Board games up on Mount

FAST cars will be replaced with fast boards when a special skateboarding event is held at Mount Panorama this weekend.

LOCAL HOPE: Mitch Thompson will be competing in his own backyard at the Newton’s International Downhill Federation World Cup opening round at Mount Panorama.

And spectators are being invited to watch the action for free as Bathurst plays host to theNewton’s International Downhill Federation World Cup opening round –the only World Cup event for the year in Australia.

Competitors from Australia, including a local talent, and around the world are set to compete at the Mount and speeds of up to 80 to 90 kilometres an hour are expected on Conrod Straight.

Australian Skateboard Racing Association president James Hopkin said the weekend will include the stand up skateboard (in the categories of open, women, juniors and masters) and luge.

The aim for competitors will be to get to the bottom of the Mount faster than their competitors using a combination of equipment, tactics and skill.

“It’s a racetrack,” Mr Hopkin said of the Mount and its special appeal for skateboarders.“It’s wide, it’s smooth, it’s fast, it’s steep, it’s technical.”

Friday will be practice day, when competitors will have the chance to hone their equipment and their tactics over a number of runs.

Qualifying will be held on Saturday, when skaters will be seeded for Sunday, and will also feature a top 10 shootout (in which the fastest run wins extra prizemoney) and a teams race.

Sunday will be the big day, when the seeded competitors will be whittled down based on their times.

Finals will be held from 2pm onwards in the various categories.

Mr Hopkin said there is much more to the sport than simply trying to go as fast as possible downhill.

Drafting –in which one competitor cuts down on wind resistance and gains an advantage by travelling as closely as possible behind another competitor–plays a big part and can lead to various “drafting games” in which skateboarders seek that advantage or seek to deny others that advantage.

Mr Hopkin said spectators can watch all three days of action for free.

“They can drive up one side of the Mount, park at McPhillamyPark andwalk to the Skyline to see the start,” he said.

“They can also walk down to Forrest’s Elbow, or what we call Crash Corner.”

Some of the big names coming to Bathurst this weekend include Emily Pross, the fastest womanskater in the world,world skateboard speed record holderKyle Wester from America, and Canadian Alex Charleston.

Australians Mitch Thompson, from Bathurst, and Jackson Shapiera will also be competing. Thompson is the highest ranked Australian skater in the world.

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