Brianne Collective - Deepest Darkest Wales - Wetness - Racing
With mixed feelings about the weather before the event, we arrived expecting that only the UK’s most dedicated skaters would come to the countryside on the last weekend of October. But a fierce band of skaters appeared, strong in number and spirit, to skate a tiny set of soaking hairpins in the middle of nowhere. Spirits were high and desperate skaters were keen earn some BDSL (British Downhill Skateboarding League) points before the end of the dry-run quarter season.
The ‘Coleford Hairpins’ consist of two switchbacks and a 90 degree righty. The bottom two corners are rough, but challenging and fun —for some— in the wet.
The photographers, Robbie Roadkill and Will Edgecombe, soon started taking pictures. This inspired more riders to tackle the hill. They were probably keen for their next instagrammable photo.
Max Mccharrie, Aidan Shilon Thomas and Jorge Higgins cautiously attempted stand up runs. Others — Ben Stainer and Ruben Loosmore — packed in as many runs as possible. They were preparing for what was to set to be a tight and unpredictable race.
The Slide Perfect team used their mystic slide powers to predict the weather and brought advanced “Harfang” rain wheels. Their foresight paid off. Bodhi, the man behind the brand was freeriding as though it were dry!
Things took a turn for the worse at midday. The heavens opened and some riders ran for cover, which was provided by Robbie Roadkill and his tarpaulin. The hardy continued riding in UKDH skate attire (Bin bags)..
There is a phenomenon in UK downhill, from which no rider is immune. It is known only as ‘UK breakdancing’. Whenever a pack of UK riders attempt to go fast, a breakdancing competition is suddenly initiated. This competition is always documented and judged by the event photographers. During one particular breakdancing session Sion Hughes was struck in the back by a flailing arm of “Big Ben”. Jack Amies, an innocent onlooker, covered his horror-drained face as he watched yet another spontaneous dance off unfold. Things can get real nasty.
Pack run after pack run went down the hill. Everyone was taking turns to spot the corners and keep riders safe. By lunch, riders grabbed some skate juice and some sort of sweets. The vegans ate hummus, weird burgers and 9Bars.
Outlaws have great appeal with the core members of the scene. Because of this, UK outlaw races always showcase the UK’s fastest and most stoked riders. They drive out to remote locations in terrible weather and charge down a hill. They risk life and limb for nothing, but glory.
Racing was announced and it was agreed that the straight knockouts would be the format. Thirty eight riders attended the event and twenty six people raced with vlour. There was a small prize up for grabs — supplied by Newtons Shred and Boardlogic — and gentleman’s racing was standard. Those with rain wheels had an advantage over the rest, who were riding slide wheels and struggling to make it round the bends.
Dan Shinnie volunteered to be Race captain for the day. He ran the racing which allowed the event organisers — the Brianne Collective — to race. Thanks Dan!
The most exciting racing took place in the rough section between the second hairpin and end of the course. A few gnarly holes which can rip your puck off or eat away at your racing line made things a bit more interesting. A perfect inside line on the second hairpin allowed those with the sliding precision to overtake anyone who missed it.
The racing was unpredictable. Hot favourites like Connor finch were knocked out straight away and new racers like Jack Amies quickly progressed to the semi finals. Connor finch managed to crash himself out in a race against only himself and the big shock for all the cocky racers was Ben Stainer’s victory, consistency is key in the Rain. For years Ben has kept his own style, having fun and stoking the scene. We’re all stoked that finally, after years of attending of events, all his positive energy has paid off. He’s is a humble guy and a truly deserved winner of the race.
Following the racing and a modest prize ceremony, everyone got back to skating for what is scheduled to be the last major outlaw of the year. Riding continued until about 4:30 when the voice of Alex Ireton declared “can we go home now guys”. The numbers began dissolving away from Coleford, almost as quickly as they came. Scores were quickly calculated for the BDSL rankings and The Brianne Collective team headed to the pub with Josh Monk and the BTR crew. The drinks and warm meal were very refreshing after a hard day of skating in the rain.
A Note from the Brianne Collective:
Thanks to all the volunteers and marshals and a big thanks to everyone for such a great year of top class skating.
Yes the sun even shone!
It was t-shirt weather!