IGSA Report: Tongue Breaks His Duck
The 2012 IGSA World Cup season kicked off April 20-22 in Wollongong, Australia, with the inaugural $10,000 Mt. Keira Challenge. Organized by the Australian Skateboard Racing Association (ASRA) and held in the picturesque surroundings of a tropical rain forest, Mt. Keira’s ever-changing weather made for some unpredictable and challenging racing. It rained nonstop on Thursday before the event, and due to the humidity, the track was still wet for Friday morning practice. It was beginning to dry for the afternoon qualifying session but was still slick and treacherous. Nearly half of those who made qualifying attempts crashed. First-day qualifying was led by Louis Pilloni, followed by reigning World Cup Series Champion Patrick Switzer and Aussie Local Ben Hay. The track was much dryer for Saturday’s final qualifying run. Alex Tongue earned the pole position, followed by Switzer, Mischo Erban, James Kelly and Hay, in that order. Most of the skaters felt that in perfect conditions the track could be ridden without braking and in a full tuck. Everyone was eager to hear the latest weather reports for a glimpse of what Sunday would bring. Sunday’s weather forecast called for overcast conditions with a chance of showers throughout the day. Sixty-four riders had made it through qualifying and into the final. The day was full of action and a few upsets as the skaters squared off in four-man heats. In the second round, Erban fell down while pushing off the line and was eliminated.
Fifth-place qualifier Hay didn’t make it past the quarterfinals. Amazingly, it stayed dry for the entire day of racing as thousands of spectators continually streamed in the entire day. But the conditions changed again as the racers lined up for the final. A light rain began to fall as Switzer, Tongue, Douglas Silva and Junior II standout Jayden Mitchell took their places on the start line. As the race got underway, Silva and Switzer shot into the lead, with Tongue slotting into third. As they entered the first series of corners, Switzer slid out and crashed.
Moments later Silva did the same thing! Riding as quickly as he dared in the treacherous conditions, Tongue maneuvered his way through the carnage and into the lead. Behind him Switzer and Silva resumed their battle, but both of them crashed again. Switzer was able to get underway sooner and seemed to have a lock on second place. As he entered the final right-left combination, Switzer slid out for the third time.
He was back on his board quickly, but Silva smelled blood and was coming on like a freight train. As Switzer moved toward the apex of the final turn, Silva caught him and was able to squeeze through a small gap between the road edge and Switzer. Silva shot ahead as they raced toward the finish line. Silva took second, and Switzer claimed the final podium spot, followed by Mitchell in fourth. James Kelly was the winner of the Consolation race to earn fifth place. Finishing sixth was Duke Degen. Matt Kienzle was seventh, and Anthony Graves was eighth.
MT. KEIRA CHALLENGE TOP 10 FINAL RESULTS
1. Alex Tongue, United States
2. Douglas Silva, Brazil
3. Patrick Switzer, Canada
4. Jayden Mitchell, Australia
5. James Kelly, United States
6. Duke Degen, United States
7. Matt Kienzle, Canada
8. Anthony Graves, Canada
9. Louis Pilloni, United States
10. Dillon Stephens, Canada
By Marcus Rietema