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Going downhill in a hurry

Lara Mullin

Cruising down hairpin turns in a street luge at speeds topping 50 mph. Leaning far enough into the road to smell the newly paved cement on Old Highway 40 while balancing precariously on a longboard. Ah, the quest for the ultimate adrenaline rush.

While these extreme acts may be considered by some to be crazy and downright foolhardy, they are the life blood of extreme athletes who live to don full leather suits and hurdle their bodies to ecstasy.

Last Saturday and Sunday witnessed the inaugural Donner Downhill Festival on Donner Pass Road, an event equipped with some of the world’s best street lugers and downhill skateboarders. Last weekend’s competitions were both qualifiers for the 2001 Gravity Games which will be held in Providence, R.I., Sept. 1 to 9 and aired on NBC.

The Gravity Games feature 16 events in seven different disciplines including inline skating, bike, downhill skateboarding, freestyle motorcross, skateboarding, street luge and wakeboarding.

Biker Sherlock, the most decorated street luge and downhill skateboard athlete in history was on hand for the Donner Downhill, drawing crowds of spectators to witness the carnage. Hay barrels lined the course to “protect” the 68 competing athletes from the steeps of Donner Pass as several skateboarders met their match as they flashed to the finish.

Aerodynamic helmets and space-like suits added to the entertainment and awesome disbelief that was shared by the crowd, and for many spectators the rush of boards, bodies and muddled yells from the start was enough adrenaline for one day. Witnesses felt a little more daring and alive, as they trudged down to the road block to retrieve their cars.

Results as follows:

Pro Downhill Skateboarding

1st Place: Lee Dansie

2nd Place: Todd Lehr

3rd Place: Dane van Bommel

Gravity Games Slots in Downhill Skateboarding went to Lee Dansie (US) and Dallas Oberholzer (South Africa). Todd and Dane were prequalified for the the Gravity Games.

Amateur Downhill Skateboarding

1st Place: Danny Connor

2nd Place: Doug Dupin

3rd Place: Casey Kindred

Street Luge

1st Place: John Rogers

2nd Place: Biker Sherlock

3rd Place: Lee Dansie

Amateur Street Luge

1st James Olsen

2nd Sean West

3rd Doug Anderson

Gravity Games slots went to John Rogers (US), Lee Dansie (US), John Fryer (US), Sean Mallard (US), Scott Holsenback (US). Biker was prequalified for the Gravity Games.


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