Love it! ATBA Round 4 2012 at Hales Superbole

Jesus all 4 of my races this weekend were about overtakings, different lines and sprint finishes.

We’ll come back to that. Friday was a good practise day, everyone was happy running the track, socialising and mixing it up. I had a couple of objectives for the weekend. One was do better heelside turns and with a bit of help from Andy – keep your arms by your knees to keep your body position correct – I had it. Side note; Andy is great for giving out tips. Second was to do the big jumps; I’ve always been a bit scared of big air so when my first attempt went down pretty well I was happy. Hales has huge jumps in the bole but they are perfectly formed.

Friday night was a big downer, twas soaking wet. We made it better with good company, fire and alcohol. Also met up with fellow geordie rider Andy Humble and friend of Scott who I’d lost contact with. We are in negotiations about NEAT Boarders 😉

Saturday morning was well weird; everyone was milling about before 9am. Andy D himself was awake before 8am. What’s going on?

After the riders meeting there was quite a lot of practising going on. Everyone had a few runs but didn’t overdo it while the tractor wasn’t on. The track was pretty wet causing at least one of the inside lines to be too slippy/tough. In the seniors we had 20 riders; a large category, this was going to be tough.

I was up for doing my best and the qualifiers were a great place to get your competitive spirit on. I could see from the start gate I had good riders in my race, but they weren’t unbeatable opposition anymore, they were my rivals. I can’t remeber much about these drop ins but I had decent results with 2nd, 3rd and a 2nd.

With my previous objectives completed I had a new one, don’t get knocked out in your first race. I’ve never achieved this before so I was going to try my hardest. First race an unknown to me at the time (nick Brave I think) and Andy. Bugger. Sadly the big A wasn’t on form as he broke his board on Wednesday night and the one he’d cobbled together wasn’t really working for him. He was out but I’d not only got through my first race, I’d won!

This is when my races got interesting. To preface I was doing really well on the gates and the top section of the track. The last two corners however I was struggling with, holding on as best as possible to one line that kind of worked but was slow.

My quarter finals were with James from Team Ironsides and Pixel Distort’s Mark Sewell. The gates seemed to take ages so I pulled before they dropped assuming they were about to, they didn’t and while I reset they went and I lost a good chunk of time. ‘I’m not going out like this’ I said to myself and gave it my all. Catching up to James before the drop he had my inside line, the only way to get ahead was to take a more inside line, I pulled it of and was avving it down the bank! As mentioned I was sucking at the bottom section an and he was catching me up, remembering something someone said earlier I dove across the finish line for vital inches and came second. Through to the semi finals!

The riders at the top now were a more hardened bunch of guys. My semis were against a really solid group. Dropping in we were neck and neck. A few place changes and I ended up first going down the bottom section; could I make the finals? Someone had the accelleration and took the lead. What happened next is a bit of a mystery to me. On the section of the track I can’t do well I had boarders either side of me. Some blurred vision (board, soft organic thing, grass, mud) and I was upside down a couple of metres from the line. I was out but it was so epic I didn’t care.

I still had one more race. The small finals for 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th. Again, all good riders so there was jostelling, line choosing down the top half. Over the hip I tried the super inside line again as a gamble and was looking at second place. Down the straight I heard ‘zzzzt’, christ, mine and Mark wheels collided! A few seconds later with a delayed reaction my board buckled. Holding the line I went to drop in those last two corners and turned into Mark, back to back as he’s goofy Andy described us as jigsaw pieces holding each other up. I was leaning heavily on my back tyres trying to get my weight up and not fall. The finishing straight we were as close as possible, he extended his arm and took 6th by a couple of inches! Should of dived again! 5th place was saying all he could hear round those last two corners was screaming (probably just me) from a couple metres behind and he was pretrified but couldn’t look to see what was happening.

Truely awesome.

Sharing stories and having a bit of a jib and jump session the evening ploughed on. The rains came again but Mark of Hales Superbowl had organised a Midnight Miniramp Madness Jam (at 10 o’clock of course) which was great to watch and pulled everyone together. Nice one.

I went to bed around 12 for and early one to help me freestyle the next day. Sadly I got little sleep, now here I am in the car early in the morning with the write up – I’ll clean up spelling and grammar later [edit – done]. This is more like it, everyone but toilet trippers still in bed. We’ll see if I do the freestyle.

A very long post and very first person narrative. Your input is welcome.

[Edits]

Oh how all the riders at the top laughed when Andy was in the lead but lost footing on the inside slippery causing everyone behind him to crash 😀

Also I’ve a Youtube edit:

ATBA 2012 Round 3 at Out to Grass

Hey you. Can’t believe you’ve still got my site in your RSS feed!

So after a false start when Round 2 got cancelled it finanlly went ahead over the 4th/5th of August. Setting off from Newcastle me and Andy knew it was going to be a late one. After a meetup with fellow boarder Nash and a laid back drive we arrived at OTG (near Worcester) about 2am and after a bit of dicking about got some shuteye.

Friday was rather laid back. A few practise runs on the course which was proving long and very tiring, as agreed by everyone over the course of the weekend. The course has a long straight with rollers and besides the start gate, isn’t too steep. The last half of the course is 4 large berms by which point you are nackerd. Whoever gets into these berms first was likely to win.

I think I’ve gotten over my fear of racing with other riders as I was gunning it as best as possible, also I’ve gotten much faster out of the gate; so all I’ve got left to learn is how to pump really fast. The weather was a bit hit and miss so the track conditions were changing making at least myself need to change how I hit the course slightly with every run. What I really liked on this course is how some people would clear the rollers while others preferred to ride them creating some really dynamic racing.

Every rider had three qualifiers. Due to the numbers it was worked out as a two 2 man races and one 3 man race each (maybe). The head to head nature made it really personal. I lost my first to a good rider, won my 3 man after a possible clash and won my third. The third was quite funny as I got a really good lead from the gates and first rollers and just played it easy for the rest of the track. I didn’t really pay attention but my rival really caught me up when I was looking. So after lunch I had my first knockout race; I had a huge lead out the gate but got taken on the straight, I was out 🙁 Good news however was that Andy came 3rd and Nash 7th in his first competition.

Me and Andy weren’t going to do the freestyle on Sunday so we decided on an evening ride till we were too tired. A slip n slide was promised but that sounded lame…until I seen it! Yeah, I lost some maturity that evening but bombing the slip n slide was soo much fun.

So the nights entertainment began. Fire, alcohol, the usual. Around midnight there was word of a night ride. Getting up to the top of the hill with my board they’d setup a candlelit track down the easy course. This was surreal and awesome; you can’t see anything but the candles that you have to stay between. Drifting you way around slippy course while half drunk, that is a nice way to spend the night 🙂