FairCape Challenge II

FairCape Challenge II

The rain just seem to keep on coming this year. It rained on Friday night in Cape Town but it was nice and dry by early morning. Douglas “Dalua” da Silva, Robin Sandberg and I got a ride to the race with Ivo and the clouds still looked questionable but the front had largely passed and any new rain would not last long enough to wet the ground. Heck yes.

Saturday started with a big practice session. The tailwind was there but still something to be worked on. The forecast had set Sunday to be the strongest tailwind on the course. The practice was fun with plenty of runs and much filming to be had. I was sad to have the chicanes I loved so much from two years ago to be abandoned for one row of bales that tried to force you towards the inside line for the fast right hand sweeper!

The course is fairly tame without strong tailwinds obtaining speeds of around 90km/h and hitting into 115km/h in strong South East winds! The top is a rolling section with a mild right and the broad left into a final straight before the right sweeper that presents the biggest challenge. After that the course heads down straight with a small left kink. It is scattered with rough pavement in the left lane and clean on the right.

I enjoy the speed of tailwinds but despise how frustrating it is to race in. Drafting is almost all but gone and thrown in reverse where riders only feel “draft” by stealing the push lead riders get from the wind and block them out of it. Your whole grasp of drafting is flipped and at no where near the same effect. Drafting becomes a long and valiant effort.

Saturdays qualifying produced an almost certain lead by Dalua in the first round that shocked the unsuspecting South Africans who couldn’t believe his monstrous push! It was fun to see people get blow away by his crazy push. I placed 3rd by the second round moving up one spot to beat local Glen Phillips and coming in behind Christoph Batt. Dalua maintained first but everyone had moved up from their first round to catch up and get closer.

Sunday was as predicted. The wind was strong and only getting stronger. The straights seemed shorter and the whole run was SO quiet you could barely hear anything. The wind was pushing riders downhill much faster and even stealing their sound waves to create the noticeable silence on the ride down. A short practice session was followed by lunch and then the racing began!

Juniors and luge raced first and then Open Downhill Skateboarding stepped in. Races were intense and filled with close calls and upsets. I raced hard and won all my heats heading into the finals. A large upset occurred when Christoph Batt was eliminated in the semi-finals. Dalua on the other side of the bracket pounded the pavement hard for all but the semi-final where Ramón Königshausen was able to lock on and stay close. This only meant no room for error and Dalua’s push in the final heat was more than enough to secure his win.

I screwed up my push and started a touch late and had to work up to the front to catch Dalua. I passed Matt early and closed in on Ramon thinking his “draft” would be enough to catch Dalua but it was not. I had lost too much ground early in the race and had much to make up. I was much more happy with my performance racing on Sunday then some of the practice runs on the previous day so I was happy. We finished up with the podium: 1st Dalua, 2nd Mischo (me), 3rd Matt Arderne and 4th Ramón Königshausen.

Thanks SAGRA for organizing another successful race!