Words from Jack Meyn - Australian Team Manager
After days in the blistering heat at Punta Negra, the time had finally come for our Downhill Skateboarders to begin the 4 man racing. 6 of our country's best, ready to take on the world at the beautiful Punta Negra racetrack. Qualifying had been completed the day prior and 64 of the world's best would battle it out across 5 rounds of racing.
All of the boys had challenging heats up first, but the determination was there and they were ready to cross the finish line first.
A play-by-play breakdown follows, Hopkin and I have a plan to commentate each heat that the Australians have, but if you can't wait, read the below.
Jaydon Howarth had a challenging first heat up against Nick Broms, David Chanco and Joan Suarez. Jayden managed to stay hot on the tail of Chanco who was in second place behind Nick Broms throughout the first corner. Chanco, unfortunately, hit the haybales on the exit of corner one, letting Jaydon slip right behind Nick Broms. Jaydon managed to hold second place for the remainder of the heat, crossing the line behind Broms and earning himself a place in round 2.
Zane had heat 4 of Round 1 up against Adrien Paynel, Clayton Arthurs and Andrea Moreni.
Zane looked strong on the push but no rider was a match for Frenchy, who was pushing hard for someone who is fresh off an ankle injury. Zane slipped into third place before corner 1 and was almost touching Clayton throughout the turn. Zanes battle for second place continued through corner 3 and down the ‘straight’, getting closer and closer to Clayton in 3rd place. He tucked hard and stayed solid over the bridge and managed to get Clayton just at the finish line, earning himself a second place in his first heat and progressing to the second round of racing.
Harry Clarke had heat 8 of Round 1 up against Chase Hiller, Stephen Davis and Wilder Mendoza. Harry has an angry push and it certainly helped him in his first heat against some big names. Chase was no exception, staying hot on harry’s tail. Too much breaking before corner 3 seemed to have slowed Chase down, and he was really asking for some draft off of Harry. The two split to wide sides of the road before the bridge, however, Harry managed to hold onto the first place position by winning the heat. The battle between Harry and Chase was to continue in round 3 of racing later in the day.
Zak Mills-Goodwin had heat 9 of round 1 up against Bernardo Landelli, Nathaniel Chappelle and Anderson Maldonado. Zak looked seemingly comfortable on the start line as usual, but a false start gave him 1 penalty notice before his first heat was to kick off. The riders readjusted and reset themselves for their heat to begin. Zak continued his rather relaxed look and didn't push as hard as other riders in his heat, even standing up behind two riders before corner 1. It was all part of his plan, as zak took a beautiful inside line and exited corner 1 and entered corner 2 in second place. Zak managed to dodge the first-place rider falling directly infront of him, managing to sneak his way into first place. After corner 3 and into the straight, it was all over. Zaks tuck shot him further away from second and third place and his tuck held solid over the cracks of the bridge, earning himself 1st place and advancing to the second round of racing.
Davis Lanham had heat 13 of Round 1 up against Dexter Manning, Alessandro Federico and Zeid Rivera Tejeda.
Davis had by far the strongest push in his heat, even getting into tuck before the other three riders in his heat. His line through corner 1 shot him ahead of each rider, battling it out to catch Davis. Davis looked particularly solid through corner 3 and was travelling fast down the straight on his way to first place. Alessandro Federico managed to get second place behind davis, beating Canadian favourite Dexter Manning in the process.
Mitch Thompson had heat 14 of Round 1 up against Adriano Volpe, Oscar Benitez Gutiermo and Luis Vidal Gonzalez.
Like Davis, Mitty was proving himself as early as the start line with his mean push. His line into Corner 1 was solid, however he had riders closely following and hot on his tail. His lines were just too good, with second place following his every move. There seemed to be a battle down the straight for second and third place behind Mitty, yet after holding off each rider the entire way and staying solid over the bridge, Oscar Benitez Gutiermo managed to snag first place with Adriano Volpe only a hair behind in third place. Mitty’s second place progressed him to round 2 of racing, where he will meet fellow Australian Davis Lanham. Time to work together.
Jaydon Howarth had heat 1 of Round 2 up against Nick Broms, Nicolas Walman and Callum Mathieson.
A false start by Callum Mathieson had definitely played with the riders heads before this stacked heat. Nick Broms was out in front with a monster push, with Jaydon following in second place looking solid through corner 1 and 2. Callum exited corner 2 with a tight line, overtaking Jaydon for second place. The two stayed tight down the entire straight, with Jaydon tucking hard and staying right behind callum trying to get some draft. Callum cut in at the last second in front of Jaydon, clipping his wheels and causing both riders to crash in the final corner. A head injury to Jaydon caused him to jump the hay bales and not complete the run, ending with a 4th place finish behind Callum Mathieson, Nicolas Walman and Nick Broms. Congratulations Jaydon for your efforts throughout your racing. You did your friends, family and country proud.
Zane Bonser had Heat 2 of Round 2 up against Adrien Paynel, Yanis Markarian and Daniel Minsky.
This could be a finals heat. Zane on the line against Yanis, Frenchy and Minsky. All 4 riders gave it their all on the start line, entering corner 1 in single file. Minsky in the lead, with each rider staying hot in their draft through corner 2 and corner 3. Zane stayed solid down the whole straight, with some rubbing between Yanis and Frenchy more than likely giving him a fright in his tuck. He stayed solid over the bridge and finished with a 4th place finish behind some world-class riders. Congratulations to Zane for your top-level racing across the week and proving that we Aussies are a force to be reckoned with. You should be proud of yourself, as we all are and it was extra special to have your parents in the crowd cheering you on.
Harry Clarke had Heat 4 of Round 2 up against CHase Hiller, Duke Pandeagua and Bruno Spengler.
With his mirrored visor on the start line, Harry was ready to give it his all in his second round of racing. Coming off of Round 1 with Chase Hiller, Harry wanted to get ahead and get ahead fast. His push brought him to first place which he held through the first three corners, with Bruno Spengler only feet behind him. Chase managed to creep up beside Bruno, and before they knew it as did Duke from the Philippines. It was three riders wide behind Harry approaching the bridge and the final turn. Just like Round 1, Chase crossed the line behind Harry Clarke and both riders continued down the tree with their placings earning themselves a spot in the Quarter-finals.
Zak Mills-Goodwin had Heat 5 of Round 2 up against Bernardo Landelli, Yan Bertinati and Santiago Martin.
With the live stream showing good luck gestures between the riders and a little dance from Zak, all who know him know he means business once that start line buzzer goes off. Sometimes that buzzer takes extra long to go off, and Zak was eager to get going. A false start may have put Zak off a little but once the riders reset and the start buzzer went off, Zak was back in race mode. He had a strong push, yet entered corner one in second place. That quickly changed, as he exited corner one with enough speed to have him neck and neck with Yan Bertinati. Both riders rubbed shoulders quite aggressively, but not enough to knock them off their boards. Zak had a better line through corner 2 and exited in first place, to what would seem was him plummeting down into corner 3. Zak was ahead, and by a lot. So it was a battle between Yan and Santiago for second place. Zak remained solid throught the straight, over the cracks of the bridge and around the final corner, crossing the finish line first with a large gap on the other riders.
Davis and Mitch met each other in Heat 7 of Round 2 with Alessandro Federico and Oscar Benitez Gutiermo.
With a big crash in heat 6 of round 1, the crowd were going crazy in the grandstands of the final corner. This meant that excitement was high for Davis and Mitch’s heat up against Alessandro and Oscar. The green and gold suits must have gotten in the heads of the non-australian riders, as Mitty and Davis were too strong on the push, leading first and second place into corner 1. A position change between Mitty and Davis had Davis enter corner 2 in first place, with both Australian riders tucking hard into corner 3. Mitty hot on Davis’ tail, both boys were extra solid and crossed the line 1 and 2, blocking out Alessandro and Oscar and earning themselves a spot in the quarter-finals. Nothing like racing your friends, right?
Harry Clarke made it to Quarter final B and went up against Diego Poncelet, Owen Fox and Chase Hiller.
This honestly could have been a final heat. 4 Stacked names up against each other. A previous world champion and Diego, a newly announced WDSC Champion. CHase Hiller and Owen Fox. The feeling in the crowd for this heat was something you just had to experience. All 4 boys were pushing as hard as they could to get the leading position into corner one. Luckily for Haz, he managed to hold it with Chase hot on his tail for a third heat in a row. With quite a gap on the 3rd and 4th place, Chase and Harry seemed to shoot away into corner 3. Harry was head down and arms back down the straight, tucking hard trying to fight off the riders behind him, Diego managed to find some draft and chase harry down, overtaking him on one of the kinks of the straight. Owen was getting close to Harry over the bridge, but it was Chase who was victorious in hunting Harry down, getting Harry with what seemed like millimeters right on the line. Congratulations to Harry for a stellar effort and displaying high-quality racing all week at the World Skate Games. You have done all of us proud.
Zak Mills Goodwin made it to Quarter final C against Yan Bertinati, Bernardo Brambila and Josh Evans.
On the start line with fellow Australian/Kiwi Josh Evans, the excitement was high for this Quarter final heat. Bernardo Brambila managed to get out in front with a fierce push for corner 1, yet that didn't hold our Zak back from holding a perfect line through corner 1, providing him with the opportunity to go into corner 2 side by side Brambila and overtake him after corner 2. Like his earlier heats, Zak somehow managed to shoot himself away from the riders, leaving Josh Evans in a tough battle down the straight. Josh almost managed to get Brambila before the bridge but some wobbles hindered his chances of overtaking Brambila.
Davis and Mitch progressed onto quarter final D against Dane Hanna and Maxwell Capps
Two aussies in a stacked quarter final heat. Mad scientist Max Capps and CHTFSU Canadian Dane Hanna up against our Aussie boys Davis and Mitch. Davis had the strongest push on the start line, setting himself up comfortably in first place through corner 1. Mitty seemed to break a touch before corner 1, which let Max Capps creep up closer and eventually ended up making contact with Mitch through the corner, and pushing Mitch out to the haybales. From here on it was up to Davis to cross the line for Australia. He stayed solid through corner 2 and 3, and rode side by side Dane for much of the straight. Max Capps ended up creeping up and taking the final corner infront of Davis and Dane, however a successful protest against his actions earlier in the hear had Max Capps disqualified and Davis getting second place, moving into the Semi FInals alongside fellow Aussie Zak Mills-Goodwin.
Semi Final B
Zak Mills-Goodwin, Davis Lanham, Dane Hanna and Bernardo Brambila
Davis had a strong push, but it wasn't strong enough to get in front of Brambila for corner 1. Zak stayed back, scaring the fellow Aussies at the track and watching at home but it was all part of his plan of attack. Zak overtook Dane Hanna through corner 1 and was hot on Davis’s Tail for corner 3. Zak had some great exit speed and managed to get into first place after corner 2, leaving Davis in third battling behind Brambila. Dane was too quick and took the inside line on Davis through corner three, leaving him in 4th place staring down the straight behind all 3 other riders.. Zak seemed to be miles ahead again, with the crowd going crazy questioning how he does it. He crossed the bridge solid with Dane not far behind, however Brambila and Davis wobbled over the bridge cracks and ended up taking a tumble, both riders hitting the haybales. Zak crossed the line first, Dane second, with Brambila managing to push across the line for 3rd place leaving 4th for Davis. Davis sustained an injury in his Semi Final heat and decided to sit out for the Consi finals, earning himself an overall placing of 8th place. Congratulations to Davis, who battled some world-class riders including our very own Mitch Thompson and Zak Mills-Goodwin. Your strength on the track is to be commended and you did your friends, family and country proud with your racing.
Zak Mills-Goodwin up against Nick Broms, Diego Poncelet and Dane Hanna.
What a final heat. Nick Broms being a Junior World Champ, Dane Hanna being the previous World Roller Games Champion and Diego being the nelly crowned WDSC World champion, it was still all eyes on everyone's favourite skater and unstoppable Aussie, Zak Mills-Goodwin. With the live stream now showing what seemed to be a ghost town at the top of the track, it was down to these final four riders to show the world what they are made of. The grandstand on the final corner had a feeling like never before. FInals heats are always exciting, but the way this race was positioned had riders from around the world losing their minds at Punta Negra, and of course the same for the people at home watching on the live stream. All four riders pushed their heart out the get pole position for corner one. Dane Hanna had some last-second airbreaking which allowed American Nick Broms to enter corner 1 first, with Diego in third place followed by our very own Zak just inches behind in 4th place. All 4 riders entered corner 2 in single file, with Diego saying a brief hello to Dane on the exit of corner 2. It wasnt long before all 4 riders slipped back into their single file line and prepared for corner three. Zak was breathing down Diegos neck for the beginning of the straight, and managed to get close to Nick and Dane before the bridge. Zak had the speed from the other riders draft and took a wide line before the bridge in the hopes he could hold his speed and line to get the boys at the line. Nick Broms was directly in front of Zak, and both boys slipped out after a wobble over the cracks of the bridge ultimately coming off their boards towards the hay bales. Whilst Nick was very clearly already falling, Zak’s hand also came in contact with Broms ankle/board during the stack which would alter any protests if they were to arise. Zak managed to fracture his nose in the process of the fall, however, both Nick Broms and Zak Mills-Goodwin were able to locate their boards and finish the heat. Congratulations to Dane Hanna for his first-place finish against the world's best. Diego stayed solid and crossed the line second for second place, with Nick finishing in 3rd place and Australia’s own Zak Mills-Goodwin finishing with 4th place. Congratulations to all the riders for their efforts at the World Skate Games, and a massive congratulations to Zak Mills-Goodwin for his incredible racing and earning himself 4th place at the World Skate Games.
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