"Wales has its fair share of claims to fame from hosting some of the most wonderful views in the British Isles to being the birthplace of Tom Jones to having a language that sounds like a scrabble champion having a brainwave without any vowels.
However, in the last five years or so Wales has been renowned, in the longboarding scene, to harness some of the most gorgeous hills for downhill skating (the parts that have been explored that is!) Brianne Collective have been harnessing these powers of knowledge to run events such as Brianne Freeride in 2014 and Tregaron in 2015 and 2016 respectively. These hills are just the tip of the iceberg, however and Mr Campbell has a host of spots that are nothing short of exceptional, although trying to find them out by asking is like attempting to write a Lord of the Rings article with your feet.
Heading up on Friday afternoon on the train to Cheltenham felt different to other times. It would become my first look at Dale Goodwin’s Borderlands Skatehouse, the first official one of its kind in the UK. What would it look like? Will I end up sleeping in a bathtub? Should I fart inside the house? After a two and a half train ride, it was a 50 meter walk from Cheltenham spa train station to the Skatehouse.
After a great deal of chilling out, Lewis, Hermione and Jed arrived and we promptly got around to speaking about getting to Abercynon and various antics we had all been up to. A ground mattress of memory foam provided an awesome night’s sleep, although Jed’s ability to sleep with both eyes open was absolutely terrifying to witness at 2am.
Waking up in the morning and picking up George Judge at Bristol Parkway, we got to the hill around 11am. A sweeping right into a 70 degree left followed by a chicane into a right hand hairpin, followed shortly by two 90 degree lefts. A technical hill with some speed on the side.
Another phenomena which Wales is known for is the pouring rain. At around 12:30, the heavens opened like confetti on New Year ’s Eve and soaked the hill. It had been mostly dry up to this point, with no paws runs being attempted and the grass bank in the first left being potmarked with where misjudged sliders had skidded and slammed.
At the 13:30 mark the racing began. A flurry of crashing, surprise match-ups and surprise results created a run down that was anything but ordinary. Danye West reached the semi-finals playing the cautious game and Johnathon Braund reached the final with Ras and Aaron Skippings.
The final that ensued was entertaining in the highest degree, with crashing and a very close 1st and 2nd place. Despite the tightness of the racing, the sportsmanship and goodwill was inescapable and provided the awesome vibes that spin round the scene like a merry go round.
After this was a mega luge race, of which 12 individuals took part. A flurry of hand pushing and everyone just barely making it led to a hilarious tangle of legs with yours truly intertwining with John Lee and taking out Gareth Chamberlin after the finish line. Aaron continued his winning streak in the Luge with Gareth second and John Lee third.
Podiums were remarkably modest and relaxed, with the opens coming up first, followed by the luge and Bodhi Keen happier than a kid in a chocolate factory that John had a podium. As the man who was soundly beaten to third, Hell Yeah John!!!!
A follow run or two ensued, with no one being ran over and levels of serotonin remaining high. A fitting end to a remarkable day.
A massive thank you to the Brianne Collective for the event, to everyone for being awesome as and to everyone who was marshalling! Also to Dale Goodwin for the ride and crashpad! Do check out the Borderlands Skatehouse and spend a weekend there!"
A round up of videos to really get the feel:
Ruben Forrester & Cai Davies
Gareth Chamberlain - Team GB Streetluge
Ras Sarulas Rasalas - BTR Leathers