1. Kevin Reimer (Vancouver)
2. Nate Lang (Squamish)
3. Mischo Erban (Vernon)
4. Douglas Silva (Brazil)
5. Hugh Johnson (Vancouver)
6. Adam Yates (Australia)
7. Spencer Smith (Seattle)
8. Andrew MacCannell (Calgary)
1. Brianne Davies (Burnaby)
2. Christen Gregorson (Ottawa)
3. Katie Neilson (Langley)
4. Charlie Daigneault (Pender Harbour)
1. George Mackenzie 16yrs - (Calgary)
2. Wolfgang Coleman 15yrs - (Vancouver)
3. Steve Kopyt 16 yrs - (Whistler)
4. Quinn Dubois 9 yrs - (Deep Cove, N. Vancouver)
Nearly 100 leathered longboarders spent Saturday, May 23 in Britannia Beach mining Copper Drive concrete for adrenaline in the inaugural Gold Rush Challenge.
Spectators were positioned behind hay bales around all five corners, especially the three hairpins, cheering on the racers as they desperately clung to the cusp of control while skateboarding at speeds pushing 100km/hr. Leather suits frequently skidded across the hot pavement but it was the braking wheels that left marks as reminders of the track’s aggressiveness.
Although the downhill event featured top international competitors, British Columbians earned the top three finishes and a total of $2000 in prize money. Former Squamish resident Nate Lang, who now lives in Vancouver, placed second behind fellow Vancouverite Kevin Reimer. Vernon’s Mischo Erban placed third and Brazil’s Douglas Dalua placed fourth in the four-man final.
The Britannia Beach track forced the racers to use technical skills in order to find a balance between fast and frantic, said co-organizer Lee Cation.
“This track brought out a different style of winning rider, someone who can handle the high-speed drifts to stick those corners and have complete control of their board while losing speed and gaining speed. It’s no wonder that it was some people from the region that won because they can tackle the terrain.
“Once again we’re seeing that the talent is in B.C. and in Canada,” he said.
Burnaby’s Brianne Davies was the top female finisher and ended up beating most of the male competitors. Meanwhile, 16-year-old George MacKenzie of Calgary was the top Grom racer, which refers to the young up-and-coming longboarders. And 14-year-old Spencer Smith of Seattle placed second in the Grom category and eighth overall.
The consensus from the boarders was that the track indeed provided one of the most intense descents in North America. Max Erwin was eliminated after crashing twice in the semi-final heat.
“ is a bit scarier because this is probably the gnarliest race course there’s been in Canada to date,” he said, adding that it’s difficult to continue racing after an accident.
“You’re in the zone as you’re riding and when you crash you break out of that and it’s a bit weird. It’s a different feeling after you crash, for sure.”
Salt Spring Island Longboarder Adrian English didn’t make it to the final but was pleased to get through the race without foot-braking, which is a less skillful way of cutting speed than turning the board sideways.
“It’s a crazy course,” he said. “You really have to think about the corner and your braking technique in the corner because there’s no way you’re making it though at 80 or 95km/hr. It’s really a top notch track – world class stuff.”
Cation and fellow organizer Bricin Lyons said they hope to make the Gold Rush Challenge an annual event.
above written by NEIL JUDSON
POSTED: MAY 29, 2009
"It was an epic day in Britannia Beach. We had sunny skies and awesome turn out. Big shout outs to all the volunteers and the residents of Britannia Beach! We gave out $2000 in GOLD and tons of prizes"