Maryhill Festival of Speed 2009

Maryhill Festival of Speed 2009

Maryhill Festival of Speed

Goldendale, Washington, USA

For the third straight year the Festival of Speed returns to Goldendale as the only World Cup race in North America.

The landscape has changed a bit since last summer. In the last 12 months a lot of wind turbines have sprung up.

It even looks like they are getting ready to install a few within a stone throw of the road itself.

The course in Google Maps.

Tuesday, September 1

I drove done to Maryhill. I was hoping to make it down in time for tech inspection, but I didn't leave until after lunch and ran into two repavement projects near Goldendale. I got to the course about 6 PM. Tech was already finished for the day, and they were almost done waiting for the course to be set up.

Wednesday, September 2

I love riding Maryhill, and would try to get in as many rides as possible.

But with twoo full days of practice, and two half days I wasn't exactly in a hurry to get up early and rush out the door. Unfortunately our alarm clock in the hotel room was set wrong, and my roommate panic when he saw it said 10:30, when it was really only like 8. We ended up getting some breakfast and we still got to the track late. But as I pulled in I noticed a lot of people still sitting around. I thought that kind of odd, as I figured most people would be riding by now. I needed to get registered

and my stuff inspected.

Then I discovered we weren't riding because there were no paramedics. Apparently there was a miscommunication and the company didn't think they had a contract (or perhaps it was for a different day?)

There wasn't a lot to do, until we got an emergency vehicle. We sat around baking in the sun. About noon I got some lunch from the food vendor. A deal was made with the local hospital

and they cam out in the afternoon. We finally started riding about 1:00.

It was announced that to make up for the late start, we would ride as long as it was light.We rode non stop, as soon as the last group was down, we loaded the UHauls and did it again.

Marhill is in the desert, and it can get quite hot. Fortunately the luges always went first,

so we didn't sit up at the top too long, but those that did made use of the lone tree. At least we got to ride until the sun went down.

One nice thing is the weather was much cooler in the late afternoon.

Because we rode until late, it was real late by the time we went to dinner. There was plans to have a welcome drink at a new bar in town.

The bar is owned by the lady who was our food vendor last year. Fortunately they were still serving dinner late.

After dinner I went and hung out at the campgrounds, at the fairgrounds.

Thursday, September 3

Things actually got started on time today. I missed the first run as I arrived just as the truck was heading up the mountain. We rode all morning.

We were getting a run in every 40 minutes or so.

We took a lunch break, where I got a hamburger at the food vendor. I checked out a few of the other vendors.

There was a guy selling som interesting cnc skateboards. They looked cool, not sure how they rode.

Tactic set up a repair shop again.

It was back in the truck after lunch.

With three trucks, we weren't always crowed, although the last truck up after lunch was really crowded.

We rode all afternoon, and got several runs in.

There was an autograph session in town, but I missed it because I went to an early dinner.After dinner, I went out to the campsite, and watched some videos on the back of McIntyre's camper. Thanks to Busse this has become a Maryhill tradition.

Friday, September 4

I got up early enough to head over for some of the free pancake breakfast that was being provided to the atheletes at the campground.

It was already pretty late, I was one of the last people in, but it was still a tasty pancake.

Last year we practiced in the morning, then qualified in the evening. But we finished really late. So this year we started off with qualifying.

Standup qualifying ran first. With close to 180 standup riders, it would be several hours before I got to ride. I spent most of the morning  just hanging out at the start line. Chaput came into town yesterday, and started to set up his vendor tent. The second he started putting out goodies,

people mobbed his tent.

Chaput brought some new 107mm wheels.

These wheels are huge. The wheels are almost 90mm thick!

I grabbed an early lunch, as we would not be taking a lunch break.

Standup finished just after noon and we went up for our warmup and qualifying.

We took our warmup run, with only hand full of us, it didn't take long.

Then we ran qualfiying for luge.

We went back up for classic.

We had quite a few people join the classic crew at the last momemnt. Several standup riders crossed over and decided to ride classic, just for fun and more time on the hill.

After Qualifying we got a few practice runs in.

The standup guys weren't the only ones crossing over. Condon tried out inline

and Dean tried out standup.

Dean said his thighs were killing him, but I've never seen someone smile so much after a ride.

Andreas decided to try out luge, with some direction from Mr Lang.

We got in a few practice runs, and then we were told about 4:00 that this was the last run, even though we were supposed to ride until 5:00. I went to go argue, when we heard there was not one but two people injured. Sounded like one broke his femur, so we were done for the day.

I had to be careful to duck the flying bullets as I left.

I couldn't figure out if it was a war between two groups, or just between everyone who had BB guns.

Dinner was at the Mexican restaurant.

There was a deal for the atheletes. We filled up the side room, until they kicked us out. I stopped off at the bowling alley to meet up with some others who were already bowling, before I went yoback to the campground to watch some more videos. There wasn't that many from todays session though.

Saturday, September 5

Just like yesterday, today we were starting off with standup qualifying. I didn't race to get to the course, and missed the morning race meeting. But things were a little late getting started. Yesterdays times were posted.

I needed to improve a little. We had a few hours to kill before we had to ride. Andie

and Bob

found some ways to pass the time. I went over to the final corner to watch some of the qualifying.

This moved a long a little faster than yesterday, which is a good thing, because the weather doesn't look all that great.

Mr Lang laid down a blistering 3:01 time!

I think this is the fastest time recorded by any graivty vehicle on this hill. We were helped with a tail wind, but still it is a great time. Almost 5 seconds faster than last year! We rushed back uphill to get our classic run out of the way.

After qualifying a last chance race was run. Standup is going to be a 96 man race, so the top 92 qualifiers made it into the race. The next 48 were going to race off for 4 spots. We were supposed to also have free rides after each heat. I didn't know it at the time, but the free rides were canceled. I jumped on the truck to head up, and just after I got on the truck it started to rain. It was pouring by the time I got to the top!

I decided to not even get off the truck. Everyone else tried to stay a little dry under the tree.

I went back down and watch at the finish line.

The finish line was sponsored by Seismic. They had a large Seismic sign taped across the finish line.

Turns out the strip was pretty slick and a few people had issues with it.

It is amazing how much difference a day makes. Earlier in the week it was hot and we couldn't get enough shade and water, today we can't stay warm.

The rain pretty much stopped, although it was much cooler. And the track won't dry before the race is over. Fortunately there was a coffee vendor nearby.

Between rounds I wandered around vendor road.

Dave Dean

After the last chance race was the King of the Hill race. The top six luge qualifiers would race in a single heat, and the top six standup would race. Some preparation is necessary. Switzer decided to try to add some, uhm mud flaps to his board.

Lally decided he would be happier racing on his classic board, so he modified it to make it street luge legal.

Rogers and Lang bowed out of the King of the Hill, sa it was just for bragging rights, so Lally won it easily.

The standup race wasn't close either.

After the races there was a short awards ceremony.

Nick Jean, the top Junior II qualifier couldn't be found, and missed his photo op.

Top Junior I Qualifier:

Rogas Jr

Top Female Qualifier:


Top Qualifier:

King of the Hill Street Luge:


King of the Hill Standup:


There was an athelete dinner at the campgorund. The local church cooked a spaghetti dinner, and asked for donations only.

It was all you can eat spaghetti, but you better grab dessert early, as it didn't last.

After dinner we had a couple of bands play.

Sunday, September 6

I had to get up early today, classic would be the first race. The weather called for more rain, but it was hard to tell.

A few people brought their rain wheels just in case.

The classic race would be the same Grand Prix dual heat format that we raced in Peyragudes, without the le Mans start. I don't really care for this format as I don't believe it is very fair, but at least it was announced several months ago. The format meant we would race four times! Riding Maryhill on a buttobard is grueling, riding it four times will be very tiring. There were two sets of juniors racing. Junior I for 8-13 and Junior II for 14-17. Junior I were the first race.

These guys raced pretty hard.

When we finish each heat we have to line up in finish order.

I dropped one spot, because someone passed me at the start, and I didn't pass anyone else. Because of the way we start, it is difficult to pass. The transfer heat was important, so a few people quickly changed their wheels.

In my next heat, the transfer heat, I ended up finished two spots out of the transfer spot. In our third heat I was determined to do well, and I was in third chasing down the two in front, when I failed to hook up in one of the turns, and headed straight for the hay bale a corner worker was sitting on. I got back on my board and repassed most of those that passed me in my wreck. Like Eastbourne it was decided to run all of the finals together, so we would run the consilation and finals of buttboard later in the afternoon.

The Inline

and Junior II race was run next.

After these races finished the top standup qualfiers were introduced.

A local boy scout troop presented the flag for the National Anthem.

And then the standup race started.

Then the weather turned wonky. It started to rain.

Then the sun came out and started to dry the course.

The sky was even blue, looked like we would have a nice afternoon.

Then it rained again.

Towards the end of the race I decided it wasn't going to dry, even if it stops raining. So I went and started putting my rain wheels on, inside my car. I was half way through when once again it stopped raining and the sun came out. I waited a little longer, before I took the rain wheels off. We took our warmup run in luge on a dry course.

The semi finals of standup

also had a dry course.

As we started to come up the hill for the luge race, it began to rain. I changed back to my rain wheels in the truck!

A few people were happy with the rain

and some people weren't. Like Bob Ozman with brand new wheels, the worst to have in the rain. He tried to scuff them up on the start line.

My heat was a three man heat. Before the heat Lally mentioned he thought you could take the first few turns all out. So we took off, Dean was taking it easy. I layed down and took off, quickly passing Dean. As I approached the first turn that I knew I had to slow down for, I sat up, tapped, felt like I had a enough traction, layed down, and slid off the road. As I was crashing I heard Dean laughing, calling me a "Dumb Ass" as he passed me. Just before I got back on my board, the third guy passed me. So I took off, and passed him a couple corners later. As I got towards the bottom there was a yellow flag out. I assumed it was Dean, so I got ready to laugh at him as I went bye. Well there was no wreck, so I don't know why the yellow flag was out. But I was dissappointed that I didn't get to laugh at Dean.

In my next heat I had Rogers, Dean and one of the Bobs. The road was a little drier than before, but it was still slippery. I got out in front of Bob and was tracking the other two down. I was getting closer to them as I came around one corner and my back end started sliding out. I quickly corrected it, but lost what little advantage I had, and Bob passed me. That was how we finished the race. I got to watch the next couple of heats from the finish.


It was time for the finals. I'm not sure if it was a good omen, but an incredible rainbow sprouted over the wind turbines.

I guess it wouldn't rain anymore, but the road was still wet. There were a few different styles of rain wheels, some grooved straight

some diagonally,

Abec 11 is trying some that are dimpled. I didn't have rain wheels for my classic board, so I just put on the most worn wheels I had. The road was still completely soaked as we took off.

I started towards the back of the pack, but passed several people by out pushing them. I know that I needed to slow down for the corners, but you still need to get to the corner quickly. I was in third or fourth right behind Peer. I tried to pass him before a turn, with a lot of speed. Unfortunaely I didn't make it around him in time, so now I was heading for the outside of a turn, and couldn't hold on and slid out. I knew pretty much the entire pack was right behind me. So I took my time getting up. I figured either they would have already gone by, or I would be jumping out in front of them. So I slowly stood up, and then I saw two stragglers pass me. I decided I could overtake them, and didn't want to come in last. So I jumped back on the board, started to pass people. As I got closer to the bottom I saw a huge hole in the hay. As I went by it, I was thinking that maybe I should have gotten up faster, I would have passed whoever wrecked here. I went by someone else in Cowzers, and then just before the finish I passed Bones, who was barely moving. I managed to overtake everyone I was already in front of, and finished the race behind Peer! After Bones crossed the finish line, I asked if the hole in the hay was his handiwork. This was his first classic race, and he said he was trying to hang with the other guys, when they went in to the turn faster than he expeced, and he ended up taking out half the hay.

In the finals there was quite a bit of carnage, with almost everyone wrecking. Lally prevailed.

Yates, racing for the first time narrowely missed second with a new photo finish.

It was pretty dark so most of my finals photos didn't really come out.

Andy Lally trailed Lang the entire course, and then Lang tapped coming into I believe Cowzers. Lally took the opening and beat Lang.

The standup finals were last, and it was almost dark out. They were still taking bets on who would win.

The race was pretty close,

but Switzer won by about 10 feet.

As the races were over most people mobbed Switzer and congratualed him. But Kolby was showing a video of the finish,

where Lang barely took second.

While I was waiting for the standup race to finish, I noticed a bunch of the lugers standing down by the side of the road, all in their custom leathers. I thought it would make a great picture. A few left before I got over there though.

It was almost black out, and getting later. I was starving, and getting cold. But we still had the prize giving.

There was some time to kill, so Switzher tried to bask in his glory.

Chaput, one of the big sponsors of the race, stalled for some time, before John Ozman, the organizer was finally ready.

He started off by giving skateboards to Art

and Justin

two of the course workers, who also helped build the course. Chaput then gave away a skateboard to one of the local kids.

Finally they got to giving away the awards. First Skatera presented the women's awards. Then Abec 11

presented the rest of the awards.

Women's Standup:

Davies, Vukorep, Hebert

Men's Standup:

Switzer, Silva, Kelly


Peer, Focke, Condon

Classic Luge:

Lally, Bouchard, Yates

Street Luge:

Lally, Lang, Lavoie

Junior I:

Morgan, Jeffernan, Rojas Jr

Junior II:

Green, Staub, Readings

It was very late, and I was starving. As soon as the awards were given out, I hightailed it out of there. There was supposed to be a big thing going on at the Barred Rock, so that is where I went. Besides the food was good there. I don't think many people got the memo, plus with the late hour, not many of us showed up there. But they did feed us. After eating a fine dinner, I spent a few more hours hanging out with friends at the campground before finally calling it a night.

Maryhill was another fine event, marred only by the lack of paramedics on the first day. It would have also been nicer to have something other than the hot box uhauls. But it is a good even, and a fun road. Unfortunately we had a couple people dislocate their shoulders, and one person broke their leg.

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