X-treme Grand Prix
St. George, UT
Once again the street luge community returns to the small town of St. George, UT, just six days after Campo. St. George lies on the edge of the Colorado Plateau, which lends to some very interesting geological formations. Snow Canyon is a few minutes out of town. Zion Canyon is about an hour north, and Bryce Canyon is not much further away.
Like last year, we stayed at the Hampton Inn, just a short drive from the course. This year the course was on the "backside" of the road that the race was ran on last year. The course is on a plateau that is wide enough for a row of houses. The road leads up the plateau and back down the other side. While the course was only about a half mile long it featured a 9% grade. At the bottom of the course has a hard right followed by a 90 degree left. The make or break point of the race.
Thursday, May 4
I decided to drive from Campo to St. George, staying over in Vegas for a couple of days. I arrived in St. George last night and spend the day at Zion National Park. I ran into two lovely Red Bull ladies. Turns out they had the dates wrong and had come down from Salt Lake City the 4th and the 5th, so they went up to Zion for the day.
I got back in town in time to visit the course and get tech inspection over with.
Some of us took this opportunity to walk the course.
There were perhaps a half dozen riders that showed up early. I for one am glad that I stopped by. I had to add padding to the and of course on Friday the tech line was insanely long.
Friday, May 5
The fun begins. Darren shows up to tech his spooncat.
Notice that we has a brace on his foot, which we broke last week at Campo. Waldo proudly displays his new limegreen Rogers Bros luge.
Marty takes a nap, waiting to get started.
Moe showed up with his new Moelinium trucks.
Bob Swartz luge proudly display his Blue Smoke sponsorship.
I'm not really sure who brought this contraptrion. But they had wired up eXkate's motor to a luge.
We all started to pile our luges in the truck,
as usual there was a stall, so we all piled out. The Red Bull ladies pulled in about lunch time. Lee takes their refrigomobile for a ride.
I also got the lovely ladies to pose for me, but for the life of me I can't remember their names (doh)
I was also finally able to get a shot of David Forsyths new luge.
This is the second "full body" luge I've seen this year, a new trend?
We all started to line up after lunch.
I also got Al to pose in his new leathers.
We had another break after lunch, we had some problems with the EMT's. While this was being sorted out, Rat took his minibike out for a ride.
One of the Red Bull girls was introduced to eXkate electric skateboard and seemed to be enjoying herself.
I also ran into this two cuties, roaming through the pit areas.
The blonde on the left is Connie Orton's granddaughter.
Our starting line has on the flat part of the mountain, About 100 feet behind the startling line was a Road Closed sign. After the starting line was an intersection to the road that runs along the top of the plateu. Our starting line was in the middle of the road, the lane to the right and the left was open so that cars could get to the intersection. Well some people believed the road closed sign only applied to other people. Just as the EMT situation was being resolved, this car comes driving down the course. Office Sherm to the rescue.
The red car in front got a ticket for driving on a closed road. Wait what's this
, did Pikkens exceed the Speed Limit? It's only 25.
Officer Sherm spent all day Friday watching the traffic for us. I think he's hooked.
Things are back on track, everyone lines up to start the qualifying.
We were at the top for a while, so I got my picture taken in front of the 9% sign.
Gravity bikes were also out racing this weekend.
IGSA was trying to run five events through this weekend. One was a Classic Luge race. They decided to run the race after qualifications on Friday. But because of the EMT delay it was getting pretty dark when the racing actually started. Fortunately the road was lined with street lights, but I'm not sure how much that helped. I tried taking pictures, but it was just too dark.
Saturday, May 6
Much like last year I didn't qualify in the top 32, I wasn't last but I wasn't far from last. This was only the second time on my luge since my broken arm last year, I am totally out of shape, and out of practice.
Saturday morning one of the Rogers Bros takes a spin doing Standup.
Before racing started a magazine was out taking pictures of George Orton, as this is his hometown, and he helped put the race together.
For some reason George didn't seem to have a problem on the hill and was beating everyone.
Some shots of the two man.
Ozman in front of Sokol
Sult in front of Mason
Ozman and Collabela
Sult in front of Gerhard
After the dual, the gravity bikers raced. A couple of them took a spill in the "Widow Maker"
There was a lot of talk about fairings and nonfairings. Some people say its unfair to let the nonfairings race against the fairings. I pretty sure this guy won it all on an non faired bike.
And then the Mass Luge race took place.
Kurtis, George and Pam show how to take the turns.
Gerhard leads this tight group through the turns.
I just love the way Rat looks here, it looks like his head is chopped off.
A few more shots of the Mass Luge
I took a break, I was starting to get sun burned and very thirsty, and I had to get ready for the last event. So I missed all of the Standup.
Amazingly after 3 events (a total of 4 races) we were still on schedule. The Extreme Grand Prix Pro Super Mass Street Luge was about ready to start. This was a separate race with the top four spots getting invitations to the 2001 XGames. A lot of people didn't enter, and a few dropped out, so we only had quite a few open spots. Our heat started four people. Although I had a slow start I was in third position. I broke for the turns, and the fourth place person hadn't passed me yet. Good I just had to make the next turn and I could advance. And then I saw the red flag! I slammed on my brakes, but I noticed no one else was stopping! The two in front of me kept going, and the person behind me passed me. What was the hold up? Was the red flag a fluke... Thats when I noticed the chase truck was backing back OFF the course! There was a lane for the chase truck outside of the hay bales. But the last turn was so tight there wasn't room for this lane. So the chase truck would drive on the course through the turn and then back off the course. The chase truck driver thought someone was waving him on, so he started out on the course, and the same moment that Bob Ozman (out in the lead) came around the corner. While Bob saw the red flag, he couldn't stop because he knew we weren't too far behind him. While we all raced again, I did even worse the next time down.
As it was getting later in the day, I was on the wrong side of the road, so the pictures didn't come out quite was good. Notice how far out in front Orton is?
Marcus announces the winners.
I'm not really sure what these guys were posing for, but they sure looked happy.
There was a party being held at a casino in Neveda, about 30 minutes away. But I was too tired to go, and I hadn't even raced! While there were a half dozen people who smashed their hands, and a brushed rib, I don't know of any serious injuries from this weekend!
Sunday, May 7
It happened last year, but I didn't hear anyone talk about it. So I slept in, and then spent the day in Vegas. But a small group of people went riding on a local bike path. It is supposed to be a lot of fun, and you can bet that I'll be there next year.