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Kevin Reimer (CAN) leads Mike Zietsman (RSA) on a practice run. Photo Jon Huey

Goldendale Washington - After a year of preparation and three solid days of venue construction, the Maryhill Festival of Speed started today under a combination of cloudy skies and bright sunshine!

The big story of the day was the strong winds that gusted throughout the day and created havoc for the organizers. Fences were blown down, tents destroyed and even one of the concession stands was overturned. In spite of the wind, all of the racers seemed to be having a great time anyway. There were smiles everywhere as old friendships were rekindled and new ones created.

Rietema, Erban, Lang and Siegrist on the radio promoting the Festival of Speed. Photo: Lorraine Reynolds

In the morning three time IGSA World Champion Martin Siegrist, number 2two ranked Mischo Erban, 2007 Maryhill Street Luge Champion Matthias Lang and IGSA President Marcus Rietema were the guest speakers at the Kiwanas Club breakfast. Next they were the featured guests on local radio station KLCK. They discussed the Festival of Speed and their personal experiences racing around the world. They also answered questions from listeners who called in. From the radio station it was on to the venue for the first day of practice.

3X World Champion Martin Siegrist (SUI) showing his Championship form. Photo Jon Huey

2006 Series Champion Fredrik Lindstrom (SWE) is looking strong. Photo Jon Huey

With the 2008 IGSA World Championships on the line, the event has attracted the best talent from around the globe. In addition to Siegrist and Erban, riders gunning for the World Champion title include 2007 IGSA World Cup Series Champion Erik Lundberg from Sweden, 2007 Maryhill winner and current number one in points Scott “Scoot” Smith, 2008 Peyragudes Deluxe Cup winner Kevin Reimer just to name a few. The event is shaping up to be one of if not the biggest events of all time.

Riders preparing at the start. Photo Jon Huey

Ethan Lau (USA) negotiating the final corner. Photo Marcus Rietema

Practice got underway around 9:30 am and the wind was already gusting. As the morning went on the wind steadily increased. At noon the riders took a lunch break after taking three morning runs. After lunch the wind began gusting to speeds of approximately 100 kph (60 mph)! Fences were blown down and bales of straw were even being blown off the hill. It gave the riders an enormous tail wind down some of the straights and a speed robbing headwind out of some corners.

Chris McBride (USA) and an unidentified Classic luger suffered this huge wreck. Fortunately neither were injured.
Photo Jon Huey

quinn dubois
9 year old Quinn DuBouis (CAN) showed impressive form. Photo Jon Huey

The only incident of the day occurred when Anne Harding slid out on a heel side left hander and took a hard fall. The crash left her in a lot of pain and a dislocated shoulder. After the EMT’s brought her to the bottom, Anne visited the hospital where her shoulder was put back in place. She was told to take it easy for a few days before resuming competition. Her current plans are to take Thursday off and come back for qualifying on Friday.

Anne Harding (CAN) was feeling much better at the mexican dinner. Photo Marcus Rietema

mex dinner
Racer dinner party at Ayala's Mexican Restaurant. Photo Marcus Rietema

In the evening more than 120 of the competitors went to Ayala’s Mexican Restaurant for a $6.00 Mexican dinner. A great time was had by all and the food was excellent. The IGSA would like to give special thanks to Jim Allyn from Allyn’s Building Center. Jim has worked tirelessly to make the Festival of Speed a success and has donated large amounts of time, money and building materials to the event. Thank you Jim!!!

Allyn's Building Center is a major sponsor of the Festival of Speed!!!

For additional reports on the Maryhill Festival of Speed and huge galleries of event photos please visit


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