Argonay, France- Amazingly veteran Street Luge racer Peter Eliot from London, England had never earned an IGSA World Cup Series victory prior to the Graveyard Call. He was the World Cup Series Champion in 2003 but he won that title with consistent top finishes and no victories.
The Street Luge competition was run in a 2-man format in head to head heat races with the winner advancing to the next round and the loser eliminated. This was the original format utilized in the very first X Games back in 1995. It was the perfect format for the narrow Argonay race course.
Reigning World Champ Matthias Lang is hoping to have a better race in Italy. Photo Marcus Rietema
Will Stephenson (GBR) had a much tougher run up to the finals. First he disposed of Abdil Mahdzan (MAS) in the first round. In the second he faced reigning World Champion Matthias Lang (GER). The pair rode side by side as they went through the Graveyard Esses. Coming into the final corner Stephenson had the lead. On the exit Lang was too close and clipped the rear of Stephenson’s luge sending both of them into the bales. Stephenson gathered up his board quicker and rode across the line and into the Semi’s.
The Street Luge Final with Eliot and Stephenson, was the first all British finale in IGSA history. Stepenson took the lead off the line and held it till the first hairpin corner when Eliot out braked him and took the lead. They stayed close through the sweeper and going into the esses Stephenson attempted to retake the lead. He went by but slid out and scrubbed off all his speed. Eliot was gone and went unchallenged to the finish.
Rebekka Gemperle on her way to victory. Photo Seb Dubois
Just over a year ago, Rebekka Gemperle struggled to make the transition from Dirtsurfer to downhill skateboarding. Throughout the last year she gradually improved her skateboarding skills becoming faster and faster with each event. On Saturday she surprised even herself when she earned the number one qualifying position in Women’s Downhill Skateboarding.
For Sundays race she came out ready and eager to earn her first win. She received a by run in the first round and then faced Dasha Kornienko (CAN) in the Semi-Finals. After a tough race with Dasha, she came out victorious and was set for her first appearance in a World Cup Final race. Her opponent in the Final was two-time World Cup Series Champion Bettina Luginbuhl.
Serek Wins Classic
In Classic Luge, Michael “The Flying Dentist” Serek (AUT) scored the victory in Classic Luge with Kevin Bouaich (SUI) finishing second, Yvon Labarthe (SUI) third and Thibaut Meline (FRA) fourth. It was the only category of the weekend that raced in four man heats. In the Consolation Final Fabien Prual (FRA) was victorious earning fifth place. He was followed respectively by Gerg Gerber (FRA), Georg Klotzberg (AUT) and Chris McBride (USA). The Classic riders were stoked to race the Argonay track in four man heats.
Severine Christ-Thomas was a very popular winner in Inline Skating. Photo Tobias Wohrle
Severine Christ-Thomas was only one women in the Inline Skating field and she beat all the men in head to head heats. First she took out Scott Peer (USA) in the first round. Then she defeated Tobias Wohrle in the Semis. That set up a final between herself and number one qualifier Nicolas Varin (FRA). Varin took the lead and apparently felt he’d left Severine in the dust. After rounding the final corner he just stood up and felt he could coast to victory. He had underestimated Severine. She was about eight meters behind and started kicking really hard off the corner. There was only about 20 meters (60’) from the exit of the corner to the finish line and she managed to make up all the ground in a matter of seconds. Severine lurched across the finish line by only centimeters and stole the victory from Lebrun. At the awards ceremony she received one of the biggest ovations of the entire evening for her hugely popular victory.