It has been quite busy over the past few weeks. I was pretty much drowning in day to day stuff. A zombieish‘ feel to the weeks, I guess you know what I’m talking about. But then there’s always, thanks to rad people like Matt, something to look forward to. In this case, the first race of the Freiburg Winter Outlaw Series or the Slow Motion Downhill Racing for $$$. I was pretty eager to get out of the misty and packed town, traffic was already driving me mad. I just grabbed a backpack, my tiny Dinghy (not a really competitive race board, haha) and headed for the Kaiser Stuhl – the warmest area in Germany which is located around 20km outside Freiburg.
Matt started the „Slow Motion Racing“ last winter. When he just thought: „what the hell. Who cares about bad weather. If you wanna skate, then skate. I’ll put together a race series in winter“. He held 5 races, all on private tiny back roads in all conditions. Because of possible bad weather conditions he only chose roads that wouldn’t be too fast but test your skill when slippery. You chip in 5 Euros and you’re in. Pot gets divided by the top three. The format is a couple of rounds in race to qualify for points to seed the brackets and then it’s elimination rounds. The heat size depends on the track. Last year we had two man, four man and even six man heats. Rad! You can check out some of the past events here at the Layback Blog or Rollige Brettl. There’s also a whole video recap which you can find on Layback’s Vimeo. Matt originally is from England but has been around Freiburg for the past 5 years on and off. He’s been one of the cats making the infamous Hackbrett boards. Here you can see him playing that broom guitar to the max and going sideways in full style.
At first this racing idea sounds kind of nuts, racing in bad weather, naaaah. And bad weather usually means freezing cold, rain and whatnot. But then at a second glimpse you think, yeah – he’s right. The weather aside this offers all we love about skateboarding. Skating itself, meeting friends, hanging out, testing your skill on unusual terrain and a freakin good time. The racing is just part of it but not the main aspect. At least for me. It still creates that buzz to be standing at the start line though. No matter if world cup or racing against your friends just for the fun of it. The cool thing is that the owners of these private roads are down to let us have fun there. I wasn’t sure where to park the XV and went for the wet infield at first. It took me around 5 minutes to get out there again. Really slippery and I really didn’t want to bail in front of everyone and just made it so.
This winter’s first race was pretty unusual though. It was kind of cold but the sun was out. It was actually dry! Last year on this course we had mud and partly snow. Anyways, we gathered at the hill and everyone was warming up. We had groups from Freiburg of course, then around the Karlsruhe area, Konstanz, Calw and Munich. So there’s been a great mix of folks. From sponsored chaps like Hackbrett, Madrid and Graveyard Longboards to groms who were eager to skate and constantly went up and down the track all day. In total there were 13 starters. Here’s a picture of ambitious practice sessions.
I for myself wasn’t sure if I’d race but I at least wanted to witness the action. In the end I couldn’t resit and joined in. On my Dinghy. As I was a little late and just arrived half past 11 I just had two practice runs. The Dinghy wasn’t dialed but who cares. My goal was to have as much fun as possible. That’s guaranteed on this board due to it’s sketchiness on the hill. Smiles and slight, bouncy wobbles were guaranteed too, tehe.
Also we had Chrissi taking care of the startline. You better be sure not to mess up when he’s around … haha.
I’ve lost all of my heats except for one. But I wasn’t really planning on beating anyone down there on my mini cruiser. I was glad enough that I could keep up from time to time. I think I didn’t come last though, made 11th in qualifying and over all I don’t know. It was definitely mostly running against myself on the small board. Sometimes my toes just slipped over the nose but I could wrap around the edge and hold on to it. Here’s a picture of one of the slides that actually worked.
After being eliminated in the first round I found a rad place to watch the action. It was awesome to see everyone having a good time. Also the level was pretty damn solid. Very little crashing, all gentleman racing. If something went wrong the guys took care of it right away by restarting at the spot or letting the other go first. Also the groms held it down. The racing overall was pretty tight. This was due to a one push start rule and the technical track. Heats were tight and passing was pretty difficult on that tight road. In the end, it was Janto of Team Graveyard making first place and Jonas from Hackbrett taking second. So the groms took the podium! Max came in third and Cris in fourth. There was beer and some $$$ for the winners. The overall ranking should be up soon. I guess the guys need to process last nights beverages first, tehe. Also there’s a mad trophy vor the overall series winner! Best three races count so join in next time!
Afterwards the squad went back to Layback Skateshop, had a few more cold ones and enjoyed a nice mini ramp session. With the sun disappearing and the temperatures dropping below 5 degrees I jumped on the bike and headed home. What a pleasure to cruise after a day of skating.
This was a Saturday perfectly spend in my opinion. Meeting friends, playing skateboards and going for a ride on the bike. Thanks again Matt for putting it together and really supporting our scene here. Also props to everyone showing up and making the drive! A special thanks goes out to Gustav. He’s the photographer who has been sticking with us in Freiburg for the past few years always holding it down, sitting in some bush and capturing the action. If I recall it right he’s going to get all the images online on his Facebook so be sure to check him out at Guvat.Photo He’s pretty damn good with the camera, not just in terms of skateboarding. Thanks for supplying the pictures for this article.
Cheers and see you at the hill! Looking forward to race number two!