Once again the Brianne Collective did us all proud at this year’s Tregaron Freeride and we saw some of the best in UK’s downhill skateboarding, luge and even turtle and trike! This year’s event also counted as a National Race in the BDSL calendar.
On the 16th & 17th June, skaters and lugers gathered amid the beautiful Welsh countryside to take part in this year’s only closed road freeride. Pencefn Feeds allows BC to use their track and the organisers provided those elements which always make for a chilled and easy weekend. Not only did we not have to worry about rogue traffic throughout the weekend, we had two vans for uplifts and a well-marshalled course with an on-site medic. Camping was right beside the track and, just down the road, the Y Talbot provided Saturday’s evening meal and Sunday’s breakfast.
With 3 years of efficiently run freerides behind them, Brianne pulled it out of the bag again with Canna UK, a producer of nutrients and growing mediums for the horticultural industry, coming on board as the main sponsor. When I first heard this I thought it was unusual as I know the company from my horticultural days but a quick gander on their facebook page and website you can see they support other extreme sports and hosted the skatepark at last years Boardmasters.
Since Thrill’s mobile HQ van is still in the middle of renos, I took the opportunity to share an Air B&B in the village with Kev, Ann Marie and Michal. This led to a very relaxed more and leisurely breakfast, arriving at the hill around midday.
The freeride was in full swing and I quickly got sorted and jumped on board one of the two uplift vans with my luge. Still very much at the rookie stage, this being only my second event on a luge, I took things easy, watching the experienced lugers in front (well, before they disappeared out of sight!) for positioning and technique hints. As usual, the weather changed every five minutes – wet, dry, wet, dry, dry, wet. by the time anyone thought about changing wheels they had to change them back.
Most of the day for me went smoothly with no crashes until I guess I got a bit cocky. As I tried to increase my speed and brake less – and later – I began to lose my line, taking a couple of near misses, before finally smashing into the bales pretty hard. I wasn’t the only one …
By the end of the first day, I was already down to my heel thru the 7mm brake soles I’d just applied. This taught me about my foot placement and that that needed correcting too. All in all a fun day, I kept meaning to have a little go on the skateboard but never did. The Y Talbot provided us with a delicious meal of vegetarian lasagne followed by apple crumble and custard. Perfect!
For me and Mo, we spent the rest of the evening at the A&E getting his nearly-decapitated thumb tip glued back on, whilst back at the campsite a massive campfire took centre stage.
Bodhi Keen of Gravity House hosted the raffle with tickets going for £2 and everyone winning something – whether that was beer, skittles or even skateboards – with all proceeds going towards the cost of the event.
Day 2 kicked off with an Y Talbot full English breakfast (thank you for my marmalade!) and straight to the hill for more freeride and practise runs in readiness for the afternoon races. The track was damp but I took my best run to date and decided not to jinx it so simply waited for the racing to begin.
After lunch, we all gathered at the top of the hill. Dan had organised the Opens into heats with nearly 50 stand ups taking part, a number of whom also wanted to participate in the luge category. This caused a degree of waiting but that soon got sorted out. The lugers didn’t have to wait until the end of the open category as is often the case, so I’m learning, and this was appreciated. It also, once again, shows the organisational skills of those involved – the ability to see an issue and sort it on the hop.
Of course, I didn’t qualify but I did take part in two heats, which was one more than I expected! In the second heat, I managed to get going before Troy on his sledge and thought “ah well, at least I won’t be last” Pride well and truly came before a fall and, as I clambered out from among the hay bales on the right-hander, I heard “see ya later” from Troy as he grinned at me and zoomed past!! 🙂
This year saw more women riders on the hill; not just seasoned riders but those taking their first steps in downhill skateboarding and streetluge.
Jessica Isaac has been lugeing for a while but this was her first event and it wasn’t long before she gained confidence and speed on the hill. It was great to meet new face Erni Villanueva, visiting from New Zealand, and to welcome Mist Einarsdóttir back to the UK for the season. Anastacia Macia and Beth Churn were also new to the Tregaron track but showed their mettle, taking the hill with steeze. Annie Philips took to the hill for Saturday’s freeride, having also checked out other Welsh hills in the days before. Hermione, Erni, Mist and Beth all went on to compete in the Women’s Category, taking 1st – 4th respectively.
Well protected with haybales, radio marshalls, on-scene medic, the fact that the ticket includes camping, loo facilities and shower arrangements, evening meal and breakfast there is no excuse not to do this hill. And just because it’s doable doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s a tricky little blighter but allows you to show off your technical skills and up your game, with everyone rooting for each other making for an excellent vibe.
And if you’ve managed to stay tuned and read/view to this point, then here’s a bonus for ya!
For loads of other photos and videos check out the Tregaron Freeride 2018 Facebook event page
EVENT SPONSOR : CANNA UK
SPONSOR: WOMEN’S CATEGORY – BORN TO RIDE LEATHERS
and Zero Gravity Skate Systems for the Vector M5 helmet as won by Andy Speight.
Words by Sabina, Beth, Anya, Erni, Troy, Jessica, Martin, Mo
Images by Thrill, Ollie Price, Kev Hurdle, Max Brown, Canna UK/Holly Bolus
Video : Letmefilmthis
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