Dr. Michael Serek Wins his second World Cup race of the year. Photo Dave Kessler
Insul Germany- The Insul Cup Sunday weather forecast called for early fog and mist followed by afternoon sun. Throughout the weekend the weather was following the forecast. As the Classic Luge race began on Sunday morning, it was cloudy with a cold wind blowing through the start line.
There was not a full bracket of 32 X 4 man heats, and with a few riders dropping out there would be some bye runs. The first heat of the day was a two man heat between Michael Serek and Pete Eliot. Marcus Rietema was the starter, and announced that both riders would advance to the next heat and sent them on their way. As a joke Eliot pushed backwards!
Classic Luge Podium (L-R): 2nd Mikel Echegarey, 1st Dr. Michael Serek, 3rd Yvon Labarthe. Photo Dave Kessler
There weren’t really any surprises in the early rounds of classic, other than Eliot sneaking by the number eight qualifier Alex Frischauf.
The first heat saw the number one qualifier Serek, take on Joachim Lang, Helene Schmidt, and Eliot. Serek got out front and maintained a huge lead through to the end. Lang held off Schmidt and Eliot to advance. In the second semi Mikel Echecgaray raced Yvon Labarthe, Georg Klotzberg and Russel Naude. Echegaray pounded his way to the front, leading the field down the course. Labarthe followed Echegaray into the final turn but had more exit speed coming out pulling off a pass just before the finish.
Schmidt rode her fifth place qualifying time into the Consolation Final against Eliot, Naude, and Klotzberg. Naude used his superior start to take the lead and maintain it down the course. Schmidt followed in Naude’s draft to a sixth place finish followed by Klotzberg in seventh and Eliot eighth.
The final saw Serek take another World Cup win by a good 20 meters. Labarthe and Echegaray battled it out down the entire hill. Labarthe attempted to pass Echegaray on the inside in the final turn, but didn’t have enough speed to overtake and ended up in third. Lang followed behind to complete the final.
Classic Luge Final Results
1. Dr. Michael Serek, Austria 2. Mikel Echegarey, Spain 3. Yvon Labarthe, Switzerland 4. Jochem Lang, Germany 5. Russel Naude, South Africa 6. Helene Schmidt, France 7. Georg Klotzberg, Austria 8. Pete Eliot, Great Britain
Labarthe Wins His First World Cup Race of 2011
Yvon Labarthe heads to victory as Mikel Echegarey and Abdil Mahdzan tangle. Photo Dave Kessler
There was a lunch break before the street luge race. The weather improved a little, but it was still chilly at the start. There were no major surprises in the early rounds. The first semi-final pitted top ranked Echegaray against Michael Müller, Will Stephenson and Abdil Mahdzan. Echegaray entered the final hairpin in first place apexing the corner. Mahdzan wasn’t far behind, following Echegaray through the turn. Müller entered the turn wide, with Stephenson on the outside. Both Müller and Stephenson continued to drift out before Stephenson and then Müller piled into the hay.
In the second semi-final, Labarthe, the number two qualifier had a significant lead on Eliot. Eliot was followed into the final turn, closely by Naude. While Naude was right on the tail of Eliot he was unable to overtake Eliot before the finish. Number 15 qualifier Thomas Manso trailed everyone into the final corner. Manso was stoked, as it was his first time to advance into the semifinal round.
Mikel Echegarey and Abdil Mahdzan finished firt and second in their Semi-Final heat. Photo Dave Kessler
In the Consolation Final, Müller and Stehpenson battled it out again. Müller had the hole shot off the line and lead the entire race through the last hairpin. Heading into the final right turn, Müller was still in the lead but Stephenson dove into the inside, barely passing Müller and winning by about a 15 centimeters.
Echegaray got off to a good start in the finals. Labarthe followed him, Mahdzan pulled in behind Labarthe and Eliot took up the rear. Labarthe kept trying to pass Echegaray at each corner, but didn’t have the speed to overtake Echegaray. Labarthe finally had enough exit speed coming out of the last hairpin turn to pull even on Echegaray and pass him as they dove into the final turn. Mahdzan also came on strong and tried to make a move in the final corner as well, but clipped the rear end of Echegaray’s board. The two slid into the hay, opening the door for Eliot to sneak into second place. Echegaray got back on his board first, taking third. The win gave Labarthe his first World Cup win of the season.
Street Luge Final Results
1. Yvon Labarthe, Switzerland 2. Pete Eliot, Great Britain 3. Mikel Echegarey, Spain 4. Abdil Mahdzan, Malaysia 5. Will Stephenson, Great Britain 6. Michael Müller, Austria 7. Russel Naude, South Africa 8. Thomas Manso, France