Wallonhill Freeride with Longboard Manchester

Wallonhill is famous for four things; skateboarding, Jupiler beer, draft trains and rain. But this one was different.

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Wallonhill is famous for four things; skateboarding, Jupiler beer, draft trains and rain. But this one was different.

The Longboard Manchester crew set off bright and early, four guys crammed into a tiny Clio ready for the long trip to Dover and beyond. With the sun rising in a cloudless sky the stoke was palpable. As per usual the drive was eventful, wrong turns, delayed ferries, tailgating, huge potholes and a total lack of air con which made Johnny PB very uncomfortable, but after 14 hours of travelling, we finally arrived in Houyet.

The riding started on Friday morning with a dry course and people were going hard straight off the bat. UKDH rider Jamie went for a no footbrake follow the leader run with some of the locals and came out grinning like a Cheshire cat! Not everyone was so lucky though, there were a fair few big crashes on that first run, taking a few riders out for the weekend, prompting an ambulance and an emergency rider’s safety meeting. Luckily the rest of the day went smoother, the riding got faster and the grins got bigger. The highlight of the day had to be the flag runs; Ed, Lance, Reuben and myself getting tight and playing capture the flag. No trip to Houyet would be complete without a drive to the famous beer emporium (just ask Techno for the location…) so after a hard day of skating, a few of us jumped into Mikes car and after getting lost once or twice, beer was found. Crate upon crate of tasty Jupiler all at bargain low tax prices! Needless to say we took full advantage, loading up the car to such an extent that the freeride masters would have been proud.

Day 2 and it was still sunny, the forecast of Technofish was holding strong. We donned our sweaty pads, picked up our boards and got ready to roll again. After the first day we began to realise that we could go higher up the starting line-up, setting off with faster and faster riders, The UKDH crew were repping hard to show our skills. Not without some interesting moments though, Reuben and Matt touching wheels in the chicane was particularly eventful as it was in the middle of a six-man pack! But this is what freerides are all about, getting close with your buddies and going fast. As the day began to draw to an end tiredness hit, legs got wobbly, draft trains got sketchier and riders started to drop again, a particularly bad pileup on a flag run left Neil with a severely swollen leg and some savage road rash. The busses were full of stoked, bloody and smelly skaters come close of play.

As is standard, Saturday night was party night. And after some quality fireworks provided by the Blutcher guys, we hit the bar. Shapes were being thrown, the 90’s pop was blasting and the lovely cold Jupiler was going down a treat. Reuben was moving around the floor like a hero, pulling moves no-one had ever seen before! But the winner of the party has to be Jamie, who after enjoying his first taste of Bourbon Whisky, fell asleep outside his tent. Luckily his loyal friends were around to cover him with a cardboard box, can’t have the little lad get ill now, can we…

Unsurprisingly we all had heavy heads come Sunday morning, but the sunshine and busses were waiting for no one, so back up we went. The Blutcher guys went for a record, attempting to get the longest draft train ever. It started well, 27 guys in a train steaming down the hill, but then it all went a bit Pete Tong. Rider number 7 got the wobs, bringing down everyone behind him, no-one was hurt though, just a bit of battered pride! After two dry days of riding we all knew the track well, even the less experienced riders were tanking by this point, and the calls of “NO FOOTYBRAKE” could be heard throughout the pack. Watching Johnny PB shred the course like a ninja was rad, so awesome to see the younger crew coming through! The best run of that day was the last one, Lance, Ed, Matt, Reuben and myself all chasing the pole cam. Tight in the corners, constantly passing and overtaking, Finishing with a big 5 man draft train down the last straight. Huge grins on all our faces and an awesome way to finish a quality event. Check out the raw run…

If you’ve never been to a freeride, make it your priority to get to one. The vibe at these events is awesome, so many people with a single passion; Getting rad and going fast. You get to experience so many styles of riding and learn so much in such a short space of time. My thanks go out to Blutcher Longboard Club for putting on a sick event. The ManRiders (Ed, Neil, Johnny) for being such awesome travel buddies, and all of the UKDH and international riders for being so friendly, Wallonhill 2015 was incredible, 3 days of fast riding on a dry course. The next one is in September, see y’all there…

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