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Downhill Skateboarding

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 Mischo Qualifies 1st in Downhill Skateboard! 
Scoot is Second.

Mischo Africa 09
Mischo qualified #1 in Downhill Skateboarding despite a severely sprained ankle.  Photo Pierre Van Der Spuy

Kogelberg, South Africa- Mischo Erban pulled off what seemed to be the impossible today when he uncorked the fastest run of the day during his 2nd attempt to qualify first for tomorrow's Hot Heels Africa, IGSA World Cup Series Downhill Skateboarding Finale.

Scoot Smith, the only rider with a mathematical chance of beating Erban for the 2009 IGSA World Cup Series Downhill Skateboarding title will start second.  In order for Scoot to win the title, he must win tomorrow's race and Mischo must finish third or worse.  Last weekend, Erban suffered a severe ankle sprain at the National event in Howteq and it has been questionable all week if he would even compete this weekend.  By qualifying number one, he is now back in the drivers seat to win his first IGSA World Cup Series Downhill Skateboarding Championship.

Scoot Africa 09
Scoot is keeping the pressure on Mischo by qualifying 2nd.  Photo Pierre van der Spuy

Day two of Hot Heels Africa started a little late after a party at the Hangklip Hotel the previous night.  The weather was good, with a moderate wind to keep the temperature in a comfortable range.  Baboons had been raiding the hotel, but fortunately not the racecourse. The super Mitsubishi vehicles shuttled the downhill skateboarders with great efficiency, allowing plenty of practice runs for everyone and ensuring a smooth qualifying timetable.

Zietsman Africa 09

Mike Zietsman qualified 3rd despite not having any practice.  Photo Pierre van der Spuy

Sector 9 provided lunch today and the initial qualifier was run shortly afterward. Mike Zietsman recorded the fastest Downhill Skateboarding qualifying time of the first round with a 1:50.56.  His performance was even more impressive since he had arrived too late to take any practice runs and his qualifying run was his first run down the course in a year! Scoot Smith was second fastest with a time of 1:50.75. Oliver Nielsen proved that his win at Houwteq last week was no fluke, coming in third with a time of 1:51.69.  Mischo Erban had a disappointing first run. His time of 1:52.27 put him into fourth place.

Nielson Africa 09
Oliver Nielson showed last weeks win wasn't a fluke by qualifying 4th.  Photo Pierre van der Spuy
     

Half way through the time trials, on the 5th anniversary to the hour, of Lloyd MacPherson’s fatal crash at Hot Heels in 2004, Ben Malherbe, his best friend, called over the radio for the traditional shout in Lloyd’s memory.  Yells and hoots in celebration of Lloyd’s love for life and skateboarding echoed from the mountains along the whole course.  Riders, marshals and spectators all took a moment to remember Lloyd.  “Mac” Macpherson, Lloyd’s father, was at the race helping with the timing and was very moved by this tribute.


By the time the second run started, the wind had become stronger and was gusting through the course. This resulted in some very inconsistent times. Some riders were up to seven seconds slower on their second runs, and some faster by even more.  Richard Dweza improved by three seconds to place fifth, while Nielson was nearly five seconds slower but still finished fourth on the strength of his first run.
 

Bareaud Africa 09
Howteq winner Olivier Bareaud qualified way down in 10th.  Photo Pierre van der Spuy

Smith and Zietsman maintained consistency with runs in the 1:50’s. Scoot ran a 1:50.33 shaving half a second off his first run to keep him in second place. Mischo then blasted through on his injured ankle to post the only sub 1:50 second run of the day at 1:49.44 for the 1.9 km course. Mischo and Scoot are now seeded first and second to meet in the final for the 2009 IGSA World Cup Series Downhill Skateboarding Championship.


Dasha Africa 09
Dasha Kornienko was the #1 qualifier in the Women's division.  Photo Pierre van der Spuy

In the Women’s Downhill Skateboarding division, Dasha Kornienko improved by two seconds on her second run to come in at 2:02.87. Rebekka Gemperle had a dramatic improvement of nearly ten seconds in her second run, to post a time of  2:06.47 seconds.  Rebekka will decide tomorrow whether to race with an injured wrist.  If she does, Hot Heels Africa will see the first Women’s Downhill Skateboarding race in its’ seven year history.

Scoot Africa 09
Scoot Smith leading a practice run down the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve racecourse.  Photo Pierre van der Spuy

Russell Naude clocked the fastest times in both Street Luge and Classic Luge. Glen Phillips and Brian Isha were second and third in Street Luge. Andreas Johnsen, riding with a badly bruised back. beat Glen Phillips to qualify second in Classic Luge.

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