“So, you’ve only just read number 4 and suddenly BAM, there it is, number 5 – in your face. The weather has cooled a bit of late which sucks a bit, and it’s rained a lot, which is a good thing really, I haven’t had to water the veggie patch and it has also made for some nice slippy sideways action on the hill. As I write I’m still stoked from an awesome weekend. Gorge road jump jam went off with a canon sized bang. I haven’t spent time dirt jumping for a while so I was well rusty, but still, some of the stuff that went down was off the hook, especially to say it’s still early season. Flips, 720’s, 3 whips, 3 double whips and not to mention a couple of decent stacks. It almost didn’t happen though, what with the afore mentioned weather threatening to stop the whole affair. A lot of rain in the week meant the park was closed, annoying some folks, but at the end of the day it just had to be done. Come jam day morning there were heavy showers and a few assumed it wouldn’t go ahead. But then, ever so slowly, that big yellow ball in the sky burnt through the clouds and in no time the place was ready to go. Come kick off it was still quite soft in the flats, meaning big pumps were compulsory to make it through the sets. But as the day wore on it dried out wonderfully, and by 5pm, it was dusty.
Massive thanks again to the club for all their effort and input, Nathan Greenwood for all his effort with the place, and everyone who goes down and grabs a spade. Revolver for keeping everyone pumped with fresh beats, and Matty Boombatty entertaining everyone on the mic. Thanks also to all the spectators and supporters who gathered (I even spotted Fabien Pedemanaud having a gander at one point) and Hells for the free pizza! One of my favourite parts of the day was Tom Hey and Luke McCombie flowing through the big set and finishing it off with a high/low wallride job at the end. Precise work indeed. It turned out to be a great day, fackin stoked. Here’s a few snaps from Graeme Cooper.
Nathan Greenwood (Yellow) and Tom Hey with some new school hi-5 action!
Tom and Luke, wallride fun.
Later that same evening, my good friend Dan Thwaite rang and said some kids had just come into Vertigo asking if anyone was doing the dh race in Kaitangata. I think his reply must have been “Kaitanga-whatty now?”. Turns out the fun wasn’t gonna end with the jump jam. Some last minute plans were made that night and alarms were set for a quarter to five… Sooooo early… Sunday morning and I was picked up, pillow in one arm, bike and helmet in the other. I think I remember the first 5 minutes of the drive, then zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, then almost 3 hours later, I woke up and we were there. Time travel does exist, it’s called sleep.
Arriving at the venue it felt a lot like some of the dh races I used to do back home. A little unsealed road leading up to the bottom of the track where the uplifts would load up and the nice catering lady would sort you out with a drink and a sausage roll. People chatting and catching up. Just a real friendly vibe, down to earth, everyone there to ride bikes and just have some fun. We got ready and headed up for the first run, and straight away I loved the track. Not the steepest but full of flow, some good technical sections, fast sections as well as a nice big gap jump in the middle to keep you on your toes. It was greasy as well, that rain making things a little more exciting and unpredictable. The bottom section ran through a gully, winding sharp lefts and rights with rock gardens and drops littered throughout. Line choice was vital, a good run could all come undone in these final stages so easily. I stoved it into a tree on my second practise run just after a step up, bending my brake lever pretty bad. Got the guns on it and bent it back and she was sorted well enough to race on, which is good because I was having a ball and didn’t want it to end.
Race time… Dan, Phil and I walked down to watch the juniors head off first. There’s some quick boys there. Seriously, if only the NZ dollar was a stronger currency I reckon you’d see far more young kiwis shredding the international scene. There is so much untapped talent here. It was a best of two runs deal, I didn’t see my first time, my run felt ok, I knew where I had lost time. Second run was way better, same as the first but fixed all the mistakes this time. Eventually, to my surprise, I ended up joint first with Pete Miller from Invercargill with a 2min28sec run each. The timekeepers referred back to our first time where I had gone faster than Pete, and based on this I ended up winning. Stoked! A hundred cash and a wee trophy made the weekend! Thanks to everyone at Kaitangata for a great day. I’ll be back for sure.
You’ll have to excuse me here, I didn’t catch this lad’s name. He was quick, he actually took the fastest time of the day. A 2min19sec run was so quick. And still a junior. Keep it up fella. (I’m sure someone’s gonna post his name below)
The old Bighit did me proud. Even with bent rear brake lever.
(Big thanks to Adam Hutchison for the race photos)
And the action continues this week too. Thursday is the League of Gentlemen’s Really Railing Rally Race at 7 Mile. So until then… Happy riding.”