Fair Cape Downhill Challenge 2015

Finals Fair Cape Downhill Challenge

Fair Cape Downhill Challenge 2015

Written By: Stuart Barnard
Photos By: Pierre Van Der Spuy,  Sports on the West Side and Lloyd Clark

I propose. I propose juxtaposition, an oxymoronic race that plays and tugs at the heart-strings like the choice of splurging R600 on new wheels or severing nerves trying to deal on Skater Traders.

I hate Fair Cape. I’m lactose intolerant and the consumption of large amounts of dairy leads to excessive flatulence. This in turn helps to loosen and warm my leathers in the nether-regions, but it also ensures that my nostrils are almost permanently zinging with the beauty that is my besotted stench. It also means very few people want my draft… and I love that about Fair Cape. You get low, you get ridiculously caught up on the small-stuff (that makes a difference!) and you get speed. You get your tuck sorted, your wheels ‘cleaned’ and your balls tucked into your hidden valley. You hate the burn of your legs, but love the micro-wobbles on the drop. You hate the micro-wobbles on the drop, but you love that you handled them.

Start line at Fair Cape Downhill Challenge

I hate Fair Cape. It’s hot, it’s dry and it’s not at all pretty. For me, it means long days in the sun watching people go faster than you. This year, it meant paying for time-trials which took as long as H.I.M.Y.M., with the same disappointing conclusion; the mother-f$%&er you thought was going to come out on top did…and you’re left to wonder if there ever could be anything else. Unless you’ve got transponders or telepathic marshals, forget it.

I love time-trials. I love the sensation of being the only one on the hill and of measuring yourself against others on a single stretch, a single time. I love being nearly out of breath and prairie-dogging-it the whole way down just to get that one millimetre tighter in your tuck.

We didn’t get any dairy from Fair Cape this time (although we did get absolutely delicious lunch snacks, plenty of Red Bulls and some of that puuure H20 so we could stay hyyyyyydrated). What we got from Fair Cape was an almost-pristine strip of 1.9km tar. 1.9km of sitting in a tuck, not giving a f&*%.

Irritatingly, I gave too much of a f&*% on the Saturday and was severely disappointed when men who were 19kg’s my superior floated past me on the first right and then shunted away on the drop. I tried to source a small child from one of the Lesotho representatives. I promised to adopt, take care of him, and bind him to my back for that ‘ultimate downhill experience‘ (and the extra weight…) Alas, I found no such child, and I found no such weight-advantage. I hate Fair Cape. I’m a lightweight who, unless he drafts perfectly and takes after the drop, stands little chance. However, I love the support, well-wishing and sincere ‘you-can-do-its’ on the start line. I love the encouragement and laughter of my downhill family and when past-champions get knocked-out in the same way.

I love Fair Cape. I love the fact that I’m an underdog from the start. I love that enigma’s like Nick Hook, Simon Sturrock, Richie Dweza and Ryan Morris blast from kingdom-come and almost totally nullify the weight-argument. I love meeting new riders. Guys and girls who have just started and are far too stoked for their own good. Asking questions like, “do I need a few runs to break in my bombing wheels?” “If I spit in my visor does it stop the sun’s beams” “Should I worry about the chicane” and”Should I use the porto-loo or hold it in for some extra weight?”

I love the groms. I hate the groms. Enough said.

I hate that longboarding is a male-dominated sport; that I see more bulging balls and sweaty ass-cracks than at a 70’s aerobic class. I hate that dudes can become so ‘clicky’ and particular about whom they ride with. Although, mind you, if you’ve only got 8 practice runs to ride, you’re gonna start really thinking about who that’s with… I love the ladies of longboarding. They are awesome. They lube up their balls, jump on a really solid stick and ride it hard down to the end. Gents, that goes for you too. Haha. But seriously, the current front-runners making up our beauties-of-bombing, our damsels-of-downhilling are frikken amazing. They’re pushing it and really need our support. Well, they don’t need it, but we should seriously get behind more ladies of longboarding in this country. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find any negatives in including more women in our sport! They’re killing it!

Girl Longboarders at Fair Cape Downhill Challenge

Speaking of ladies, I love SAGRA. I have no idea who 78a is, or where they came from. All I know is that the Sunday friggen rocked. Candi and Gabi (predominantly) steered a  ship full of marshals, administrative papers, angry moms, angry boere (spectators and tractor-doughnutting-farmers alike), flies, excrement-removers, lunch-guzzlers, hay-stackers, road-sweepers, food-keepers and prize-givers to their final destination culminating in a superb event.

Fair Cape is a race you love to hate, you hate to love. It’s a race that brings riders together at the beginning of a season. It brings in newbies, oldbies and the scourge of the scene (I love you scourges, you’re my kinda funky and I like it). Fair Cape puts you in your place, highlighting your weaknesses in speed, and only in speed. It certainly doesn’t test much else; except for your ability to sand-bag and make ridiculous tactical decisions on the spur of a kick-off. It does test your patience, your endurance and your willingness to give up a weekend for your passion. And I’d do it every time.


Fair Cape Downhill Challenge Results: (full results here)

  • OPEN
    1. Decio Lourenco
    2. Nicholas Hook
    3. Simon Sturrock
  • JUNIOR 2
    1. Ryan Morris
    2. Jean Pierre Pellissier
    3. Ross Hunter
  • JUNIOR 1
    1. Matthew Swanepoel
    2. Gabriel Yaffes
    3. Qua-eed Abrahams
    1. Mike Upham
    2. Anton Pratt
    3. Mercer Potgieter
    1. Megan May Nelson
    2. Kiri Twentyman-Jones
    3. Cheri Morris
    1. Timothee Ferreria
    2. Decio Louren’co
    3. Attila Her’y 

Photos by Pierre Van Der Spuy here
Photos by Broken Shoestring here
Photos by Sports on the West Side here

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