Madison County Gravity Festival V 2006

Madison County Gravity Festival V 2006

Madison County Gravity Fest V

Munnsville, New York

About 30 miles east of Syracuse, in the rolling hills of New York lies the town of Stockbridge. In this town is the village of Munnsville. A quiet little community that has become the home of Gravity Fest. There is one stop light in the town, at the intersection with the state route and the road leading to the course.

The course was the same as it was last year. We start off with a short straight heading towards a huge right hand sweeper. Another long drafting straight builds up speed heading into a hard left turn. I never attempted to take this turn without brakes. There is another mostly straight section, with gentle bends heading to Crash Corner, which is a 90 right followed by 90 left with the finish around the corner of the left hand bend.

The course in Google Maps.

Friday, July 28

I was supposed to get in yesterday afternoon but I managed to sit in the Newark airport for 8 hours, 4 hours on the tarmac! I arrived in Syracuse about 11:30, only 9 hours late. I was delayed leaving Newark because there was a huge storm between Newark and Syracuse. This didn't bode well, as the race is between Newark and Syracuse.

Well fortunately there wasn't much planned for today. I spent part of the afternoon checking out the town. There is supposed be a parade later, if the weather is good. It is raining off and on all day.

The weather cleared a bit and at 6PM there was a fairly large parade. Bob and Roland

started the parade. I think someone forgot to tell them to go slow! There was a lot of people in the parade, a high school band

several old cars, some tractors, a fire truck,

and many other vehicles. Our truck was somewhere in the middle.

Unfortuantely I don't think we really had anything on the vehicle to indicate who we were. I was the only one wearing my leathers,

until Bob joined us. There wasn't a huge crowd,

but still there were quite a few people

out to enjoy the parade. The parade went down the state route, then circled back around to the parking lot, it wasn't too long.

Next year we will have to do something to show our boards as well.

After the parade was over we hung out at the festival. In the past the festival was only open on Saturday and Sunday, and we always missed it. This year they decided to have it open Friday. There wasn't much to the festival, although I know there would be some more stuff tomorrow. Apparently there was a midway with some games and rides that I missed. But where I was there were a few booths of people selling arts and crafts, a couple of food booths. One booth for MCGF souvenirs.

The local post office had a special street luge cancellation stamp! After dusk there was a fairly impressive fireworks show.

The Legionaires are the ones that do most of the work to support the race. We were allowed to camp for free on their property,

and we used their ramada as a pit area.

Apparently they left an enormous pile of wood for us to use as firewood.

Saturday, July 29

The Legions cooked us breakfast of eggs and bacon and French toast in return for only a donation. I guess I was a little late, because after breakfast there was already a line of people for tech inspection.

Rick Wilson was pressed into service as an inspector

and it didn't take much time to get everyone inspected.

We got started a tad bit late.

There were a few more people here than last year, in fact we had too many people to fit into the truck we used last year.

Fortunately we had a second bus, which was good for me, because my knee is still stiff from my accident 2 weeks ago. It was easy to get into the bus. The morning went by pretty quickly, and despite the fact that we had a lot of riders, we got plenty of runs in. Before lunch the dirt surfer race was run.

We had a lunch break, where those that ordered got sides of chicken. It was quite humid, and so most people just tried to relax at lunch time.

We then had a chance to wish Jenna a happy birthday.

After lunch we were going to do a parade run. As we got ready

Beagle called Stacey Allen

so we can all say hi.

The parade run was perhaps the best one I've ever seen. We kept together in a very tight pack of riders, it must have look pretty cool in Crash Corner.

After the parade run, we started with Junior Luge,

Rookie Luge

and Am luge.

We weren't wearing numbers or any distinguishing marks. For the most part we radioed to the bottom what each person was wearing. We had a tough time with rookie luge when they all had blue and white leathers! The final heat was pro buttboard. I came in first in my heat, and was pretty happy.

The weather hadn't looked good all day. After the first run, we rushed to get back on the truck. But it started to rain before we got back to the top. And then it REALLY rained.

I spent most of the time helping the Florida Boys hold their tarp down. I wasn't very happy, as the rain would probably cost me a shot at winning, I just couldn't get through the turns fast enough on wet pavement. Then it was announced the race would be called, even as the rain subsided! Apparently there was a tornado watch! As the rain let up, we gathered up at the ramada.

A few of the kids were asking for autographs.

We had a short riders meeting,

and did the dirt surer prize giving. We were also introduced to two riders who are skateboarding across Canada for a cancer cure.

There website is

The legions cooked dinner, again only accepting donations.

After dinner there was a Karoke set up.

Quite a few people got up to sing.

Most people went to bed early. Because almost no racing got done today, it was going to be an early morning and long day tomorrow.

Sunday, July 30

I woke up to a wet road, and the weather was %100 humidity! I made it to the legion in time to scarf down a quick breakfast before getting to the top of the hill. The weather didn't look good.

We started fairly early with a riders meeting.

It was going to be a tight schedule, as we had to finish off yesterdays heats. My goal was to return to the podium in buttboard, since I won my first heat I was in good shape. In the first heat of the day (heat #2) although I was out in front, I thought I needed to run the road hard to win the heat. I took the hard left turn harder than I had all weekend. Between barely tapping and the cold road, I wasn't able to hold onto the turn, and bounced off the hay. I finished third in the heat, but managed to sprain my right knee. I went on to finish #1 in the next two heats. Hodkinson did the same I did in heat #3, so we ended up tied and in a runoff. My goal was to let him through the hard left first, then pass him before Crash Corner. Well as I was right on his tail through the hard left, I ended up touching my front wheels and slowing too much. I couldn't catch him and took second!

As soon as yesterdays races were taken care of, the standup races were run.

In case it rained again. With twenty racers, it was the largest standup race in the States in a long time. I got down to Crash Corner to watch one of the heats of standup. While I was down there I forgot sign the cherry picker.

Beagle did a great job of announcing the event.

Bob Swartz set up a wireless radio system, so he could be heard elsewhere on the hill. VIP seating was setup

in Crash Corner unfortunately there was low turnout, I think due to yesterdays weather.

After the standup race, we had a quick break for lunch. Today the Stockbridge Youth Group

served us hamburgers and hot dogs and delicious brownies for only a few dollars! The first even after lunch was another parade run. Unfortunately this one wasn't quite as smooth as yesterdays,

but still a decent parade run.

I took a ton of pics on the run,

many were out of focus, but some were cool.

I think we had more people in Crash Corner yesterday.

Across the street from where we park the truck lives a lovely lady,

whose birthday was two days ago. So we wished her happy birthday.

We had a few bad spills during the morning session. One of the causalities was Iron Abs Cayer. She went straight into Crash Corner and broke her leg.

She had already made it back, and was in good spirits.

We ran Am buttboard and Pro luge.

They had a bad in Crash Corner for the afternoon session.

In my second heat I got taken out in Crash Corner and ended up in dreaded 5th! Wrecking in one of the few 5 man heats really hurts in a point system. My next heat I tried to pass everyone in Crash Corner by late breaking and taking an inside line. I think both of my legs were finally starting to hurt, and I wasn't able to slow down fast enough. I almost hit the hay, but manage to turn just as I reached the hay. I rode the edge of the away through the corner, until I notice a bale of hay was essentially sitting in the middle of the road (apparently it had fallen off the top). I narrowly missed the bale, clipping it with my hand. Turns out I was luckier than I knew, as Roland made a similar mistake and slammed into the bale just after I passed it. If I had hit the bale, Roland would have slammed into me. I ended up in the lower ranks, but in a run off. Allowed me to get to the bottom of the hill and watch the finals. Once again the finals consisted of the top four point earners. Hodkinson came around the the corner in second but tried to pass Auld at the line.

The final event of the day was the Bucket Brigade. I decided to run the second leg of the race. I figured I didn't have a good push, and my weight would give me an advantage in the middle section.

There were 6 teams, three of us on each side of the road. The first rider came screaming around the corner, we wondered where everyone else was. Turned out he was the only one of the starters that rode a luge, so he had set the bucket in the luge, and had a better push. Unfortunately he wasn't able to stop and lost most of the water! My teammate showed up and we took off. We were in third, but I was pretty happy with our position, figured we could move up a spot. I got to the transfer point, pushed off my teammate. Waited a second, then hopped on my luge to head to the bottom. Just then Jeff came by me SLOWLY carrying a bucket! I thought everyone was already down. I get to the bottom, to find out who the winner is.

They were still trying to measure the water. My team showed up third but with an almost full bucket. Jeff showed up LAST but with a full bucket. The two buckets were close,

but Jeff's team was declared the winner. (Our bucket is the pink one, BEFORE I poured more water in and demanded a recount) I didn't think our team lost that much water, but oh well! At least we didn't show up with a hole in our bucket! Unfortunately we ran out of time and the Sunday Mass had to be canceled.

While the results were being tallied and paperwork figured out, we were asked to sign a bunch of memorabilia.

Some for prosperity and some for next years auctions. A lot of kids were also asking to have their tshirts autographed.

As the sun was going down we had our awards ceremony. The awards were held up on the hill, on a freshly built podium. The trophies were standard.

Although the standup guys got something extra.

The Bucket Brigade Trophy was also handmade, but Dr. No left them at home. MCGF is Beagle's event,

and Gwen heads the committe that runs the event.

Gwen and a whole list of people to thank. Finally Neil got the awards under way.


Thomas, Kiehn, Cayer

Am Buttboard:

Eberhard, Novak, Bianciello

Am Luge:

Dean, Eberhard, Colmorgen

Pro Buttboard:

Hodkinson, McBride, Morrison


Desmarais, Pascal, Boily

Pro Luge:

Auld, Hodkinson, Dominguez


Helphenstine, Earwood, Filatrault

Bucket Brigade:

Kachoris, Schonzeit, Hoffman

It was late Sunday night and people were already packing up and leaving, many people had a long drive ahead of them to get home. My plane leaves tomorrow morning, so a few of us went and had a nice dinner.

Once again the town of Munnsiville came through and delivered a spectacular race. If we can just figure out how to get a few thousand  people from Syracuse or Utica to come out, then it will be one amazing event! Unfortunately we had too many injuries this year. One broken leg, and two people take in for concussions.

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