Eastbourne Speed Days
For the third year the IGSA World Cup series returns to Eastbourne in southern England. The race starts at the top of world famous Beachy Head. The course isn't the best, with only a 200 feet drop and one difficult turn. Although this year the course was lengthend back to its original mile.
Thursday, August 20
There wasn't really much going on today, although it did rain a bit. The course was being built.
Will Stephenson did an interview with a British show.
He was supposed to train them to luge.
We hung out at the Beachy Pub and welcomed some of the people arriving.
Friday, August 21
The start line is down the road a ways, at the first layby, but the road is closed at the pub.
We had to park our cars in the parking lot near the pub, where people were also allowed to camp.
Then we had to make our way down the road to the start line. By the time I got to the tent,
there was a huge line outside the door.
There was one line into registration,
then another line to the tech.
It wasn't exactly the best organized line, and with two new guys running tech,
tech took a while.
At some point, while I was still in line things got underway. I think I only missed on run,
but I made sure I was in front of the line T
for the next run.
The ramp was virtually identical to last years, except for the paint, and the handles were slightly different.
We flew down the hill, well actually we rolled slowly down the hill. There was a fairly nasty headwind, and the course at the bottom was fairly rough, some people couldn't quite make it to the bottom. At the bottom we hung out in the layby
until the busses showed up.
drove us up the course and dropped us off at the start. Then they would take the long away around to meet us at the bottom.
After a few more runs we broke for lunch, which was included in the entry fee.
Lunch was a sandwhich and soup. I managed to get in the front of the line. Which was good, cause there was still a line bu the time I finished eating!
There was a seamtress on hand to mend leathers for a small fee.
The tent was a bit crowded, so most people ate lunch outside on the hill.
While we were waiting for the afternoon to start, this white unmarked van
pulled out and out jumped four super heroines.
These girls had come to hype the latest line of Pringles, Extreme Pringles. They had these guns
that held a container of pringles that they would disperse.
I think there was five different flavors, but only one was extreme in any way. The others didn't have not much flavor.
After lunch Standup qualification started.
Because of the strong headwind there was some discussion of cutting the course in half, it was announced that the course would not be reduced, and we would race the full mile. First there was a warmup run,
then the first round of qualifying.
With about 130 standup, qualifying was going to take a while. I took the oppurtunity to check out the vendors down by the main turn
. There were two food vendors on the course, the first was near the start line,
along with a skate shop.
was down with some other vendors where most of the spectators were expected. There was also a skateshop
and a candy vendor.
Street luge was going to follow,
so we took our warmup run at the end of standup qualifying.
We were rushed back to the top for our qualifying run.
I haven't actually been doing superb this year, so I got to the bottom and as I walked back I asked someone for my time. They told it to me, but it didn't really mean much without knowing other times. Then someone said I was the #1 qualifier! I was about half way through the pack. Until Will came down. They had set up a second monitor, so we could watch them enter the times.
They entered 1 minute. I was one of the few people who had a sub 1:30 time, so it was usually pretty quick to see if my time held. The entered a 2... Uh oh, my time was in danger. They entered a 9. Hmmm interesting, it will be close. Now I don't know if the person who was entering the time was doing it was entering it slowly deliberatly, or it was taking time to calculate. Then they entered a 4. That is 1:29.4... Doh, Will beat me... Wait, I had a 1:29.450 what were the next two digits? Wills time ended up between 1:29:447! That is 3 thousands of a second! We were travelling about 50 MPH at the finish so line, so Will beat me by about 2 inches!
Coming down behind us were some free riders.
We quickly ran the classic qualifying.
And then we took a short break to allow some filming for a live BBC news broadcast. We did a free ride for the broadcast.
The Beachy Head Pub ran a special for dinner, but they were so backed up we decided to hit a place in town for dinner.
Saturday, August 22
Today's schedule was almost identical to yesterdays. Practice in the morning, qualifying in the afternoon. The difference is that today the weather was clear skies with almost no wind.
Despite the large number of racers and free riders, with the short course we were able to get several practice runs in during the morning.
A local radio station showed up and interviewed a few people.
I rode with Will a couple of times, and we were fairly evenly matched, he would beat me off the line, but I would catch him just past the turn. On one run he got out in front as usual, I was trailing just behind him, gaining on him into the hard turn. I always needed to slow just a bit for the turn, and I was working on taking the turn faster.I entered the turn right behind him, but probably faster than I had taken it all weekend, and I started to drift out, with Will on my outside, but in front of me, Will suddenly hooked up and shot back to the inside. I could have put my foot down to slow a bit, but I didn't want my foot to be on the road when we collided. I sat up just as I clipped his back end. I kept on going, but Condon and Deltour were behind me, and both of them slammed into Stephenson. Fortunately no one was injured.
Lunch was the same as yesterday, except for today they also had cheese for the sandwiches.
I dropped my leathers off to be mended, a couple old patches had come undone. Someone was selling DVDs from last years event, and I picked up a copy. Unfortunately it was PAL.
People rested on the hillside until qualifying started.
Stephenson was interviewed by the radio station.
One good thing about a radio interview is you don't have to look good, you can even do the interview in your socks.
I had a few hours to hill while standup qualfied.
I wandered down the course
to watch qualifying for a while. With the calm weather speeds were 10-15 seconds faster than yesterday!
Tom Worsely announced the race over the PA system. He did a decent job, although he seemed to over emblish at times, I am sure he kept the crowd entertained. He even gave a live review of the Xtreme chips.
After watching from the corner for a while I went back to the start to see how my leathers were doing,
and to make sure I get a practice run in.
I ended up getting to the top a lot earlier than I needed to. I chatted with Dave, a member of the camera crew that was filming the race for network news. He was revieing some of his footage when Kolby offered him his and Condon's footage. Condon was wearing a POV camera when we wrecked earlier. So he was showing Dave the footage
These two got a real big kick out of the wreck. The footage ended up on their news reel, and was shown around the world!
We finally underway and took our practice run on the tail end of standup qualifying.
PeteEliot, lives several hours away, decided he had the wrong wheels. But he had forgot to bring his other wheels with him. Eliot was trying to decide if he wanted to take the four hour trip home to get his other set of wheels, when Stephenson offered to sell him a set of wheels. Eliot decide to purchase Stephenson's wheels, instead of driving home.
We started qualifying,
we had better improve over yesterdays times fairly significantly. But with standup improving their times by double digits, my 2nd place qualifying time look like it was in trouble. I rode big zigs yesterday, and switched to 83mm flywheels for today.
Qualifying was run in reverse order of finishes from yesterday. While I went faster than yesterday, suprisingly I was almost a full second behind Will! I think that the flywheels don't do as well over the rough surface at the bottom, where we bounce enough to catch some air! Although I was still directly behind Will, the surpise was Eliot managed to take over the #1 spot! Things were moving a little quicker than yesterday. We ran classic next.
The dirt surfers took the last qualifying round, and we ran a practice run behind them.
The party was held at the Beachy Head Pub this year.
We were given some vouchers that could be used, and they basically covered dinner. Of course everyone was there, so it was difficult to get a table, and took for ever to get our order. Towards the end of the evening I waited for almost an hour at the bar toget a drink, and a brownie.
I was informed the kitchen closed at 10:00, although it was like 10:03 when I ordered! The qualifying times were posted.
In a back room Labarthes Eastbourne video was being show. Yvon edited on this video in his spare time throughout the day.
The evening was closed off by giving some awards to some of the junior riders.
Sunday, August 23
Looks like race today would be another beautiful day.
There were a few light clouds in the sky,
and barely a breeze.
I got the morning started off with an interview.
After the interviews were over,
racing got start with dirt surfer.
A new class was debuted at the race, street turtles.
A street turtle is a small square vehicle with wheels at each corner. One hand controls the brakes, and the other controls turning. The rider sits on it indian style. The speeds aren't great, but it can be a lot of fun. I'm not sure how they are in going down a hill like this, but they have a very tight turning radius, so you can do 360s with them. Gravity bikes
and classic finished off the morning races.
Just before lunch we ran our luge warmup.
The schedule called for a lunch break at noon, with staff and lugers given prioirty for lunch orders. Because luge racing would start at 12:10! Even though we got done a few minutes early, I decided to forgo lunch. I didn't want to have to wolf the sandwhich done right before racing. I heard that there were two lines inside, one for luge and one for everyone else, and they started servering the everyone else line first! We got the first couple rounds of luge out of the way.
There weren't any surpises, the top four qualifiers moved on to the final. It was decided to run all the finals at the end of the day. The ideas was to make the show a little more interesting for the spectators. So I had a couple hours before the finals, to watch the standup race. Last week Eastbourne hosted their annual Airbourne, an airshow that brings in about 75,000 spectators. I don't know if the fly by we saw was related to that, or not.
Since I missed lunch, I picked up a hamburger on the way down to the corner.
I enjoyed my hamburger while watching the race with the rest of the crowd.
The weather was perfect, and I was a little dissappointed in the turnout. It didn't feel like a larger crowd than last year. Not everyone came to see the race, some came to see the beautiful white cliffs.
I had to head up early, our warmup run would take place behind the semi final of standup.
Final racing was done in order they were raced earlier. The final races included both consilation as well as the finals. I raced classic first,
and got to see Serek win.
Since six of us were also in the luge finals, we were rushed up the hill in a small van.
Of course, as we were getting ready to start the luge race, someone sent up the other bus! So much for saving time by squeezing us into a small van.
We took off in our luge race. Will had the best start, but the rest of us were right behind him. As usual I got to the turn, I ended up breaking just a hair too much. I had to slow down because of the traffic, but it was more than I meant to. I think they also pulled out of the turn faster than I did. Coming down the back stretch I also screwed up and didn't draft as well as I could have. I did close the gap, but not fast enough. As the finish line approached I saw Eliot and Labarthe split Stephenson. I was getting closer but didn't think I had the speed to pass him before the finish. I was getting closer, and had more speed than him. But I didn't think I was going to make it, so I started to scoot forward on my luge. I was out as far as I have ever been. And Will just beat me. I thought it was only by a foot or so, but replay show he beat me by a half board length. Immediately after crossing the finish line Will hit a bump. The road is pretty rough, for the bottom half the course. Rough enough that you can actually catch some air as you get bounced around. We were doing 55 to 60 MPH coming across the finish line, and Will hit a bump and slammed into me. This knocked me off the course. The course is lined with a berm, built to keep cars on the road. Early in the weeked we used this berm to sit on and wait for the busses.
Fortunately no one was there, and I ended up riding the berm.Unfortunately about 30 feet after the finish line there is a cut in the berm for a walk way. I flew across this cut, my ankle caught the other side and I went flying. I tumbled down the road, at one point I ended up sliding on my helmet.
I finally came to a stop, face down. I knew I was ok, I hurt my ankle, but no broken bones. But I also knew I wasn't getting up any time soon, I needed to catch my breath. So I stayed put, until I heard someone call for an ambulance. I stuck my thumbs up and yelled "I'm Ok" to let them know I was ok. I'm sure everyone figured I as ok, as I lay, not moving, with my thumbs up. After a couple minutes I decided I better stand up, let people know I was ok, that is when I noticed that Will was still down.
And he was visibly in pain. He was taken to the hospitable. I was ok, although I would be sore tomorrow, and my ankle was tweaked.
After Will was carted off, the standup heats came down to finish off the racing.
Mischo won the final handily
but the battle for second and third was a photo finish. Smith edged out Switzer by about a foot.
Shortly after the race finished, the awards ceremony was held in the corner. The intent was to give the awards out while the crowd still lingered. Norm, from the Eastbourne council, who had taken over organizing the race, started the ceremony.
Pfister, Martland, Barnes
Stinton, Bailey, Davies
Serek, Stephenson, Eliot
Klawitter, Wegge, Mckie
Kornienko, Backlund, Edwards
Eliot, Labarthe, Stephenson
Erban, Scoot, Switzer
The event was over, and the majority of the riders packed up and started heading home. I went to the hospital to see how Will was doing. They weren't really sure, but they put him in a cast.
We grabbed a bite to eat, and headed back to the pub. But it was fairly late by the time we got there, and no one else from the race was there. Looks like it was really over.
Turns out that Will didn't have any major injuries. He damaged the nerve in an accident at Newton's Playground last year, and I think he just hit the elbow while he tumbled, and reinjured the nerve.
I think he was the only one with a serious injury. One thing I am very thankful about, from our accident, is no one was sitting on the berm when we came blasting through. I, or someone else, would have gotten seriously injured! The council wants to finish paving the road, but doesn't have the money. Now they are looking at it as a safety issue, so perhaps?