Plett Downhill Rage: Race Recap

Plett Downhill Rage 9

Plett Downhill Rage: Race Recap

Written by: Louw Sevenster
Photos by: Louw Sevenster

Sunday the 30th of November was greeted by the smell of early morning damp hay down Odlands, Plettenberg Bays main road. Clear cloudless skies made way for the beginning of an epic day of racing and spectating at the Plett Downhill Rage 2014.

This year saw some big names in the lineup, SA’s number one Decio  Lourenco, ex Plett local and SA’s number two Jason Brown, winner of last years race and time trial, as well as international skaters Kyle Wester (USA)and Marie Bougourd (France), also known as Spoky Woky.

The setup for the run was pretty similar to 2013, starting from the Dolphin Circle in Odlands, a gradual gradient into an easy right then left into a steep right, increasing your speed from 45km/h to 80+km/h within a matter a seconds. After the straight you’re met with a long right that straightens out and takes you through the Red Bull finish arch. The only exception to the track this year was the introduction of a bottle neck chicane that ran across the two inside lanes halfway down the main straight, pushing the riders to take a wider line into the remaining two lanes that opened up into four lanes as you entered the bottom corner.

After all the preparations were done, the practice runs got on the way, a slight headwind started to appear but this was seen a blessing due to the intense heat of the summer sun trying to torture anything wrapped in leather.

Pretty soon it became apparent that the road surface had become increasingly more rough than the previous year. Cracks got larger, little holes got slightly bigger and the bottom corner saw a number of riders wobbling through at 80+km/h but managed to stick it somehow.
The Plett Rage shuttle service constantly drove riders uphill like worker ants bringing food to the nest allowing riders to get as many practice runs in as possible. Soon the practice runs were a thing of the past making way for the time trials where a R5000 Nixon watch would be slapped onto the wrist of the winner of the fastest time. From the first run, it seemed that almost everyone had either lost, misplaced or broke their old watch during one of the many parties the previous night.

Guys were pushing hard of the top to get as much speed through the first two corners into the slight headwind that had picked up in the meantime. Last years title for the fastest time run was taken by Arbor Skateboards and Core skater, Jason Brown. This year he repeated that by winning the time trials with a time of 44.31 seconds, flying through the last corner at 93km/h and getting to slap that nice R5000 Nixon watch onto his wrist.

1pm, lunch time. Spectators were treated by some drift trikers making their slip ‘n slidey way down Odlands, allowing the skaters to take their leather off for a while, cool down and refuel.

Around 1:40, leathers got pulled back on,  first heats were called out to get ready for racing. 2pm, first heat got underway, everyone pushing as hard as they could to make podium this year and walk away with the R4000 first prize. Round 1 and 2 went by with some sketchy close calls. A few didn’t come off unscathed. On two occasions the medics had to be called in for a dislocated shoulder and a slight concussion.

After the track was cleared the quarters lined up at the Dolphin circle at the top of Odlands. With each heat all four competitors went tight through the top section, trying to get as much draft as possible before the drop of into the right. Each run towards the final seemed to get faster and tighter. The semis followed straight after, tension started to mount at the bottom of the hill as the final was next in the menu.

4pm, the light Easterly wind had picked up through the day carrying some seagulls as they soared overhead looked down onto the backs of Decio Lourenco, Richard Dwesa and Kyle Wester as the they battled it out towards the finish line of the 2014 Plett Downhill Rage, but it was Kyle Wester from the USA taking first place followed by SA’s Decio Lourenco and Richard Dwesa in third.

The women’s division saw Boardhub skater, Gabi-Murray Roberts from Cape Town , Marie Bougourd aka Spoky Woky and Cherisse Morris lining up at the top. Big thanks to Gabi for getting the guys into place at the starting line and setting them off while standing in her leathers in the heat.

Marie dropped into the right first, followed closely by Gabi slowly gaining with Cherisse Morris at the back as they closed in on the bottom corner of the women’s final. Upon entering the corner Marie fell victim to Odlands’ little surprises and wobbled in the corner, Gabi took advantage of the opportunity and slipped past on the inside lane and overtook Marie a couple of meters before crossing the finish line through the Red Bull arch.

Just as quick as the day started it ended. But it ended with the satisfaction of having conquered Odlands with her surprises through and around each corner. Lets hope that next we’ll get to see her with a fresh layer of coating to cover up those nasty little surprises…

Big thanks to Nature Sport Co for hosting the event as well as to all the sponsors; Sector 9, key sponsor of the event, Peg, The Table restaurant and bar, Face Adrenaline, Nixon, Red Bull and Plett surf and lifesaving club.

Final results

1st Kyle Wester (USA)
2nd Decio Lourenco (SA)
3rd Richard Dweza (SA)
4th Tom Courly (SA)

1st Gabi Murray- Roberts (SA)
2nd Marie Bougourd (France)
3rd Cherisse Morris (SA)

Official Video:

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