On a day when the rain never stopped, Corey Leeson pipped Steve Daddow by less than the length of a wheel to take out the 2010 Master of the Hill. Phill Champion took out the luge with an undefeated series of convincing wins, while Merrick Wildash took out the Junior Skateboard in equally convincing fashion. Rounding out the day was Cooper Kruize who won the Grom division in his first ever race.
The Blue Mountains weather can be unpredictable, but on Saturday there was no doubting the conditions would be wet. It had been raining for a week, and the rain was forecast to continue for more days to come. Rain wheels had been the talk in the lead-up to the race, and a load of urethane dust had been expelled from home-made lathes.
The rain caused a number of late scratchings, but 61 hardy souls came out to race. Early practice runs were slow and cautious as people felt out the grip level.
The double elimination format with random seeding threw out some interesting matchups. Last year's runner-up, Dennis Westphal copped a horror draw, getting knocked out by B-Rad Pearson and Kibbling in his first two races. Rob McWhinnie looked the early favourite when he despatched Kibbling, but had to settle for 5th place after being beaten by Leeso in the round of 4, and then beaten by Kibbling in a rematch. Kibbling showed his racing experience (and some pale Canadian legs) with a line that made drafting and passing difficult, until Steve Daddow squeezed between him and the banners on Camp Corner in the most audacious passing maneaouvre of the day. That move put Steve into the final with Leeso, who had just beaten Steve to get to the final undefeated.
Leeso had been perfect all day, but again Steve threw himself into a gnarly pass at Camp Corner and beat Leeso in the ensuing draft race to the finish line, forcing an instant replay final, and the third Steve-Leeso matchup of the day. This time Leeso held the inside line on Camp Corner, forcing Steve to go wide, and they hit the finish line side-by side, with finish-line adjudicator Hop declaring Leeso the winner by "half a wheel". It was a well-deserved win, and a sign of the strength of the Queensland crew, with Quenslanders in 1st, 2nd, 4th and 7th.
Leeso pips Daddow at the finish line
1. Corey Leeson
2. Steve Daddow
3. Hugh "Kibbling" Johnston
4. Merrick Wildash
Equal 5th. Cam Kite, Rob McWhinnie
Equal 7th. Ben Hay, Jeremy Rodgers
Equal 9th. Luca Coleman, Bobby Godfrey, B-Rad Pearson, Jason Wright
Equal 13th. Owen Davey, Travis Horsfall, Alex Martin, Mick McIntyre
Equal 17th. Brad B, Ben Cross, Gabe Gwynne, Henry King, Arvin G, Brad Sterritt, Kanufi, Dennis Westphal
Equal 25th. Jayden Cox, Henry Hagan, Jack Meyn, Thomas Loosli, Quentin Reed, Lea Robbo, Tanya Ward
Phill Champion leads Steve Daddow
This was a race with three stories. The first is Phill Champion, who calmly beat every rider he faced without looking stretched. The second is Steve Daddow, who claimed to be a first-time luger but matched his second place in the Open Skateboard with a second place in the Luge. And the third is Scott "Guff" Guthrie, a recent convert to Luge who staked his claim as the giant-killer (or is that giant killer?) of the sport with wins over Nic McKirdy, Daz and Brad Sterritt before being beaten twice by Steve Daddow. Guff overcame slow starts to mow down his opposition with a ruthless and intimidating style.
1. Phill Champion
2. Steve Daddow
3. Scott Guthrie
4. Brad Sterritt
Equal 5th. David Anderson, Nic McKirdy
Equal 7th. Darryl Fellows, Craig Mears
Equal 9th. Simon Godfrey, Dave Miller, Virginia Tobias, Sue Wickenden
Merrick Wildash flew down from Queensland for the race and proceded to show that he is the fastest Junior in Australia. The expectation was that Merrick and Gabe Gwynne would battle out the final, but Gabe never seemed in the race, losing first to Merrick and then to grom Cooper Kruize. Merrick beat Cooper in the final to make it a successful weekend: 1st in Junior Skateboard and 4th in the Open Skateboard.
1. Merrick Wildash
2. Cooper Kruize
3. Gabe Gwynne
4. Scott Poole
Equal 5th. Ilan Arons, Quentin Reed
Equal 7th. Henry Hagan, Luke Strudwick
Equal 9th. Ian Coggan, Jack Meyn, Tanya Ward, Tom Wray
Cooper Kruize leads a grom
The groms were the stars of the day, with not a single race of experience among them, and having to deal with a wet and slippery track. Scott Poole looked the early favourite, but Cooper Kruize wore him down in the two finals with his consistent and solid tuck. The day's youngest competitor, Ilan Aarons took out third.
1. Cooper Kruize
2. Scott Poole
3. Ilan Aarons
4. Tom Wray
Equal 5th. Ian Coggan, Luke Strudwick
* Blue Mountains Boardriders (BMB), Mountain Mick, Guff and Rosscoe; for hay bales, BBQs, T-shirts, hospitality, and all-round awesomeness.
* Race-day admin: Hayley on the start, Lea Shapiera in the middle, Hop at the end, and Blackwood on the bales.
* Our sponsors, Hopkin Skate
and Cr8ive Sk8
* Everybody else who chipped in on the day, before the day, or at the death. Everybody who travelled to be there, near or far. Thanks.