RRM2014 – Mossel Bay Race Review


RRM2014 – Mossel Bay Race Review

Written by: Louw Sevenster
Photos by: Louw Sevenster

Last year saw the event being held with a strong tail wind, resulting in speeds in the high nineties. This year however the riders were faced with a moderate head wind that was of little impact as speeds in the high eighties were recorded. The course remained the same but this year saw the introduction of a traffic island in the last corner coming out of the chicane, which resulted in some rethinking of lines taken the previous year.

Also a new and favoured addition to the course was hay bales instead of tyres for safety reasons after last years almost fatal incident on the exit of the chicane into “The Drop”.

Riders were keen to get as many runs in as possible, which most likely had something to do with the temperature. Being a typical summers day (32°C) they were craving the cool feeling of the wind on their faces (if they had their visors up) as they sped down the hill.

Familiar faces from last year, Decio Lourenco (RRM 2013 winner), Richard Dweza, Jason Brown & Gabi Murray Roberts went full tilt, chasing the overall fastest time for themselves to guarantee a good seeding for the race heats.

Early morning routines on the first day involved studying the chicane and drawing mental lines, while others just suited up, waited for the thumbs up and tackled it head on.

Saturday was set aside for practice runs and time trials to get accustomed to the course. Newbies to Riding Road Mountains got their first introduction to the course after negotiating the chicane at 40-45km/h after which they entered The Drop, increasing their speed instantly to 70-85km/h. Some wobbly and sketchy runs went down that kept spectators cringing and holding their breaths.

Sunday the 5th was greeted with a misty morning with no winds but the mist soon gave way to the sun, resulting in another epic and extremely hot day of skating.

From the very first run it became apparent that everyone wanted to take the title this year. The day started with a few warm up runs to get used to the new conditions and around noon, the first heats were standing at the starting line, by this time a slight head wind appeared but no one even mentioned what influence it might have on their run.

All divisions came raging through the chicane, shoulder to shoulder, just missing the hay bales as they entered the drop. Glaring eyes were stationed at the top of Marsh Street where most of the action took place. The cringing and holding of breaths continued as riders came down in their respective heats, bundling through the chicane at pace.

The race wasn’t without any incidents. A few ended up in the bales on the chicane exit, one run almost saw a repeat of last years race when a rider cracked a vertebrae in his neck and had to be rushed to the hospital. Thanks to the introduction of hay bales this year, the rider walked away with a mild concussion after being knocked out for few seconds.

The remaining heats ran fairly smooth with minor hay bale crashes, wheel clippings on the push and through the chicane. With each run, all eyes followed the riders all the way down the long straight across the finish line to see who would make it to the finals.

The highlight of the event finally made its appearance after a day and a half of searing heat, close calls and tight runs…the finals. Spectators literally jumped to their feet with each passing of the skaters going down the straight towards the finish. And then, just as quick as the event kicked off, it came to an end. The prize giving was the next item to be ticked off for the weekend.

The podiums for the respective divisions ran as follows:

Junior 1 saw Vito Torrente taking first, Gabriel Yaffes second and Eneo Hollenbach third. Ryan Morris took first of the Junior 2 division, followed closely by Joey Marcus and Janoah Slijpen in third. First place in the classic luge went to Glen Phillips, followed closely by Elster Pieterse and Bojan Basic coming in third. Glen and Elster took first and second again in Street Luge and Richard Dweza got third. The Opens saw Decio Lourenco leading the final run through the chicane and kept his lead to take first place, Alex Troy Meyer close behind him in second and Tom Courly in third.

All in all it was a really epic weekend of racing. Well done to Waves Surf Shop for an awesome event and also to all the representatives of SAGRA for running everything so smoothly.

Check out Matt Ardernes head camera video of Semi Final 1 and the Finals:

Here’s Matt cruising through the chicane:


Photos by Louw Sevenster

Photos by Carel Krog

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