BDSL Mid-Season Review

With only a few BDSL races left to go, we thought we’d give you a roundup and some of the important stats from all the races that have been and gone so far this year!

In Open, only one rider has won more than one event (Gated Hill & Tregaron), Pearse D’Arcy, who unsurprisingly leads overall. Pearse has been shredding hard at every event and now looks poised to always be a worthy A-Bracket contender at IDF world cup events. Pearse somehow won Tregaron on medium grip freeride wheels, just by dialling lines and timing his slides to perfection.

The battle for the top spot is closely fought though, with Aaron Skippings just 15 points behind in 2nd, though he would still be first overall, by 3 points, if Oscar Taylor hadn’t snatched 2nd from him on the last straight of the Tregaron final! Due to Aaron having a better ‘Top 2 Regionals’ total after winning Ride the Dragon & 2nd place at FITV & Gated Hill.

Aaron can likely snatch back 1st place overall if he wins any of the upcoming regionals (Bo Peep, Bolsterstone or Skate to Escape’s Time Trial), but he will need to beat Pearse at the next National, Bleek, in September to secure the top spot. Pearse also has the opportunity to improve his ‘Top 2 Regionals’ total too though, so it’s going to be tight to the very end!

The rest of the top 10 in open is still very much open for anyone to move up or down though, with 3rd place Bodhi Keen & 10th place James Pethybridge seperated by just 240 points, a margin that could be turned on its head by 1 or 2 good future race results.

In Luge, Gareth Chamerlain currently leads after winning Tregaron & Hog Hill (an event that excluded Open). Though the lead is extremely narrow at just 2 points, due to Aaron Skippings having won Gated Hill & FITV Regionals.

It’s all going to come down to who wins at Bleek National and whether or not Gareth can improve his Regionals overall score, by winning Bolsterstone or Skate to Escape time trial!

As for the rest of the luge pack, 3rd to 7th is very close, with Ell Macey in 3rd just 141 points ahead of John Lee in 7th. A margin that could be totally overturned from one event.

Finally, in the Womens, Hermione Pearson leads by a big margin after three consecutive race wins. The rest of the women haven’t attended as much, so 2nd place is currently Erni Villanueva, who placed 2nd at Tregaron National, 3rd place is Mist Einarsdottir who placed 3rd at Tregaron.

We look forward to seeing everyone for the rest of the BDSL events this season!

Our awards ceremony at year’s end is in the planning stage and looks like it’ll be in November in Bristol again, for those interested in attending. We’ll be sure to update you via our Facebook page when we know the date/location.

Written by Dale Goodwin.



2017 Women’s Category Review by Sabina Edwards


BDSL 2017 Podium - WomenWhen the BDSL began in the latter half of 2015, I attended a couple of events and gained a few points which took me to the top of the leaderboard in the Women’s category. Those early months were really just a trial to see how the league might shape up but I quite liked earning points doing something I loved already. I decided that in 2016 I’d have a really good bash at more events but life got in the way and I only managed a couple in the entire year! I did, however, get to the first AGM and volunteered myself onto the committee. With fresh zeal, I decided to get to as many events as possible, although this time, more as a supporting committee member than anything else. But … those points!… I just like them. I think maybe I’m a tad competitive?

In 2015/16 there were 10 women competing in downhill skateboarding events here in the UK – in 2017, however, there were just 4 of us: Hermione Pearson, Ann Marie Philip, Anna Carter and myself.

I missed the very first event which was Brianne Collective‘s Abercynon Race but we were well represented by Hermione Pearson (Skate to Escape Unit). Unfortunately, Hermione didn’t get to the rest of the races here in the UK as dates clashed with her other exciting skate trips abroad.

Hermione Pearson at Velefique – Photo: Sacha Romero

Tregaron Freeride was my first event of the year. This was a weekend event; freerides on Saturday and races on Sunday. I’ve only done this hill once before and have never managed to get around both corners successfully! This year was marginally better than previous, even though the weather was its usual changeable self. For me, the best bit was when, due to a few riders oversleeping and not turning up, I managed to qualify – so thanks for that, lads! ;-)

Ann Marie Philip at Tregaron Freeride 2017 – Photos: Tony Brider

Bleek Race, another from BC, occurred in August and, I have to say, though this was the fastest hill, I loved it! It took a while for me to realise I could grip the corners with only one bit in the middle where the speed got a bit hairy resulting in copious and unsuccessful attempts at Colemans to shut down a bit – or a lot, as it happened – right into the verge!

September saw another old favourite from BC, Summer in the Valley aka Sheepy. It was basically a disaster for me as we got lost and arrived later than hoped. I did manage to add a Women’s run in on the end and went down the hill once, literally just for the points – I had turned up, after all! I sessioned one of the corners for a bit and then because it just got so wet, windy and cold, we shoved off home.

For the first time, the Gurston time trial event appeared in the BDSL line up this year. Always a good event! Because it is a very fast and slim hill, with a tricky chicane and camber, riders go down one at a time so you are really competing against yourself to improve your own personal best. I certainly did, so was well chuffed with that! Ann Marie totally smashed it with a BP of 1.26.62secs. My own BP is 1.28.59 but that day my best time was around 1.34secs. To give some point of reference, the more experienced riders were getting sub 50secs – it gives us something to work towards, but we were both very pleased with our achievements. :-)

Rumble at the Peep has got to have been the highlight for me as this has been on the bucket list for years! I never, in a month of Sundays, thought I’d ever go from the top! I did, multiple times and I loved it – oh, my days!! It doesn’t matter about the slipping and sliding along the way either – I pushed off at the start line and landed after the finish line … whatever happens on the hill, stays on the hill!

Sabina Edwards at Rumble on the Peep – Photo: Kai Menneken

And finally, Bolsterstone. A very small turnout, a sweet hill, grippable so I didn’t have to worry about my rubbish speed checks and I just enjoyed it! Took 3rd on the podium too!

Bolsterstone podium - Photo -Sabina Edwards, Louis Smallwood and Oscar Taylor – Photo: Thrill Magazine

Apart from Sheepy, where I pretty much demanded a ‘solo’ women’s race because I’d travelled so long and so far to get there, missing the open heats, I was the only women racing in the other events. Hermione raced in Abercynon and both Anna and Ann Marie took part in the freeride element at Tregaron where Anna sustained an injury, cutting her attendance short.

Anna Carter at a previous Bo Peep meet – Photo: Sabina Edwards

My hope for 2018 is to see more women on the hill. Of course, I love having ranked 4th in the opens and have no issue with just racing with the lads; they made me very welcome, are encouraging and helpful. However, I miss riding with the grrls; there’s a special something about the skate sisterhood :-) What I found to be a beautiful thing, though, was that the hosts of these races had produced prizes for the women’s category races, working on the assumption that women would attend and take part. I don’t think there was a specific women’s race at any 2017 event in the end due to lack of numbers and I wasn’t willing to take the prize by default, suggesting they be kept for 2018. The fact that they catered for us is very uplifting and, may I say endearing. I look forward to seeing those prizes finally being presented to a women’s podium this year.