After Almabtrieb, we convoyed to Prague for an afternoon of bowl skating in Mystic Park. Without knowing, several riders from Almabtrieb all had the same plan, so it was a nice gathering of people who knew each other, hanging in and around the park/bowl.
When everyone had enough and rain was coming down hard, it was time to eat and get on our way to Kozakov where we arrived after midnight.
It started to rain massively so we thought the track would be wet, but the weather can change so fast and often there, a couple of hours laters the rain was gone and wasn’t to be seen again until after the event. And although it was only the night before the event, Kozakov already claimed its first victim.
The first day was freeriding, for those who paid for an extra day on the hill. Alex Tongue did a run with Kevin in the follow car.
I did a couple of nice runs in the sun, until I did a film run with Mikel Echegaray-Diez. Just before the first right hander I got a massive dead wobble and crashed upside down, with Mikel crashing into me, camera in hand.
Luckily my BTR leathers kept me from any severe injuries, although I burned through a small spot in the kevlar. If you see the video, you’ll understand why. Luckily Mikel and me were not injured (so I thought) and we continued our run (footage will follow).
After getting my rash disinfected and the medics left, my ankle started to hurt a lot. With the medics gone I had to tend to it myself, so it was wrapped up and i had it checked out the next morning. I was limping like a pimp, not cool, which unfortunately meant Kozakov was over for me. A big bummer since I wanted to try and beat Martin Witzigmann this year, which I wasn’t able to, but I’ll get you Wuchti.
This year less riders crashed, which showed in the number of wrecked hay bales, which also ment less injuries and an ambulance staff who could enjoy the sun almost all day long.
On Wednesday we managed to get (almost) all lugers together for a dinner, which was very nice. The underdog has to stick together ;)
The timing system worked perfectly after being repaired by TAG so we had timed qualifications at Kozakov.
We had to wait a couple of hours until the fog had cleared up and the track dried a bit more than just patchy, but after that timed runs were on.
Lugers and standup riders lining up, notice the differences ;) ?
A total of 5 runs was done throughout the rest of the day. Through this timed qualification the brackets were seeded for the finals. Even Mr. Kozakov himself, Honza, had time to do a run or 2.
Qualification times could be seen real times on the screen at the starting tent.
There were 2 64 man brackets (B & C) where the first 4 advanced to the next, so the riders in B/C were gunning for those last 4 spots in bracket A. These 4 went to Elena Corrigall, Tim Scott, Martin Klawitter and Harry Clarke (junior).
There were a lot of juniors in bracket A this year; 5 of them. Only one woman, though she (Elena) got knocked out in round one, like all the juniors except the beast Connor Ferguson. He made it al the way to the finals of bracket A, as well as open, so he did twice the amount of runs everyone else did and still managed to come out on top. He’s definitely (one of) the next generation.
In semi final A Byron Essert and Jürgen Gritzner collided in the last corner, which caused red flags on the track. Instead of dq-ing all 4 riders who appeared to ignore the red flags, a rerun was called. During the push off of the rerun Douglas Dalua misstepped or pushed and injured himself seriously so he was out (for the season).
To no one’s surprise Elena won the women’s bracket, before Tamara Prader, Marie Bougourd (Spoky) who finished centimeters after each other and first timer Emina Andersson.
Mikel Echegaray-Diez beat his own track record on street luge with 0:00.029. He also won both classic and street luge which was no big surprise. Same with juniors; Connor killed it.
The question was, who would win the open. Would it be Switzer again ? If you had taken that bet, you would have lost. German rider Sebastian Hertler won the heat, with a 6-10 meter gap to Connor, followed by Patrick with not more than 2 wheels distance and Carlos Paixao behind them.
The absinth/green party (on Friday) was the night where it all went down. People were covered in stickers, the majority of them being freerides.org stickers, provided by yours truly. I blew through an entire box in a night, which was money well spent :)
The second night seemed to a bit more timid, but still hella fun and although no one decided to follow the hawaiian/pirates theme, he party was fun. Can’t wait for 2015 so I can ride the gnarliest track on the EU circuit again.
Click here for all results.