German bro Olivier had a quick Q&A with us about the hotly anticipated return of the Almatrieb race to Hungerszell from July 17 – 20.
What is Almatrieb?
Hey there! The Almabtrieb is one of the oldest downhill skateboard races, which was first held precisely a decade ago at Auerberg, Germany. Then, it was the international German championships, later on it was granted the title “IGSA World champions” in 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2010. So yes, the Almabtrieb is a tradition in downhill skateboarding.
What is the history of the race?
Almabtrieb goes back to 2003, when it was first held on the Auerberg in Germany. Until now numerous Almabtrieb races have been organised with changing race tracks located in Germany. The latest Almabtrieb was held in Hungerszell, Germany, on a very technical and super fast road with a maximum speed up to 100km/h. Now, after three years of pause, the Almabtrieb is back on that very same track.
Why did it take so long to return?
Organising a race is a time and nerve consuming business and requires lots of attention. I guess this was one of the major issues. Stephan Risch and Andi Gniadek, who organised the latest Almabtrieb in 2010, and myself decided to pick up the challenge and set up the Almabtrieb 2013. This decision was mostly driven by the persistent questions from numerous riders: “Do you plan to get the Almabtrieb organised this year? Do you?”
What is your role in the organisation?
Good question. Actually, we have a loose sharing of duties and everyone of us three (Stephan Risch, Andi Gniadek, and myself) just feels in charge of the whole event. We are all equally contributing to it, but my main focus these days is checking registrations, starting up lists, talking to sponsors, whereas Stephan and Andi are very close to the people at the site of the event, discussing administrative issues and stuff. There´s enough for everyone to be done!
What’s special about the race?
It’ll have a very familiar feeling to it. We do not plan any big parties, rather we intend to have a great event with the people we like. A family affair so to say, but with a huge family!
The star of the event is the track itself. Seldom will you find better asphalt, a longer track with more technical characteristics on the whole downhill circuit. It is as fast as 100k stand-up, has numerous curves and hairpins. It is very demanding to say the least.
And… we have Sector 9 as a prime sponsor for this year´s event!
It will be a more quiet, famiy kind of party. People happy to meet, skate together, drink a beer together and so. What we intend, is to avoid the “louder, bigger, tougher party” seen occasionally.
Why is it different from every race in the Cosmos?
Unmatched track! As simple as that. Super fast, perfect tar, superb curves. Oh, and I forgot… German beer.
Last year, the return of Almatrieb was announced under the IGSA. Why has it now spurred the downhill organisations?
Well, in 2013 we witnessed quite a few things, that some people didn’t really appreciate, so it was time for change. We do not insinuate to be better than anybody else, just that we will try to have a race organised without any of the two big associations at the moment. This IGSA/IDF thing is one side of the coin, and we certainly look at it, but the point is, riders want to skate, so the more well-organised events, the better I´d say. I appreciate that riding the Almabtrieb does not provide any points in any championship, but hey! it´s actually all about the ride and the competition in the heats, isn´t it?
Is this a viable 3rd option for race organisers?
If you mean to ask, whether the German Downhill League is a viable option for race organisers, yes, definitely for those who plan to have national races set-up. If you ask whether off association events without any rankings and points are worth it, I´d totally second this!
How hard is it to secure sponsorship and attendance for a completion without the IDF/IGSA umbrella?
We have had a number of sponsors from the very beginning, who help out considerably with numerous things, mainly stuff. Now, with Sector 9 joining, we have a prime, huge sponsor, who helps a lot also with financial issues. Big thanks to everyone of you guys. It wouldn´t be possible without all of you. So the answer is, that it probably was not too much harder without the IDF/IGSA. That being said… maybe the Almabtrieb would have hundreds more of sponsors if… No seriously, everything is fine and Stephan, Andi, and I are very confident.
How does the independent format benefit skaters?
Well, we can set-up the race as we think is best and with all the experience and knowledge in mind. We will start this by having a race-to-qualy format, which means tons of runs for every rider, instead of quali runs. This format has taken over in numerous other races (obviously including IGSA/IDF races), which I think is a great benefit for the riders. My true hope is that riders recognise the chance to simply ride and race on a superb road with friends, and to mix and match sanctioned and non-sanctioned races to make up a brilliant season of downhill skating. At the end, it could be are a tad closer to a freeride, however still in a competitive atmosphere. Hard to tell.
What race format will be run?
We will have a race-to-quali mode with four men heats and two riders going into the next rounds. This race-to-quali conducted with all riders will serve to determine the top 64 riders qualified for the race itself. There again, 4 men brackets until the finals!
In terms of classes, we will have an open class, women, masters (40+), junior 1 (8-13), and junior 2 (14-17).
What has been the most difficult thing about getting this race up?
I can only speak for myself and I am definitely new in the field of race organisation. First off, I am super happy to be part of the organisation and couldn´t imagine better people to do this with. Stephan and Andi are experienced guys! So even though it might sound odd, the most difficult thing and biggest hurdle so far, was to decide: yes, we´ll do it this year!
If someone only had money to attend one race this season – what should it be and why?
Tough question. Now, somehow representing the Almabtrieb here, it´s obvious the only race must be Almabtrieb 2013! No, seriously the Almabtrieb will be a great event and race. I have seen a couple of excellent race tracks in the past four years and this one is certainly top 5. It very much compares to the excellence of races such as Kozakov and Peyragudes, here in Europe. So it obviously is to anyone´s discretion to choose, however, I´d pick the Almabtrieb.
Any messages for the world?
Stephan, Andi, and myself are looking forward to host you in July for a four days blast event. Top riders are present, numerous riders responded to our call and we are ready!
Thanks for your time bro! See you on the hill.
It was, as always, a pleasure man! See you soon!
Photos by Yorck Dertinger