Laguna 4 kicked off the IDF North American tour in the small farming town of Atoyac, Jalisco, Mexico. Roughly one hour from Guadalajara, it's off the tourist trail and offers a beautiful, authentic slice of Mexican culture for attendees.
From scratch-made tacos to street mangoes with cayenne powder and salt; from cold Caguamas and Micheladas to cows roaming the sides of the track, the cultural experience is excellent. The locals are very friendly, but be sure to brush up on your Spanish. English speaking is rare.
The 4th annual Laguna Downhill event is organized by Gerardo Moreno and Fer Vega of Treee Skateboarding in Guadalajara. The event caters to a wide range of talents and interests. It offers a non-IDF Amateur category for up-and-coming racers, as well as a freeride on Sunday for all attendees.
The track starts fast then turns technical, despite only requiring one slide. On Thursday, the organizers, volunteer Humberto Valdes, Emily Pross, and IDF official Mike Girard set the hay for the course, with extra protection on the major crash corner.
Immediately after pushing off the start line, racers descend into a fast straightaway, which dumps into a hard right turn - a classic Crash Corner. Most riders need to slide or footbrake to make it through crash corner, but not all. Some lighter (and more daring) racers can make it through Turn 1 by throwing a couple hefty airbrake-carves and then gripping the rest. This affords great exit speed, benefiting lighter racers who would otherwise have less momentum through the subsequent corners.
After crash corner follow six repeating turns, requiring precise lines, maximum tucking, and expert cornering and passing. The pavement is smooth and consistent, apart from the rumbly entry and rough exit to the final corner. IDF riders spent Day 1 figuring out their lines. Amateurs practiced in the morning and raced in the afternoon.
On race day, Women's Division kicked things off in round robin format. There was only a small women's field, but it was high in talent nonetheless. Sirley Tabares put up an impressive fight and crushed her way confidently through the course. However neither her nor Sylvia Cortes could overcome Emily Pross' commanding firepower. Emily swept her Round Robin heats and landed handily atop the Women's podium.
Luge and Junior divisions also progressed relatively uncontested. Ryan Farmer cruised confidently to 1st place in each of his Round Robin luge heats, followed by Shane MacDougall of Canada and Daniel Engel on buttboard. Bruno Vieira of Brazil was the only IDF Junior competitor, so he took the win and raced with the big guns in Open.
The main event, Open Skateboard DH, provided some great excitement. After 3 rounds of Round Robin qualifying with mixed results, 8 racers advanced to a stacked semifinals. The Semi bracket featured equal parts Brazilian big guns, Mexican talent and American brawn. Emily Pross continued her Prossecution, beating Miguel Azanza and Daniel Caro to advance to the finals.
The finals remained tight through the second-to-last corner, when Dalua slammed in front. Following him closely, Tiago and Emily crashed behind him. In the pileup, Dalua dislocated his shoulder, Tiago suffered some road rash, and Emily broke her toe after Tiago's loose board launched into her foot. Oscar managed to slice his way through the wreckage and advance to first place, securing the win on his local hill. Tiago followed in 2nd, and Emily notched a historic podium, the first time a woman has landed on an IDF Open podium. Dalua buttboarded down and had his shoulder reset by paramedics. Fortunately no one was seriously injured - hopefully everyone heals quickly!
Unfortunately we haven't (yet) found any clear photos of the finals, but here is an (admittedly shaky) video of the crash. No mames!
- Oscar Gutierrez
- Tiago Mohr
- Emily Pross
- Ryan Farmer
- Shane McDougall
- Daniel Engel
- Emily Pross
- Sirley Tabares Builes
- Sylvia Mena Cortés
- Carlos "Cabos" Seoul
- Aldo Negrete Cladito
- Josue Contreras
Click here for all results.
Thank you to Gerardo Moreno, Fernando Vega, Treee Skateboarding, all of the volunteers, racers, sponsors, citizens, the City of Atoyac, and everyone else who made this a memorable and enjoyable experience! We look forward to seeing what the future of racing in Mexico holds.