Franklin, New Hampshire
GSI held their first race of their first season early in May. The race was held on the same road that all of the races in the series will be held. The course is located in the sleepy town of Franklin, about a half hour north of Concorde.
The course is about a half mile long with an average grade of 11%. While the road is a public road, it connects a water treatment plant with Prospect Road, and is normally gated at Prospect Road! Officially there are three turns in the course. Turn 1 is a left handed sweeper that starts just after the start line. Turn 2 is a misnomer, and is actually two separate turns, a right hander
Friday, May 10
I got to Logan Airport at 9:00 AM, after spending two hours looking for Denne Fox, who was supposed to be there at 6, I decided to head out to the race course. Point of advice, if you are heading out, from Boston, wait until you get to Tilton before heading to over to Franklin. I made the mistake of getting off 93 the first sign that said Franklin. I ended up driving down about 20 miles of back roads. When you get to Franklin, head down Prospect St. about two miles until you see Johnson Farms.
I got to the course in plenty of time to put my board together. There were about a half dozen riders. We used Tim's van as the chase vehicle. A couple hours after we started riding, Red Bull showed up to check out their arch.
[Pics coming soon]
Turn 3 is pretty deceiving, and most of the wrecks happened in the middle of turn 3. Jason had quite a doozy.
After getting cleaned up, we tried to head down to Tim's. After driving around for an hour looking for Tim's place, we finally gave up and headed back to the hotel. It turns out, that one of the roads we turned around on, we turned around in Tim's driveway!
Saturday, May 11
We got to the race site sometime after 7 am, and the gate was still closed! Fortunately our timing was perfect as Neil showed up with the key about 5 minutes later. Everyone was making last minute adjustments, even Neil.
The luge of the day seemed to be boomless.
While everyone else was getting their stuff through tech, a handful of us went back up the course to get it race ready.
It was time for the riders meeting.
We were to get about three hours of practice in. Our chase vehicle was a 4 wheel ATV
Red Bull had their arch set up at the start.
GSI main goal is to try and get new people into the sport. The races are geared to be more regional races. Tim is going to try to do a few things differently than other organizations. He is going to run four classes, Junior (under 14), Rookie (someone with little or no race experience), Amateur, and Pro. Also everyone will get four runs. Each rider will get a points based on their position in that heat. The lowest score after the four rounds will be declared the winner. Ties will be broken by comparing the head to head outcome. The idea is to give people more race time on the hill.
After lunch the Rookie Luge and Junior Buttboard
It was then time for Am Luge
We restart the first heat. After I hit the paddle line, and start to lay down I can see someone jostling Bob and Pete, Lally had already caught up to us and was trying to squeeze his way into the pack. Needless to say, Lally won the first heat easily. The next heat, also had an auspicious start. Somehow both Bob and I managed to slip ont he start. Lally and Love both started they had DQ'ed again.
Our final run Lally had first place fairly well sewn up, but that didn't stop us from racing. Lally entered turn 3 first, with Pete about 10 feet back. I followed Pete in, trailing by only a few feet, and Bob must have been literally on my head. The three of us took the turn hotter than we had all day, and drifted out to the edge. Pete slammed into the hay, and I skimmed by, clipping Pete with my elbow. Bob was so close behind me, he never saw Pete hit the hay. He proceeded to either hit Pete's board, or hit Pete himself.
Pete ended up in the hay, with his back hurting.
After the ambulances left, we had a rider's meeting, to see if we would continue the race. We still had Am Buttboard, and Pro Luge. We decided to continue the race. Normally each race would consist of four rounds. But we decided that since there were only three pros we would only run three rounds. It would also prevent a tie with only two Am's. The last set of races for the day. Am Buttboard,
Tim had some nice trophies.
After cleaning up the area, many of the racers headed out for a long trip home. My plane doesn't leave till tomorrow, so I stopped by the hospital. Bob was just being released, he had broken his leg.
This was the first race in a long season for GSI, if the rest of the races go this well (but with fewer injuries) then GSI will have had a very successful season. The road isn't the most spectacular, but its technical and interesting enough. If you are on the east coast, I recommend that you try to get to one of the 9 races that are left.
This road is fairly short, about a half mile, but it is still dangerous. We had three trips to the hospital. The first one came back with a broken knuckle, the next day, it was downgraded and not broken. Another injury appeared to be minor, a bruised thigh and hurt back. But the final injury was a broken tibia.