Rain , Rain, Go Away...
Yvon Labathe rounds the final turn in Street Luge qualifying. Photo Pierre Gamby
Argonay, France - Friday's weather forecast was called for a 50% chance of rain in Argonay. The Graveyard Call organizers were hoping the rain would stay away long enough so that the 19 Downhill skateboarders who were unable to take their qualifying run on Thursday could finally make their runs.
Instead it was a frustrating day of rain followed by clearing skies and sunshine. The track would become about 80% dry only to have another rain shower come in and soak it all over again. The cycle repeated itself no less than three times throughout the day and at one point it was even hailing!
Will Stephenson put in a solid run to qualify second. Photo Pierre Gamby
The Argonay track asphalt is very course. When it get's wet it becomes slick like ice. The combination of the slick surface and the twisty, highly technical course persuaded the Graveyard Call organizers not to run Downhill Skateboarding on a wet track. Since a completely dry track surface like the other first run qualifiers had on Thursday never occured, the first downhill skateboarding run was never completed today.
Street Luge and Classic Luge were able to run the wet/dry surface safely. Street Luge was the first class to make a qualifying run. Halfway through the run there was a heavy downpour that halted qualifying for about 45 minutes. The track surface dried and qualifying was able to resume. As the session ended, rain came again. Yvon Labarthe posted the fastest time of the session with a 2:06.109. Will Stephenson was second with a 2:09.056 and Peter Eliot third with a 2:09.683. A second session took place later in the day after another downpour. None of the top three were able to improve their times.
Pete Eliot on his qualifying run. Photo Pierre Gamby
Classic Luge qualifying came up next. Thr track surface was quite wet at the beginning and gradually dried throughout the session. The fastest times came toward the end of the session. Yvon Labarthe was fastest with a 2:11.306. Kevin Bouaich was second with 2:13.641 and Craig Deltour third with 2:13.873. Three time World Champion Michael Serek went early in the session on a very wet track and could only muster a time of 2:17.923 placing him sixth. A second run was about to get under way later in the day when a heavy downpour ensued. There was no time to wait for the track to dry so the second Classic Luge qualifying run was scrapped. Tomorrows race brackets will be filled with the times from the single run.
Saturday's schedule has now been packed full due to the bad weather of the past two days. The weather forecast is calling for good weather all day. The plan is to finish the first Downhill Skateboarding run first thing in the morning and then run the second qualifying run immediately afterward. That will be followed by the Women's Downhill Skateboard Race, the International Inline Downhill Association (IIDA) Inline Downhill race, and the Commision Nationale Descente (CND) Skullboard race. At 2:00pm the Open Downhill Skateboarding and Street Luge races are scheduled to begin. The day of racing will conclude with the Junior II Downhill Skateboard race and the Classic Luge race. We will have a full report tomorrow evening.