Skate Hog Hill team members had asked why many skaters don’t sign up to race with the response being that many felt intimidated by the more experienced riders.
As a result, racing will be run in two groups; ‘A’ for more advanced riders and ‘B’ for those less experienced. This will allow those less confident in downhill to gain some experience racing someone of a similar level.
“The racing is being run like this because we want to give everyone a chance of experiencing racing and, hopefully, giving them a solid foundation to improve in the future. After all, if we don’t allow new riders into the DH scene it will eventually become ‘stagnant’.” Says Brandon Fanthome of the Skate Hog Hill team.
This year, when completing the race signup form there will be the option of racing in Group ‘A’ or Group ‘B’. Riders with experience, especially those who have been on Euro Tour, competed in IDF or BDSL Nationals, and those comfortable at skating 30/35mph, for instance, will go into Group A. For those new to the sport, those who have taken part in a few events already but feel less confident and those not used to possibly reaching 35mph should choose Group B.
It is the rider’s option to choose which group they wish to compete under. Once registration is closed, The Skate Hog team will cast their eye and decide final group allocations. “Of course, anyone can appeal if they feel they have been allocated the wrong group” says Brandon, “and they can contact me to discuss this further.”
Although this change primarily supports the less advanced riders, the Skate Hog team hope that advanced riders will appreciate it too. In the past, race heats have been decided randomly and it was very common for a heat to have one of the best riders in the country racing complete beginners. Those advanced riders will now find their races more challenging, with tighter packs to keep them on their toes for the whole of the race day, and not just in the quarter/semi finals.
Unfortunately, due to the current low numbers, The Crackling is unlikely to be featuring separate Women’s or Grom’s categories and those riders should include themselves in the Open’s, deciding on Group ‘A’ or Group ‘B’.
The Skate Hog team recognises the growth in women in the sport, and will be watching the sign-up numbers so this may well change. Remember, girls, Emily Pross won Open’s last year at IDF’s Seaside event in the Philippines – be encouraged! 🙂
Luge will remain the same.
Skate Hog Hill events; The Crackling, Summer Swine Stomp and Hogtoberfest, are all rider-friendly events and many of today’s top riders here in the UK cut their teeth here. It is a short track with sweeping curves and a fun chicane before rolling out to finish. For first time practise runs, there is the option to take the lower, more sweeping curve, to get use to the feel of the initial downhill speedy bit. Many beginners start lower down, wait for a gap as the more confident riders fly past, and then have a go. Work your way up to the start line, you won’t regret a moment of it!
St. John’s Ambulance are on site and conveniently positioned by the chicane. The cafe serves hot snacks and beverages throughout the weekend. There are a few stalls and infinite knowledge should you need anything from wheels to advice!
If you going to have a go, remember you will need a helmet and gloves with pucks. It is highly recommended that you use a full-face helmet, wear skid protection; knee and elbow pads at least, leathers at best.
Do feedback to Skate Hog Hill via the links below to let them know what you think about this race format. They are working hard to ensure the Hog Hill events cater for everyone and are a thoroughly enjoyable experience for all. These events are fun and lighthearted; excellent opportunity for pack riding practice and to give new riders a taste of racing. These aren’t going to be super serious races, because of the nature of the hill.
Save that for the BDSL!
For further information, updates and to feedback follow the links:
Words : Brandon Fathome, editted by ThrillMagUK
Photos : Quan Van (Skate Hog’s Summer Swine Stomp 2018)