I didn’t know much about the track, only the video clip from 2010, when the race was held last. It was remarkable how reverentially everybody murmured “Dude…..Aaaaaalmabtrieb!” whenever a conversation turned onto this event. A maximum speed of 100 km/h combined with an Open Class, an incredibly high number of heats and fitter and faster opponents among the women than ever…I was already scared shitless on the way to the event.
I arrived together with Root Longboards’ Äxel two days before the official start of the event and found the core of Germany’s Downhill skateboarding scene sweating while helping to prepare the event. The preparations went smooth until the campground around the party tent start to fill up on the evening before the start. Although the event would not yield any points for international race series like IDF or IGSA most of the usual suspects were there. Even those that actually stopped racing the world tour showed up, like the last women’s world cup winner Rebecca “Bekks” Gemperle and experienced race veteran and fellow Swiss rider Christoph Batt. Next to a big bunch of German riders, also Team Sweden arrived almost complete and several riders from the US and Canada were there – all organized by Stephan Risch, Olivier Gires and Andi from Boneless Skateshop in Munich.
Despite the high speed section on the track, riders started to skate riskier and rode in tighter packs from run to run. The track has a really smooth surface without any interruptions and the road is comfortably broad. Therefore, packs that were riding too tight and too fast were often carried out of a corner a few meters and the riders found themselves in the hay. Luckily only a few got injured during the event. The biggest threat was indeed exhaustion and fading focus due to too many heats. However, no one complains about this problem from the ivory tower.
There were various strategies to take out speed in front of the famous Risch corner. One could see gigantic carves combined with air break, foot breaks even from people you would have never expected it and of course a huge variety of checks and pre-drifts. Often discussed in the shuttle bus but risky: Just bomb into the corner and hope for grip (there was a good reason for the spectator grandstand in this corner).
The morning of the first race day was dedicated to the women’s and juniors qualification races followed by the first part of the open quali. After a light drop the track lead into a sweeper section and into the tricky boneless right corner, that closes surprisingly fast at the end. Then, there is the speed section were a perfect tuck is crucial. Riders arrive with high speed at the Risch corner (left) where you need to have a high exit speed to keep chances to make it through the light sweeper and an almost flat straight before another left corner leads you into the finishing line.
Honestly, it’s a true fat guy’s track: The heavy riders got a huge advantage on the home straight served on a silver platter. At least that’s what many riders thought and did – into the tuck and stay down closely.
At 4 km in length with demanding corners, the track is not made for weak legs. Many riders only made it through the finish line with pain. Endurance was key on the last straight and the last few seconds of the 3 minutes ride before the riders had to break quickly in order not to crash into the orga booth.
After many, many heats I could hardly stand on my legs but took my place behind bar (indeed….BEHIND) to hand out beers to many tired but stoked riders.
The party tent was kept in a relaxed atmosphere on the evening before the final race. Risch himself took over the DJ’s position and kept the possibilities for dancing on a low level. However, the Spanish guys found their way to dance and Musti from Australia still managed to be the most drunk guy of the event every night. But the majority found the way to their tents quite early to prepare for the race.
- Rebekka Gemperle (CH)
- Gloria Kupsch (GER)
- Tina Zobel (GER)
- Fanny Ahlm (SWE)
- Anni Lindemaier (CH)
- Daniela Gaislerova (CZ)
- Annemieke Wenting (NL)
- Ann-Kristin Maier (GER)
- Dana Schitler (AUT)
- Nadine Hünemörder (GER)
- Mauritz Armfelt (SWE)
- Matthias Ebel (GER)
- Sebastian Hertler (GER)
- James Kelly (USA)
- Adam Persson (SWE)
- Zen Shikaze (CAN)
- Dillon Stephens (USA)
- Kevin Bouiach (CH)
- Alex Dehmel (GER)
- Andreas Erdbrink (GER)
Open Class Race
The Quali heats of the open class were continued on the third day. Heat was followed by heat very quick and precisely. The runs were marked with coloured jerseys to avoid confusions and to guarantee a smooth race. Personally, I really liked the open class because we were not put up apart from the others, got much racing experience and could learn important lines from riding behind the fast guys (or like Bekks and Annemieke… in front of some of the fast guys). Several riders were actually surprised about the advantage that women had in the first, curvy part of the track because of their relatively lower centre of gravity. Unluckily, this advantage was useless in the speed section where body weight was more important. In general, the atmosphere was quite relaxed for a race, even after crashes or people sliding out hardly anyone complained. Three big shuttle buses assured enough space for all the riders…another point where the organization was perfect. On the end of the day the 130-race bracket was set up (!). We were ready to race.
Women’s and Juniors’ finals were held before lunch. I was more than afraid thanks to my good qualification result – I had good chances but also many possibilities to fuck it up. The heats were surprisingly close. It was amazing how fast the second generation of the race ladies already was. They learned quickly and developed their skills even further at the same time. Daniela Gaislerova crashed out after taking full risk to overtake with full speed in the boneless corner. Tina Zobel rode clean lines in every corner only to find out that the speed section showed its own difficulties. In the final heat I could push myself to first position but was overtaken by Bekks already in the first corner, who kept her position until the end of the run. Annemieke (so incredibly fast this year!) overtook me too and so I tried to keep the third place by blocking the optimal line for Anni Lindenmaier. But Anni just waited patiently for a good moment, found it and took me at the finishing straight. But hey, I am happy about the fourth place after an intensive heat.
The race was as tight at the Junior race. The Swedish guys put up an intensive race too, overtaking each other several times to end up in a kind of family podium.
1. Per Christer
2. Benjamin Tillius
3. Albin Printz
4. Isak Björk
Several riders among the men seemed to have good chances to win the race (the heavy guys). Various miscalculated slides and manoeuvres that sent almost the whole heat into the hay could be observed from the spectator seats. That’s the difficulty in the Risch corner: A check can kill all the exit speed, foot breaking too short can kill the line and give room to the other riders to overtake you. Matthias Ebel dominated every heat despite some risky slides that you rarely see from him. Consequently he raced to the first place his wheels crossing the finishing line tightly before Patrick Switzer’s. Kyle Wester from Colorado rode onto 3rd and Heimatgold Alex Dehmel could finally race to the podium on 4th.
Patrick Switzer put on a discussion on the first place seconds after the race because the rules of the organizer stated that the helmet counts on the finishing photo and not the wheels. However, the helmet of Matthias was covered by Patrick and could not be seen on the photo so they agreed on a share 1st place!
Place consolation final was lead by Adam Persson who unluckily slid out of the corner in the semi finals.
5. Adam Persson
6. Zak Maytum
7. Zen Shikaze
8. Thorbjorn Sunde
The podium and the finishing party in the evening were legendary. Everybody appeared so…thankful. There was a live act that played weird but great loops followed by a DJ that threw out an awesome selection of funk and soul tunes. Everybody was dancing. The Schnapsbar that was put up by a local farmer sold vast amounts of spirits and the party lasted until the next morning. Several penis paintings in the faces of party people could be admired the next day and the way home was started with a well earned hangover.
Championships from Outer Space: Of course, again, always. Thank you!