The 3rd Annual Laguna Downhill Race presented by Treee Skateboarding is set to take place this weekend in the mountains outside of Atoyac, Mexico. Top contenders from over 5 nations will be competing to win the first North America IDF Event of 2016.
While victory is the goal for any competitor, winning a qualifying event is especially important for contenders in the World Championship Title Race. A rider’s top finishes in 5 World Cup and 2 Qualifying events are totaled to determine the IDF Champion. 2015 World Champion and runner up, Carlos Paixao and Dillon Stephens, will be attending to try to secure a win early in the season. Neither Carlos nor Dillon have attended an event in 2016 and looking to catch up to point leader Max Ballesteros who has 1 World Cup (Mt. Kiera, Australia) and 1 Qualifying victory (Yuping Cup, China) under his belt.
The track is fast with repeating edge of traction sweepers pushing racers to take good lines and challenging their ability to stay in control at up to 50mph or 80km. The start line is steep, limiting the amount of kicks possible before settling into your tuck for the longest straight away on the track. Racers will be battling for draft and position into the first fast right. Speed control is required for the dropping corner where riders accelerate throughout the first turn. This has been crash corner during the first two years of the event. As racers exit the first corner, they will be immediately setting up for a left right sweeper combo at the limit of traction.
After the initial 3 corners, riders will be jockeying for position through a series of sweepers. Racers who are able to hold their tuck and line will be able to separate from the pack before heading towards the last corner. Racers are already talking about the bottom right where the pavement deteriorates. With the rough asphalt throughout the turn, there is only ideal line. While you might be able to make a pass over the jagged section, exit speed will be key as there is just enough time to draft and pass before the finish line. While the course doesn’t require much drifting, it provides technical challenging corner sets where riders will be require to dial in their speed control and break traction as little as possible.
There will be a strong contingent of local riders looking for victory. Laguna has been the training ground for many of the top Mexican downhill skateboarders. Last year’s winner, Oscar Gutierrez, will be present and looking to defend his title. Event organizer, Gerardo Rincon is hungry for a win after finishing 2nd in the first two years of the event. Miquel Azanza has the talent but needs to be consistent if he wants to advance further.
Path to victory will not be easy as a strong field of International riders from Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, and United States have sent their top skaters. This track suits the riding styles of Brazilian, Carlos Paixao, and Canadian Dillon Stephens. Both of them are dialed through sweepers and maintaining their roll speed. American, Jimmy Riha, is looking to for his first win after making it to the semi-finals in his first IDF events of 2016. Fellow American, A.J. Haiby, was looking to challenge for the victory but injury will keep him from being competitive. More challengers will present themselves as riders will be utilizing practice on Friday to dial their lines before racing on Saturday. Stay tuned to the IDF web, FB and IG for updates as the event progresses.