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Erban Leads Day One Qualifiers

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Mischo Erban on his way to posting Friday's fastest qualifying time.  Photo Sven von Schlachta

Eastbourne, England- Mischo Erban paced the qualifying on a cool, windy day during the first day of Downhill Skateboard qualifiying for Sunday's Eastbourne Speed Days.  The Canadian's time came relatively early in the session under possibly calmer conditions than those encountered by his main rivals.

Erban's time of 1:38.925 was more than four seconds quicker than his closest rival.  Finishing second was Australian Jackson Shapiera with a time of 1:43.176.  It was an impressive performance that he hopes can duplicate on Saturday.  Current IGSA World Champion and 2008 World Cup Series Champion Scoot Smith was third with a time of 1:43.781.  The defending race champion from Canada put in a a solid performance and is confident he can improve his time on Saturday.

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Jackson Shapiera and Adam Yates share a practice run on Friday.  Photo Sven von Schlachta

Finishing in fourth was Clement Gayraud from France with a time of 1:44.217.  Rounding out the top five was Patrick Switzer with a time of 1:44.362.  Switzer missed nearly all of the morning practice session taking only one run prior to qualifying.  With a full morning of practice tomorrow he should definitely get quicker.

Erban, Smith, Switzer and Shapiera are currently locked in a four-way battle to win the 2009 IGSA World Cup Series Championship.  With all four of the skateboarders finishing in the top five yesterday the competition is certain to heat up for Saturday's final qualifying session.  Erban currently leads the points chase and a win on Sunday would certainly give him some breathing room.  His three main rivals are all thinking the same thing.
 
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Scoot Smith sits in third after Friday's qualifying.  Photo Sven von Schlachta

Eastbourne is round number four of the 2009 World Cup Series and it's completion will mark the half way point of the season.  Whoever comes out on top in Eastbourne will be in a good position for the rest of the year.  Tomorrow's weather forecast is calling for relatively calm winds so all of the skaters hope to improve their times significantly. 

A total of 121 downhill skateboarders made qualifying attempts on Friday.  Only the top 64 qualifiers will make it into Sundays elimination rounds.  Saturday's final qualifying session promises to be a pressure cooker.

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Eastbourne's countryside creates a perfect natural ampitheater.  Photo Sven von Schlachta

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The spectacular chalk cliffs of Beachy Head rise 535 feet (163m) above the sea.  Photo Sven von Schlachta 
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