It is the middle of October and that can only mean one thing. No, I don’t mean time to start carving a pumpkin and boring my kids with tales of how I had to put up with a swede “when I was young”! What I mean is, it is time for Hogtoberfest – the third event in the annual calendar at Redbridge Cycling Centre a.k.a. Hog Hill.
Like the other Hog Hill events in the tenth anniversary year, I have provided a deck as a prize sporting the event logo. This time it is a 47" dancer, 9.5 inch wide, symmetrical shape, multi-wheelbase options with twin kick tails and fibreglass stringers.
Hogtoberfest takes place over two days and operates a full programme. As well as the usual downhill and luge races, there are slide jam, slalom, dance jam, hippy jump and e-skate events. Well organised, well attended and with lots of sponsors, I regard Hogtoberfest as a must- attend event. Of course, it isn’t a BDSL event and so wins do not count towards the championship. Still, this doesn’t mean it isn’t competitive and each event is still hotly contested.
This weekend I am accompanied by Dan Fairclough, Andy Senior and Becky Lumb. SP8BOARDS has a stand with some of our demo stock and apparel/accessories for sale and I really appreciate their help with setting it up and looking after it throughout the weekend.
As well as having a stand, I am participating in the luge racing. I have mended my jacket with more duck tape so I probably won’t be winning any prizes for style (no rude comments about how I usually look here please). However, my luge is in better shape. I have decided to use “Unnamed”, the new luge design which gave me a win at Bolsterstone.
My other race prototype (which reached 60 miles per hour plus at Bleek) will be ridden by Robbie “Roadkill” Stevens.
The racing doesn’t take place until Sunday and so Saturday is for catching up with old friends and getting some luge practice in, followed by a camp fire and the usual drinking games. When I say “usual”, I mean usual for drunken skateboarders - one stand-out game was to stand on the balance board whilst downing a pint. Of course I didn’t participate (no...really!). I am told festivities went on until 4 in the morning but like Cinderella, I don’t get past midnight.
Everything is much more serious on Sunday and….as is typical this year……competing brings with it the rain. By the time the racing starts, the end of the track is very slow because of the surface mud. Despite the fact my van is full of kit, I do not have my rain wheels with me and so I will just have to suck it up and get on with it.
The course is the same as usual with the luging taking place between the downhill heats. Over the three heats, I get two firsts and a second. The second place is due to a wobble from gripped up wheels on a slide out of the chicane. Back at Tregaron I took out John Lee with a similar manoeuvre and ironically he is near me again! Fortunately, there is no contact this time but I lose all my speed and John is able to cruise past me into a win. I guess some may call this poetic justice!
John and I both have two wins and a second place meaning we race together in the final. The other finalists are Robbie and Tyler Simmons. It is very close racing right from the start but my 85 mm wheels (or the extra weight added through excessive consumption of pork pies) give me the edge and I manage to clinch the victory.
Robbie comes third overall and to my delight, we have two SP8BOARDS luges on the podium!
I am just walking up the hill thinking it is all finished for the day and feeling every one of my muscles aching, when I am approached by Pete Davies, the organiser of the luge section. Apparently both Gareth and I have won one event each at Hog Hill this year and therefore there needs to be a “luge off” to determine the overall British Open Luge Champion for 2018. I am game although I have only ever managed to beat Gareth once before.
To my amazement I manage to win this time, although I think this is due to Gareth being on his butt board instead of his usual luge and therefore having to contend with a more challenging push off at the start. Still a win is a win and it is always a pleasure to compete with Gareth (even if I usually lose). A great conclusion to a great weekend!!!!
Thanks to the new crew taking over Timmy Peters for faultless organising and for allowing me to have a stand in the centre of things. Thanks also to Dan, Andy and Becky – I couldn’t have managed without you.
I feel elated but a little sad as we head for home. The tenth anniversary celebrations of Hog Hill are over and there is only one more event (Race to Escape) in my calendar this year. Still, it has been great and soon it will be time to stop racing and get focussed on my Christmas orders!!
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