I spent my weekend volunteering at the Rubber City Gravity Games, and wow, what a great weekend it was!
The Akron NorAm Series IGSA race included Street Luge, Classic Luge and Downhill Skateboarding. Some of the top racers in the world came out to the AK Rowdy to compete for World Cup points, which ranked them internationally.
Saturday, 8 a.m.
The two day event started as the coldest September morning I have ever experienced. The wind was capable of knocking over an entire rack of longboards, literally an entire rack of longboards were blown over before practice even started.
Despite the cold weather and strong winds, the racers hit the course at about 10 a.m. for practice runs. Both practice runs and qualifying runs continued throughout the day with no serious incidents or injuries. The wind did slow racers down a bit but David Dean, the guy who made this event possible, still estimated the course to be about 50 mph for luge and 45 mph for downhill skateboards.
In the meantime
Bystanders browsed both the Sun Valley Sports and Original Skateboard tents. SVS was offering all decks (including completes) at 30% off. SVS will most likely not sell boards at that price anytime soon, so if you missed that, well, I’m sorry.
As the day continued both competing and non-competeing longboarders held a makeshift slide jam at the access road next to the course. This is always my favorite part of events; When skaters get together just for the heck of it to do what they love. With standies, pack runs and technical slides for days, this was super fun to watch and participate in!
To many Akron residents this was the first time they had seen a downhill skateboard or luge race. Two-year-old, Mona, responded to the race in this fashion: “Whoa! They go fast!” Little did she know, they would go even faster Sunday.
Although still a little chilly, it was sunny and not windy. This was great news for the riders who no longer had the wind blowing against them as they rode the course. With faster speeds and warmer weather, the racers tore up the course competing for a spot on the Redbull podiums!
So here it is, crash corner. This is a controversial topic because let’s be honest, we all want to see a crash, but no one wants to see anyone get seriously hurt. It’s one of those “be careful what you wish for” scenarios.
Well, yeah, be careful what you wish for because Victor Schumacher suffers both a broken fibula and dislocated shoulder after a collision with Tony Mistretta around the first corner of the course.
I have to give it to Schumacher though, he hobbled back on his luge and finished the race before being taken to the hospital. I also have to give it out to all the other racers and bystanders. Dean was bombarded with concern about Schumacher from racers, bystanders and even through the live webcast, which had an incredible 10,500+ viewers despite not announcing the live streaming until Friday afternoon.
As always, extreme sporting events remind me of the community in which we are all intertwined with through the love for adrenaline. I am already looking forward to Rubber City Gravity Games 2013!
After handing out awards, Dean announced his plans to bring another IGSA sanctioned race to Rubber City! This time he hopes to hold the race on a faster and longer hill, or as the locals call it, North Portage Path! See you all next year at Rubber City Gravity Games 2013!
And a big thanks to David Dean as well as Sun Valley Sports, Original Skateboards, Soap Box Derby, Ohio Gravity Racing, Zero Gravity, IGSA, Shelly & Sands, Inspark Marketing, Rey Trucks, Ivan’s Diner, Triple Eight, Eastern Skateboard Supply, Never Summer, Tum Yeto, Bear Naked, Sector 9, Arbor Skateboards and Syndrome.
Final Race Results:
1. Matthew English (USA)
2. Kyle Wester (USA)
3. Luke Melo (CAN)
1. Rachel Rayne (USA)
2. Lynn Kramer (USA)
3. Jennifer Demarco (Rubber City Native & fellow Sun Valley Sports rider!)
Junior 1 Downhill Skateboard (ages 8-13; Yes we had both a 10 and 13 year old race!):
1. Tristan Bell (CAN)
2. Greg Paproski (USA)
Junior 2 Downhill Skateboard (ages 14-17):
1. Quin Finocchio (CAN)
2. Max Vickers (USA)
3. Daniel Hopwood (USA and Ohio Downhill rider)
1. Frank Williams (USA)
2. William Condon (CAN)
2. Kolby Parks (CAN)
1. Justin Crenshaw (USA)
2. Christopher Hicks (USA)
3. Kolby Parks (CAN)
For more photos check out Brent Veverka Photography