For the brave men and women who do not fear the cold, wet, muddy, windy, sloshy, gooey, moist and treacherous English winters. We salute you. Photo's by Will Edgecombe and words by Ben Stainer.
The New Year brings many joys and strange twists ‘new year, new me’ and a heap of new skate gear. But where to test it in a country with angry neighbours, rat dogs and a winter season with enough rain to create a new lagoon in the middle of Gloucester?
The New Year Skate Bash has had it’s range of experiences and surprises. From attempting to walk up an icy gradient steeper than the national debt, to Will Stephenson’s house and entire floor space becoming a massive game of human land-mine every time someone needed a pee in the night.
With this in mind, I was off via train and rain to Cheltenham the day before chaos commenced. I met (the ever stoked) Dale Goodwin, we travelled via his pimp wagon to his home a wonder of skate gear and very comfortable sofas.
The best surprises come out of nowhere, a Sega mega drive with Micro Machines and Sonic the Hedgehog! The wired controllers, 16 bit graphics and enough laughter to fill up this entire article, but one must not forget the most important aspect of the event. The Skating.
Skate without Sanity
The morning dawned and we were all raring to go. Jorge questioned the sanity of what we were about to do but we arrived timely at St James’s road. Within half an hour a flurry of skaters arrived.
Despite the rain, there were some incredible moments of skater antics. Hereford super-grom Richie Rogers was breaking out the one footed slides with the elegance of a butterfly, the Cheltenham Groms were hammering it, with Alex and George nailing down pre-drifts and being rad as anything.
At around 1pm, with water thoroughly soaking everything, it was straight off to the infamous impossible road. A right hander and 2 quick hairpins awaited us, and a rock wall and heavy mud awaiting those who overshot the left hander. After an ocean formed in my shoes and hearing ‘why are we doing this?’ echo from Jorge, it was up to a path thinner than a supermodels waistline. Without much further ado and with rain pattering down, we all commenced.
Runs ranged from ambitious to the utterly bonkers. Nearly everyone ended up in the mud, with Ross from the Skate to Escape crew winning the prize for ‘most likely to grow a field on his clothing’. Ry’s nose-blunts were Rad as hell and Tom and Dale were doing pack runs. Bodhi squatted for days, Jed Chapman showing how best to take out lurkers, Jooz and Jorge were full on stand up sliding the whole run, awesome to witness.
The prize for dedication went to Alan (Lone, lost and from London), after much mud rolling, he hadn’t bought any spare clothes. As everyone else slowly withered away back to their cars, Jed and Ross had their persistence rewarded, both getting past the treacherous left hander.
It was off to relax, clean off all the accumulated muck, hang up wet clothes and eat Dale’s Special Spaghetti Bolognese.
Off to the pub
The evening got into full swing. A drinking contest ended in a draw with just over 3 seconds to down a pint of cider. Chats with an american couple had Ross beaming from ear to ear when hearing the word ‘Ham’ in the unique accent, we went back to Dales, still laughing and attempting to imitate ‘Ham’ all the way.
The morning beckoned with the pattering of rain from outside. We got our gear together, exercised economical car packing and bought enough food at Sainsbury’s to feed a zoo.
The layers of mud and slip were nuts, with many falling off at full pelt into the leaves that awaited on the outskirts of the first corner. Will went full style, doing a Coleman all the way around the first corner, leaving many in awe and encouraging Jorge to give the same trick a great number of tries. Ry went full in, giving squats at full pelt while Lewis came charging into the corner like a horse having a panic attack. The second corner being straight after the first was a bedlam of switching positions and amazing washouts, sending many into the stream formed by so much rain. Mention must be given to Hermione, whose tie dye had every shade of brown possible, a token of commitment to nailing the trick.
Roast Dinners & Peppa Pig
Those who had spare clothes were of great envy. The explore section of the day began as we hunted for a good pub. Full roasts dinners had everyone salivating wildly I ended up accidentally ordering 2. Jorge came out with a Peppa Pig magazine, much to the amusement and bemusement of everyone.The New Year Skate Bash had been once again a massive success. The best skaters are not those who go the fastest, but those who get everyone on the stoke express regardless of the weather! Tom and Brianne Collective, you rocked it!
Massive thank you to Dale and Ry for incredible hosting and to everyone for being such awesome fellows!