After being woken up at 5:30 by some over eager skaters and race officials it was a rather slow start to the morning due to the wet weather that rolled in overnight. By 11am the road was more than dry enough and first practice runs were sent down the hill.
Long before skating began, the IDF team had been setting up their impressive Tag Huer timing system. Each rider was given a transponder that had been programmed with their name. The importance of not losing or mixing up the transponders was strongly emphasized by Koma Kino of the IDF.
After one round of practice, time trials began. With the IDF timing system, time trials went smoother than ever before with each rider getting the chance to put down four times, the best of which would be used to seed them for Sundays final racing. The transponder system is really amazing because it allows the riders to go down the hill in any order with only a 15 second gap! If someone were to crash and another rider passed them, there was no confusion about who was crossing the line. The transponders sorted that out. No radio communication errors. No waiting for riders to line up in order. It seems this system is really skater proof. Now let’s just hope that the IDF get all of their transponders back, each worth R1000.
The weather conditions on day 2 ended up being far better than day 1. There was far less wind and generally clear skies. With the Red Bull van at Lloyd’s Left jamming some tunes, it was perfect conditions for the spectators. For the skaters on the other hand the wind happened to be a headwind after Baboon bend, making it horribly slow in the final section of the hill. After the first round of time trials the wind got slightly worse for the skaters and no one was really able to improve their times. No records were broken either but we are stoked that the local boys were able to put up a good fight against the internationals! Decio Lourenco got first and Jason Brown third with USA’s Kyle Westers in between them.
After the 4th round of time trials it was time to call it a day. Everyone pulled into Hangklip Hotel to get their braai on. A special mention to Ricki Allardice who fed a large portion of the skaters with his Braai Packs and amazingly efficient braai skills. Red Bull had set up their van in the campsite to get the vibe going for the night. The target starting time for Day 3 was set at only 10am as tonight was the night to party!
Photos from Day One here.