Kogelberg, South Africa - Douglas Silva was the winner of today's Hot Heels Africa Open Downhill Skateboarding race held in the Kegelberg Biosphere Reserve about one hour from Cape Town. Mischo Erban finished second with another strong run after winning the World Championship in Brazil a few weeks ago. Australian Jackson Shapiera earned the final podium spot with third.
Christoph Batt from Switzerland racing in his first World Cup event of the year after sustaining an injury early in the year was fourth.
After a very relaxed evening at the Hangklip hotel, riders were woken up to the sound of the traditional camp raid by the local baboons accompanied by loud music provided by one of the riders cars. The weather at the hotel was fair and sunny, usually a different case once you get to the hill. After a shotgun breakfast, riders were on the hill by 9:30am ready for their first run of the day. To their excitement the weather seemed to hold out with very few wet patches on the road from the light drizzle the night before. Practice runs got underway quickly and efficiently, while sponsors and spectators rolled their way up the hill to line it with their presence.
Riders got three practice runs in before lunch. Weather conditions were perfect and it was very rare to see the Hot Heels Africa course with almost no wind along the whole track. Riders knew that their lines had to be perfect and their tucks had to be tight. By lunchtime the course was packed with spectators, almost more than double the attendance of last year. “Lloyds left” was the centre of attention once again with all the spectators gathering around the whole corner being entertained by Red Bull and First Nature’s MC keeping everyone informed of the riders progress on the hill.
Racing started off at 12:30 kicking off with the luge categories, racing was fast and tight and set up to be nail biting as Dr Michael Serek (Classic Luge World Champion 2011) and Russell Naude (2011 South Africa Champion) were extremely close in qualifying the day before. In the Classic Luge Finals, Michael managed to hold Russell off with a perfect line out of Lloyd’s and Russell was extremely close behind him. In the Street Luge Final heats Russell answered back by successfully drafting Micheal and over taking him around baboon bend. Western Cape rider Glen Phillips took third position in both luge categories. Andries Haasbroek showed incredible skill challenging the top riders in his first visit to the Kogelberg road.
Next up were the juniors and the ladies heats in the Downhill Skateboard category. 17 Junior II's registered to race which created much excitement among the spectators. The groms had been charging hard all weekend and some of their qualifying times matched some of the top ten open stand up times. Nick Hook, has had a great year and took first place, giving the open riders something to fear in the next year or so. Nick was followed by Sam Jakins, James Jagger and Adam Lincoln-Lewis.
2011 is the first year that enough women entered for a full final ladies heat. South Africa was represented by Gabi Murray-Roberts, Cherrie Morris and Amy Theresa Murgatroyd, unfortunately Amy sustained a fracture to her wrist after bailing into Lloyds and could not race. Swiss riders Rebekka Gemperle and Tamara Prader and Anje Lindenmaier from Germany made up the 5 total lady entries.
Rebekka was on top form once again leading Tamara who was in second and Gabi in third to the finish line to win it for the ladies. After all the excitement of the day, tension was mounting in anticipation for the Open Downhill Skateboard category. Jackson Shapiera topped qualifying with Douglas Dalua following very close behind. 47 open riders had entered and the Chief Steward Dave Hort and his team ensured quick and efficient opening heats.
As time grew near to the final runs, conditions on the hill remained constant from the morning, which meant perfect lines and drafting were a key to success. Spectators remained on edge as they witnessed some of the best racing Hot Heels Africa has seen. There were very few crashes, which was surprising as some heats saw four riders going in to Lloyd’s side by side.
The final heat was an all star run, which was made up of Douglas Silva, Mischo Erban, Christoph Batt and Jackson Shapiera. They came into Lloyd’s one behind the other with Silva leading the pack and as they approached Baboon Bend some drafting and overtaking took place. Silva in his true form managed to hold onto top position, followed by Mischo, Jackson and Batt in that order. Torbjorn Sunde, Anton Pratt, Justin Readings and Stephan Ruefli made up the final top 8 positions. A great weekend for gravity racing in South Africa and a great end to the 2011 IGSA World Cup Series.
2. Mischo Erban 1. Douglas Silva 3. Jackson Shapiera
2. Tamara Prader 1. Rebekka Gemperle 3. Gabi Murray-Roberts
2. Sam Jakins 1. Nick Hook 3. James Jager
Hot Heels Africa
Open Downhill Skateboarding
1. Douglas Silva, Brazil
2. Mischo Erban, Canada
3. Jackson Shapiera, Australia
4. Christoph Batt, Switzerland
5. Torbjorn Sunde, Norway
6. Anton Pratt, South Africa
7. Justin Readings, Canada
8. Stephan Ruefli, Switzerland
Women's Downhill Skateboarding
1. Rebekka Gemperle, Switzerland
2. Tamara Prader, Switzerland
3. Gabi Murray-Roberts, South Africa
4. Anje Lindenmaier, South Africa
5. Cherrie Morris, South Africa
6. Amy Theresa Murgatroyd, South Africa
Junior II Downhill Skateboarding
1. Nick Hook, South Africa
2. Sam Jakins, South Africa
3. James Jager, South Africa
4. Adam Lincoln-Lewis, South Africa
1. Russel Naude, South Africa
2. Michael Serek, Austria
3. Glen Phillips, South Africa
4. Andries Haasbroek, South Africa
1. Michael Serek, Austria
2. Russel Naude, South Africa
3. Glen Phillips, South Africa
4. Georg Klotzberg, Austria