Contenders for BDSL 2019 by Database Dale

With 2019 having just begun, but fantastic memories of the BDSL 2018 season still fresh in Skaters minds, we thought we’d give you the lowdown on what to expect for the 2019 BDSL Season and who will challenge for the titles.

Our friends at Brianne Collective are looking to run three weekend events across the year, dates are yet to be confirmed, but we can’t wait to see what events they put on!

As for contenders, with the World’s fastest Downhill Skateboarder, Pete Connolly, still out due to tendon injury, Pearse D’Arcy who won Standup Open in 2018 will be looking to defend his title. Pearse won two National races and one regional last year, enough to win overall by a big margin of 54 points. But there are other contenders to consider.

Aaron Skippings had the most regional podiums last year, coming 1st at Ride the Dragon & 2nd at Fumble in the Valley, Gated & Winter Chaos. Aaron is likely to be Pearse’s rival again this year, but after losing out in both Nationals in 2018, he’ll be out for the win to take home those 1,000 points. Aaron is also considering not doing both Standup & Luge this year, as doing both meant he was too exhausted to perform his best in either at some events last year.

Our next contender for this year’s title is Finbarr Crowley, Fin has improved his skating massively in the last few years, partly due to his adventures in New Zealand & Australia, places renowned for their fast Skating. Fin managed 3rd at Bleek National last year and came close to a podium finish a few times in Regionals. Expect to see Finbarr on lots more podiums this year!

Oscar Taylor managed 4th Overall last year and will be looking to move up this year. Oscar swooped past Aaron at Tregaron on the final straight to snatch 2nd place. He also won Bolsterstone Time Trial Regional, but is definitely capable of gaining more points this year with more podiums. Oscar only lost out on 3rd overall last year by 15 points, a margin that could’ve been overturned by 1 or 2 places in any of the races he attended.

My personal outside favourites to contend for the top of Standup this year is Bodhi Keen & Lewis Taylor.

Bodhi unfortunately couldn’t attend Bleek National last year, but if he did, it would have put him in the top 7 for sure. He managed two regional podiums, 3rd at Gated & 3rd at Ride the Dragon, but is fast and super consistent, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him win a race in 2019.

Lewis won a regional last year, his local race, Winter Chaos, a time trial regional, but only just lost out on a podium with 4th at Gated Regional. Again, Lewis did not attend Bleek National, but if he did he would have been top 8 and if he’d got further at Tregaron, even higher than that. He also had the 2nd highest regional total in 2018, just behind Aaron.

 

In the Women’s category, things are still looking very one sided, with Hermione Pearson way out in front in 2018 and not many other women competing. Hopefully this will change this year as Hermione recently took over from Sabina as Women’s BDSL rep and will continue to encourage other women to improve & compete this year and onwards. If you’re reading this and thinking ‘How can I get involved?’ head over to the BDSL – Women on the Hill Facebook Group.

 

In Luge, the 2018 season was the most exciting for a long time. Gareth Chamerlain took home first place overall after winning both Nationals, Tregaron & Bleek, and Hog Hill Regional. He also came 2nd at Bo Peep Regional. Gareth beat 2nd place Aaron Skippings by a big margin of 71 points. Gareth had to be super aggressive to win at Tregaron and he carried on that momentum at Bleek.

As for Luge contenders in BDSL 2019, with Gareth most likely wanting to defend his title, there will be some big competition to beat him. Aaron Skippings is still undecided as to whether or not he races both Standup & Luge categories again, but if he does, he’ll be fighting for the win every race. Aaron won five regionals in Luge last year, more race wins than anyone, but only lost out on the title by coming 2nd at Tregaron National & 3rd at Bleek National.

Also fighting for the luge 2019 BDSL title this year will be Ell Macey. Ell came 3rd overall last year with six podiums , but no wins. Ell will most likely want to win races this year to challenge for the title. He only just lost out on winning Bleek National to Gareth.

Outside contenders this year are likely to be Andy Speight, who’s improved massively in the short time he’s been racing, and Lionel Ironlung, who came 2nd in two regionals last year.

That concludes our contenders for the BDSL 2019 season. We hope to see you all on the hill very soon. I know I’m looking forward to racing again after 18 months out..!

Dale.

Photo credits to Boardlogic, JP Photography & Thrill Magazine.

BDSL 2018 Winners Interviews by Database Dale

With the BDSL 2018 Awards Ceremony fast approaching – 17th November in Bristol – we decided to interview our 2018 Open & Luge Champions, Pearse D’Arcy & Gareth Chamberlain.

Pearse had a dominate season in Open BDSL Standup winning both National races, Tregaron & Bleek, and one Regional, Gated Hill. More race wins than anyone else!

Photo by Duck Vader

Pearse, when did you start Downhill?

I got my first longboard in 2011. Started skating down small hills straightaway. My first race was IGSA Bo Peep in 2012.

Where do you want to see the BDSL going next year?

I’d just like to see better turn outs. I’d love to see more multi-day closed road events too.

Favourite race of the year and why (UK & worldwide if applicable)?

I’d say my favourite UK event this year was probably Tregz; two days on a closed road getting shitloads of runs in with uplifts. While it wasn’t the most exciting hill, the atmosphere and people made up for it. In terms of worldwide, I pretty much haven’t stopped thinking about Vulcan since I left Romania. That hill really f*cks with your head, really makes you skate top to bottom at your highest level, pushes you in ways you aren’t quite comfortable with yet. Need more of that in my life!

Was there any rivalry throughout the championship?

I wouldn’t use the word rivalry really, but there was certainly competition. I’ve been skating with Aaron Skippings since Bo Peep in 2012 where we raced each other (he beat me, obviously). Aaron’s always gonna be hard to beat on UK hills and this year was no exception. He was in most of the finals and always kept the pressure on. I’m sure if Joe Baldwin and Pete Connolly had been able to make it to more races it would have been much tighter at the top too.

Thank you Pearse!

 

Gareth had a tight battle with Aaron Skippings for the Luge Championship, but critically he won both Nationals. Some say he was fed up losing to Azzy last year who sat on his skateboard! He took no prisoners this year and that was projected in his race style.

Photo by CGSA

Gareth, when did you start Downhill?

Used to buttboard on my skateboard down Tillman’s Mead at about 5 years old with my best mate Greg. I started downhill properly about 4 years ago at Gurston. I was doing an A-Z of extreme sports and found streetluge was still in existence. I had seen it at the X Games in 2000 and always wanted to try it. I was hooked!

Where do you want to see the BDSL going next year?

I would like to see more people competing in the BDSL. More closed road events spread out across the country would help! Would be great to get the racing filmed (Vice???).

Favourite race of the year and why (UK & Worldwide if applicable)?

Best race of the year in the UK is Tregaron, great road, well organised, good town, big campfire & great food at Y Talbot! Tom and Ry do a great job! Best race outside of the UK has to be Kozakov. Fast, safe(ish) and amazing racing. The world’s best turn up! There are tracks that are faster and longer, but Koz is amazing!

Was there any rivalry throughout the championship?

Rivalry.. kind of… has always been between me and Aaron. We are like Senna and Prost – evenly matched! Last year he was hard to beat, but this year I took both Nationals to win the Championship but only just! Tregaron could have gone either way!

 

Thanks Gareth and to everyone else who has attended BDSL events this year! Attendance has been better than 2017 and without your support we wouldn’t be able to continue.

Catch you all at the BDSL 2018 End of Year Awards Party on 17th November