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Gravity Racer's Association Slalom Race Held

On Sunday, October 3, the Gravity Racers Association along with Westwood Sports Club sponsored a race at West LA College. The Events included inline slalom with four entries, gravity bicycles with five entries, butt boarding with six competitors, and slalom skateboarding with a whopping 12 racers. The inliners ripped through the cones, making the hill look like an asphalt ski slope, while the gravity bikes ran slalom and speed runs in two different classes and butt boarders hit awesome speeds as they elected to just bomb the hill from the top. But the widest range of equipment, style, and technique, not to mention the most spectacular spills, was in the slalom skateboarding.

The course set by Beau Brown was pretty loose allowing both longboards and 70s vintage slalom decks to run through the same set of cones. Still, the steepness of the hill made it necessary for all of the riders to figure out ways to slough off excess speed at the top of the hill in order to make it through the gates at the bottom. The best times were turned in by racers who could effectively control their speed up at the top, and still maintain their speed through the last half dozen cones on the flat leading to the finish. Beau instructed the riders to do whatever it takes, slide, drag a foot, to make it through the course. Said Brown on several occasions, "You can't compete if you don't complete."

"Whatever it takes" ran the gamut of standard maneuvers, like foot drags and more or less controlled slides to the downright bizarre like crouching down and dragging a foot by hanging your toe off the side of the board or dragging the plastic cap of your knee pad like a motorcycle flat track racer. The best times of the day were turned in by former Pepsi Skateboard Team rider, Rich Carrasco. who was able to dampen just the right amount of speed with just one foot drag before the fourth gate. But the award for the coolest move of the day would have to go to Dave Rogers, who unintentionally slid to fakie, but was able to kickturn back to regular stance in time to not miss the gate.

The number of different riding styles was exceeded only by the number of types of equipment, from Beau Brown's Turner Summer Ski and other vintage slalom decks to their modern cousin, my Sector 9 Cosmic Rider 2, to short and mid-sized longboards from Freeride, Dregs, and others, to several HB Decks, custom-made solid wood decks, the longest of which was well over 48". The trucks ranged from old Trackers and Independents to Randal 2s and exKates. For wheels, big soft wheels ruled the day (the asphalt was pretty rough, so I don't think you could find a wheel that was too soft for this hill).

Although all of the riders gave it their very best on the hill, this was more of a fun race than fierce competition, and the other riders were cheering each other on as they raced down the hill. In the keeping with the spirit of this fun event, race organizers decided to loosen up the rules to keep down the number disqualifications. Riders were allowed to miss one gate for a one second penalty (a hit cone was a 0.1 second penalty), but that will probably not be the case in the next race, November 21.

There were a handful of young guys in their twenties, but the bulk of the contestants were bona fide skategeezers (people in their late-20s, 30s, and up who still skate) with Rene Carrasco, celebrating his 48th birthday the day of the race. The day ended with a brief ceremony where the top three finishers in all classes were awarded placques. Complete results are listed below.

Slalom Skateboard
1. Rich Carrasco
2. John Rogers
3. Dave Rogers
4. Beau Brown
5. Chris Sturhann
6. Bill Monk
7. James Levesque
8. Howard Smith
9. Jarret Ewanek
10. David Dujek
11. Rene Carrasco
12. David Thompson

Gravity Bikes
Open class: slalom
1. Dwight Garland
2. Neil Orta
3. Dan Hanebrink

Open class: speed
1. Neil Orta
2. Dan Hanebrink
3. Dwight Garland

Stock class: slalom
1. Jarret Ewanek
2. Earle Ross

Stock class: speed
1. Earle Ross
2. Jarret Ewanek

Butt Boarding
1. Dave Rogers
2. John Rogers
3. Perry Fisser
4. Roger Hickley
5. Jarret Ewanek
6. Scott Peer

1. Scott Peer
2. Erich Van Stratten
3. Frank Boyd
1. Patsy Grasch

A final word from race organizer Beau Brown: "Thanks to Scott Peer for providing us with a location, all the racers for believing in it, and the family and friends who will be remembered as our first fans."

For more information about the next race to be held on November 21, please e-mail Beau Brown at beausk8@aol.com.

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Nose Wheelie, except where noted otherwise, was written and created by Chris Sturhann.
Copyright © 1999 Chris Sturhann