Words By Dan Ravenall
This year the UKDH skate scene has been busy with the BDSL events, growing the skills and competiveness of the UK riders. As the year draws to a close and the weather starts to get bleak there is always Hogtoberfest to look forward to! With ominous looking forecasts riders still showed up with some coming from as far as Scotland.
Hog is always a great place to catch up with riders you don’t get to skate often with or mates you’ve seen at previous events. This year’s event was rammed with fresh faces and eager skaters. After sign ups open, shop stalls setup and boards tweaked its time to hit the hill.
Riding my trusty Makali DH that I’ve been riding all year I felt super comfortable and stable. I was lucky enough to get in a lot of pack runs with about 8 more solid riders each time some of which I’ve rode with abroad this season. Tucking down the hill with everyone in sync, overtaking, drafting and barrelling through the corners was so much fun! During this time I think the slide jam was going on with the addition of some ramps and some of the most stylish freeriders I’m sure it was tight to judge. Running at the same time as well the slalomers were going head to head in the hybrid – darting between the cones with precision and speed.
After a lot of lurking and skating day 1 was over just as the weather started to turn. I dropped some skaters of at the campsite and got some shut eye before race day. Waking up to day 2, wet roads and dampened spirits I arrived at the track only to see everyone still skating assuring me the track is still grippy and it’s all good to go. After a few wet runs which were really not so bad racing started quite quickly at midday. I had signed up for Luge despite not knowing what I was doing but I was game to give it ago.
Pushing off with your hands, lying on your back, hovering your legs and leaning into the corners felt really alien but so much fun. Despite being terrible at it and the track still being wet- its always worth a go! Extra skating is extra skating. After that Womens, Groms and Opens kicked off. Or did the freestyle/dance…. I can’t really remember… What I do know is the freestylers and dancers were going for it. I did catch a glimpse of some sweet grinds, fancy footwork and steezy flips. (kickflips not front flips… imagine that!)
Luckily after Luge racing the track was pretty much dry. The race heats were stacked! I managed to get 2nd in my first heat , 6th in my second heat due to crashing out with someone while going for a sneaky overtake in the chicane, and 1st in my last heat. All in all so enjoyable! Unfortunately it started to rain again meaning the semis and finals would be sketchy. With races finished, it was packing up time and prize giving drawing hogtoberfest 2016 to a close.