End of Season Blues

Last Weekend marked the end of the 2015 UKDH Event (and BDSL league) season with Thrill Hill Winter Chaos in the Lake District. Organised by good friends Lewis & Hermione of Skate to Escape.

Lewis won it last time out, back in the dryness of August, but this time proved to be a lot different, with much more hectic racing, due to more skaters attending from far across the country, such as Ben Stainer from London, who won Dig Deep Outlaw recently and Slide Perfect Wheels Bossman, Bodhi, from Paignton.

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6 of us went in the AOB van with Bodhi, partly because I finally got a refund for my faulty Mazda 6 and was car-less, but it made the trip up and back cheaper and less stressful. When we arrived on Saturday at the hill, the weather was horrific and that’s putting it lightly! Myself, Bodhi & Tom immediately put our BTR leathers on for skating, mainly just to keep warm and shielded from the violent sideways rain and hail. None the less, we rode for 3 hours odd in appalling conditions, in prep for Sunday’s racing. Dat spray!

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Myself & Tom Campbell were especially well prepared, having done Impossible road, in the wet a couple of weeks previous, dialling our wet slides. We took lots of runs down before racing with Ry & Bodhi amongst others. Including this run where Tom followed me down:

Racing came around and I was drawn against Finbarr, someone I’d never beaten in any Outlaw, or even come close to, but I was optimistic, I was confident with my lines down the hill and it the hill itself can catch anyone out, at anytime, so you’re just always 100% on it, no time to chill.

Off the line in my first round, Finbarr had the lead, but only just, slightly overcooked the first corner, giving me a gap to overtake mid corner, as I had a tighter line. Finbarr came back instantly though, with a tight overtake just before corner 2, his arm on my back, but nothing aggressive, just racing. I thought I’d lost at this point, but Finbarr had a very wide line for corner 2 and too much speed, due to not scrubbing on the exit of corner 1 like myself. He went wide and slid out onto the grass, allowing me to chill down the rest and take the win to progress to Round 2 (Quarter Finals).

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I knew beforehand that if I won R1, I’d likely face the local, Lewis Taylor, who had a reasonably easy R1. Little did I know what an intense race it’d be, I knew it’d be close, due to us both taking very similar lines on practice runs, but it was ridiculous!

Lewis had a slight lead off the line, but was within my arms reach, we both had a super tight line into corner 1 but Lewis over-slid his scrub on the exit, allowing me to overtake, but forcing me to take a wider line than usual into corner 2! All I remember is hearing screams from the top of the hill as it all happened, as Lewis was the favourite. I held my line round corner 2 with lots of speed, gripping it all, but Lewis somehow held a super tight line, as shown in the below picture, probably down to slightly less corner 2 entry speed. We slingshotted onto the straight before corner 3, with Lewis’ slightly ahead and me within bumping distance. In the maybe 3 seconds before the slide for the corner, I was about to bump Lewis, with my arm outstretched, when I backed out of it, so I could quickly slide and hit the apex of corner 3, hoping lewis would slightly overcook it. I hit the apex, but so did he, no way to overtake after that, but what a race! Certainly one I’ll never forget, still on an adrenaline rush days later just thinking about it!

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Lewis went on to be in the final with ‘Big Ben’, a race I thought he’d win, but unfortunately a first corner tangle led to his board rolling off the side of corner 1, giving Ben an easy cruise to take the win. Some epic racing, probably the most fun and hectic racing I’ve ever done! Here’s the podium, Ben Stainer 1st, Lewis Taylor 2nd, Tom Campbell 3rd:

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We all left the Lakes super stoked on the event, definitely one to remember.

With no UKDH events now until 2016 (get super stoked for New Year Skate Bash 2016 on 2nd Jan), I guess it’s back to practicing, twiddling my thumbs and looking for a new car, so I can get back on big hills more often. Sad face.

The UKDH community & events all of this year has been awesome. I feel I’ve improved a lot since my first Outlaw race back in February, at FITV @ Sheepy in the Snow. Special thanks goes to my good friend Tom Campbell & Brianne Collective as a whole, for hosting the best events of the year, allowing me to improve and make lots of new skate friends!

As Christmas draws in, the skating is likely to be less, but I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings!

Until next time, cheers!