Padova Grand Prix
Campionato del Mondo
About an hour outside of Venice is a set of hills. Towards the top of one of the hills lies the small village of Teolo. The town has a square, a couple of churches, and a small convenience store that passes as the local super market. Just above the town is a couple of buildings that makes up Castlenuovo.
The course starts in front of the Hotel Turetta in Castelnuovo and ends just before it enters Teolo. The course starts with a high speed straight, with speeds in the 85 KPH range, and then finishes with a series of seven hairpins. There is a hard left, right hairpin combination that requires braking. A shallow left to a left hairpin requires some more braking. The next set of hairpins, although tight, require no braking as the speed never really picks up. Exiting the last hairpin, there is short straight into a left hand sweeper to the finish.
Thursday, July 29
We spent the day hiking around the Coliseum in Rome and didn’t arrive till late. But there was a welcome dinner for the earlier arrivals.
Friday, July 30
It was fairly nice when we arrived last night. But apparently it had rained most of the day. Today when we woke up it was a little foggy out and the road was wet.
Lunch was free. [] But was left overs from last night’s dinner. The bread and chips were a little stale, and the ham and cheese wasn’t filling enough. A few of us decided to grab some lunch from the hotel. They were running a special, a plate of pasta and a soda for six euros.
Our lunch break lasted about two hours. Just before we started to practice again Marcus and Bob set up to do tech.
We were given a two hour practice window. The course was permanently closed. We would ride down the course, catch a shuttle at the bottomThis was the biggest problem with the event. And it was very disappointing as they had the same issue last year. Another half dozen or so shuttles would probably solve the problem. We managed to get a run in every half hour.
Our first qualifying run was set to begin at 4:00 PM. We would do one run today, and another run tomorrow afternoon. Street luge opened up the qualifying.
After luge qualifying, standup qualified.
We finished up early, about 6:30. This gave us plenty of time to get cleaned up for the night’s festivities. Dinner was going to be in town, so we walked down the course to meet some people at the campsite near the finish.
We wandered into town, and discovered we were the only riders there.
We finally saw the torch light parade coming into town. [] Although we were downhill from the course, there was a slight uphill section into town, that required skating.And then we were told the opening ceremonies were concluded so we can go eat dinner. Which was a good thing, since it was 10:00 PM.
It took us a while to get through the line into dinner.
We sat there chatting for a while, and it was pretty late when I headed out. A few guys were skating around the square.
Saturday, July 31
We got started roughly on time. We decided since we were the first ones down, we would grab a shuttle. Then we would start our own little shuttle service. But there was a slight change of plans. The inliners were dragged back up hill behind some quads.
I saw a post over by the race office that lunch for Saturday and Sunday would be catered, and would cost 10 euros, if you ordered it the day before. But left overs from last night were once again offered for free.
I think the plan was to try and start street luge qualifying early, especially since the inline race finished early. But it took a while to get things squared away, and then it was decided to wait until the announced start. In case some people were down the track or at the campsite.But this time we were using a light beam. There was some discussion that the results would be skewed. As we would break the beam with or foot, but triggered the gate with our chest (or in some cases, hands.)
By the time I got back to the top standup qualifying was under way.
Classic was the last to qualify.
After our qualifying run the final for the IIDA inline race was run.
The free dinner was a country BBQ.The party lasted longer than they usually do the night before a race. I guess a lot of people are planning on heading home after the race tomorrow.
Sunday, August 1
Classic luge, inline, and junior standup would start the morning off. Practice was supposed to start at 9:00 AM. I was ready shortly after 9:00 and there was almost no one else at the start line. We were able to get two warmup runs in the hour we were allotted.
On the way back up the hill we passed quite a few bicyclists. And many of them watched us for a bit, I think more wondering which way they were going to go down as the road they planned on using was closed.
The inliners started the race.
My semi final heat was an incredible heat. Again I started at the end of the pack. I wasn’t able to pass anyone, but I caught up to them by the time we got to the hairpins. The last four of us where fighting for the third position, and we were fairly close. The three in front of me where basically taking the turns three wide. I kept trying to pass them, but with them three wide there was no room. I had one last shot as we approached the final hairpin. I exited the hairpin with some good speed, directly behind the three in front of me. They were arrayed diagonally, and I managed to get on the correct side of the diagonal. I’d have the inside line coming into the final sweeper. But I rolled over some loose, clumpy hay near the hay bales, and Eliot (who was in fifth) bumped me slightly. This caused both of us to drop back just enough that we had no chance to overtake those in front of us.
The consolation heat wasn’t as exciting. We got into a single file line, and maintained our position most of the way through the hairpins. I broke a little too much at the top, and couldn’t gain on anyone. I finished 12th. I stopped immediately after the finish line so I could watch the final.
After the morning races were finished we took an hour and a half for lunch, or so I thought. I thought that the schedule was to do warmup from 2:00 to 3:00. But it was printed in the pamphlet was 2:30. We actually started about 2:15 or so.
My run started with me in third place. I passed one of the guys just as we entered the turns. I slowed a little too much, and got repassed. Once again I was in third, but I felt confident that I could catch up. A couple of hairpins later my back end went barking across the pavement, almost throwing me from my board. Amazingly enough, although I lost ground, I was still in the race. I got a little closer in the final few turns, and had one last chance to try to catch up to draft on the final straight. I flew into the final turn, and didn’t quite make it and hit the hay. I was still in third place as I scrambled to get back on my board. I paddled hard, only to get passed just as I laid down. I’m not sure what my problem was this year. Partially it was the wheels, but I had no problems last year. Well it gave me a chance to watch the rest of the races.
Marcus was announcing at the bottom along with Davi.
In the finals, Labarthe was in lane 1 (on the left side of the road), Eliot was in lane 2, and Luca was in lane 3. As they started Labarthe veered left, and Luca veered right. This squeezed Eliot out. At this point we couldn’t see what was happening on the screen, but I guess both Luca and Labarthe got sideways. Next thing we see is Eliot out in front, where he stayed until the finish.
The standup final was next and it was fairly exciting with Switzer passing Dalua near the bottom. I was watching the big screen, then ran around the arch at the bottom to get a photo when I heard a lot of screaming and hollering. I turned out to get set up for the shot when I noticed Ozman standing in the middle of the road. Apparently the generator shut off, and the arch started to collapse, just as the heat was arriving.
The race finished early, or at least earlier than last year. The awards
The awards ceremony was different. The top three finishers were called up to the stage. They stood behind the podium, and then as their name was called, they stood on the podium. Then the trophy girl walked out with the trophy, while a dignitary took the trophy from the trophy girl and handed it to the winner. Then the three flags were raised while the winners national anthem was played.
After the awards ceremony the event wrapped up fairly quickly. Many of the Europeans wanted to hit the road to try and get home.
The event went off on schedule with the exception of the first day, being delayed by fog. The weather was relatively cool. It was incredible to see some of the fanfare between the opening ceremony and the awards. As we left town we saw some large billboards in town advertising the race, but I think there were fewer spectators.
While there were a lot of wrecks, the speeds were fairly slow. There were lots of bumps and bruises, and one inliner broke his leg fairly badly.