is virtually unknown outside of Europe earned the final podium spot in third. James Kelly was fourth.

The Consolation Final was won by Sebastian Hertler from Germany placing him in fifth. Canadian George Mackenzie was sixth.  Maryhill winner Ramon Konigshausen from Switzerland was seventh and World Champion slalom racer Dominik Kowalski from Germany was eighth.
The Kozakov rider's tent was the focal point for much of the weekend.  Photo Dave Kessler

The entire race weekend had been hampered by rain.  Practice on Wednesday morning was delayed by four hours due to rain.  Due to the high speed, sweeping corners on the top and bottom of the course where speeds in excess of 110 km/h are routine, the organizers would not allow riding under wet conditions for safety reasons. Thursday's scheduled practice and first qualifying run were completely canceled due to severe wind, thick fog and more rain.

IGSA rules state that in the event that timed qualifying is not possible all riders should "Pea-pick" for their starting positions and that all riders must be placed into a bracket.  With 141 riders registered in Downhill Skateboarding alone, this would have required a racing bracket for 256 riders.  Such a bracket does not exist and would not be possible to complete given the limited time available.  The rule book goes on to say that in the event that there are too many riders, the next option is to place the riders in the bracket based on their finishing positions in the previous years IGSA World Rankings.  Neither of these options were very appealing and there was still a very real threat of rain on Saturday.  The complete cancelation of the event was a distinct possibility if the rain would not subside.
Riders Meeting
The rider's tent was packed each night.  Photo Dave Kessler

On Friday morning, IGSA Officials Marcus Rietema and Norman Kinnish approached the organizers with a plan to shorten the track by removing the fastest sections on the top and bottom.  The organizers agreed to the plan feeling the shortened track could be run safely in wet conditions.  Although it was still raining, the fog was lifting and the severe wind had subsided.  Finally after more than two hours clearing debris from the track, a wet weather practice session began at 4:00 p.m.

Patrick Switzer was the first skateboarder to make a qualifying run.  He described his run as "Mistake free and nearly perfect" setting a time of 1:32.359.  126 additional skateboarders followed Switzer making qualifying attempts yet no one could beat his time.  Shapiera was second, Konigshausen third and Robin Sandberg fourth.  With one round of qualifying complete, race organizers and officials could now breath a sigh of relief.  Fair brackets could now be created and in the event of more severe weather, final results could be generated if additional skateboarding was not possible.

After three solid days of rain, the sun was finally shining on Saturday morning.  It had not been possible to run Street Luge and Classic Luge qualifying on Friday due to darkness.  The start of practice on Saturday was delayed an hour while more debris was cleaned from the track.

Street Luge qualifying was up first and the full course would be used for the day.  Yvon Labarthe from Switzerland qualified number one followed by Will Stephenson from Great Britain in second. Austrian Michael Serek was third,  Mickel Echegaray-Diez from Spain fourth and Abdil Mahdzan from Malaysia rounded out the top five.
Mickel Echegaray-Diez surprised many by qualifying #1 in Classic Luge.  Photo Dave Kessler

Classic Luge qualifying was next.  This time it was Echegaray-Diez earning his first number one qualifying position at a World Cup. Serek was second, Phil Champion from Australia third, Labarthe fourth and Pete Eliot fifth.

With qualifying complete it was finally time to start racing.  First up were the 8-13 year old Junior I Downhill Skateboarders.  Lenny Gires led a German sweep of the podium.  He was followed by Gero Kalb in second and Pedro Dederer in third.
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Spencer Smith dominated the Junior II race.  Photo Dave Kessler

Next up were the 14-17 year old Junior II's.  American Spencer Smith came back from a severely dislocated shoulder suffered a few weeks ago at Maryhill to win the race. Swede Fredrik Molin overcame his own adversity to finish second.  In the Semi-Finals he crashed heavily resulting in a deep gash to his knee.  Fredrik was able to still win his heat and transfer to the Finals.  After the race his knee would require five stitches to close up the wound.  Gabin Piton from France was third.
Katie Neilson earned her second consecutive World Cup victory.  Photo Dave Kessler

Women's Downhill Skateboarding was the next race on tap.  With a final featuring Maryhill winner Katie Neilson and arch rival Rebekka Gemperle it was shaping up as round number two of the Katie and Rebekka show.  Unfortunately things didn't quite work out for Rebekka.  In the final Katie took the lead followed by Marie Bougourd in second, Gemperle in third and newcomer Kari Havnevik from Norway in fourth.  As they approached the first corner Bougard who comes from France suffered speed wobbles and crashed.  Unable to avoid Bougard, Gemperle also crashed enabling Havnevik to sail by and earn second place in her very first World Cup race.  Bougourd would recover to finish third.  Fortunately Gemperle was uninjured in the crash.
Michael Serek on the way to his 15th IGSA World Cup victory.  Photo Dave Kessler

Dr. Michael "Flying Dentist" Serek earned his 15th IGSA World Cup race victory in Classic Luge.  The Austrian continues to dominate the class and is clearly number one on the IGSA all time World Cup win list.  Echegaray Diez was second, Labarthe third, Russel Naude from South Africa fourth and Pierre Hardillier from France fifth.

In Street Luge, Echegaray Diez earned his first ever World Cup victory.  Labarthe was second, Naude third, Eliot fourth and Michael Muller from Germany rounded out the top five.
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The Pass: In the Semi-Finals Patrick Switzer was sitting in third place behind GOG team mates  Dominik Kowalski (right) and Sebastian Hertler (left).  Switzer decided to shoot the gap between the two riders (black leathers) while they were foot braking.  Once past he made a quick slide to check his speed and then went on to win the heat. 
Photo sequence by Dave Kessler

After a brief, five day break, the World Cup Series will return for round three in Insul, Germany. Practice and qualifying are set to begin on Friday.  On Saturday there will be more qualifying followed by a Repacharge (last chance) race. Final eliminations are set for Sunday.  We'll have all the action for you here at

Open DH Skateboarding Final Results
1. Patrick Switzer, Canada
2. Jackson Shapiera, Australia
3. Jakob Raab, Germany
4. James Kelly, United States
5. Sebastian Hertler, Germany
6. George Mackenzie, Canada
7. Ramon Konigshausen, Switzerland
8. Dominik Kowalski, Germany
9. Kyle Martin, Canada
10. Stefan Rufli, Switzerland


Women's DH Final Results
1. Katie Neilson, Canada
2. Kari Havnevik, Norway
3. Marie Bougourd, France
4. Rebekka Gemperle, Switzerland
5. Dasha Kornienko, Canada/Ukraine
6. Lenka Salacouva, Czech Republic
7. Tamara Prader, Switzerland

Kozakov Jr I Final Results
1. Lenny Gires, Germany
2. Gero Kalb, Germany
3. Philipp Schickor, Germany
4. Pedro Dederer, Germany


Kozakov Jr II Final Results
1. Spencer Smith, United States
2. Fredrik Molin, Sweden
3. Gabin Piton, France
4. Oriol Galvez, Spain
5. Pierre Conan, France
6. Daniel Peterson, Norway
7. Henning Patricksson, Norway
8. Fredrik Wangsten, Sweden
9. Jens Dydland, Norway
10. Raul Clavadetscher, Switzerland

Kozakov Classic Luge Final Results
1. Michael Serek, Austria
2. Mickel Echegaray-Diaz, Spain
3. Yvon Labarthe, Switzerland
4. Russell Naude, South Africa
5. Pierre Hardillier, France
6. Helene Schmitt, France
7. Cedric Robert, Switzerland
8. Peter eliot, Great Britain
9. Joachim Lang, Germany
10. Georg Klotzberg, Austria

Street Luge Final Results
1. Mickel Echegaray-Diaz, Spain
2. Yvon Labarthe, Switzerland
3. Russell Naude, South Africa
4. Peter Eliot, Great Britain
5. Michael Muller, Austria
6. Jacek Ptak, Poland
7. Joachim Lang, Germany
8. Cedric Robert, Switzerland
9. Abdil Mahdzan, Malaysia
10. Alexander Frischauf, Austria
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