This year, weather was more clement than last year final day, and Peyragudes had 4 days of full sun. We just had an hour of fog on Thursday morning and it kinda stressed out some of the riders who remembered how suffocating the atmosphere can be when the resort is under fog. So the first runs could start at 9.45 and people who arrived during the night had the chance to confirm their registration untill 12.00.
With a big team of marshalls and volunteers, new and faster buses for uphill, riders have been given 18 runs on the first day. Timing system and its back up (yes there was a back up plan in Peyragudes ) could be tested all day to make sure things will work on the qualification day .
Friday was the qualification day : it took a bit of delay to start as some riders made some slides before the finish line, destroying the cable loop that detects transponders. Greg Martin, IDF representative on the race, managed to make a new loop in less than 15 minutes and the session could start. First quali run was given to riders at 10.20. 2 times runs were given to Classic lugers.
Meanwhile, the PND crew was welcoming 40 kids from the valley, to the skate school. Kids from 8 to 14 years old had the opportunity to take lessons with the instructors of the bordeaux longskate club, protections and boards were provided by kind sponsors (Predator, Gform,Restless, Paris trucks,Orangatang).
In the afternoon, 4 timed runs were given to skateboarders and 2 runs to streetlugers.
At 4.30, all riders were given the opportunity to ride practice runs untill 6.30 pm.
At the riders meeting, the fastest qualifiers (Kevin Reimer in Open skateboarding, Annemieke Wenting in Women, Mikel Etchegaray in both Classic and Streetluge) were awarded by a 100 dollars cheque.
On Saturday morning, the B bracket was ran (riders who qualified after 56 th position). 8 best riders had the chance to reintegrate the A bracket on Sunday’s finals. Flurin Steiert, from Germany, made it through the whole 64 man bracket and won the B « tournament ».
In the afternoon, the french championship gathered 16 men in stand up, 5 in classic and 6 in streetluge. Pierre Hardiler won the race and a NJK leather suit, while Lyde Begue was crowned in women category, and by the way, won the overall ranking of the french championship (4 races circuit). Maxime Rubi won in both categories, streetluge and Classic luge, bringing back home a snowboard to celebrate his victory.
Once again, organisers could give 2 hours of practice runs to all, in the end of the afternoon. Champions such as James Kelly or Patrick Switzer took the opportunity to get some filmed runs with Louis Pilloni folowing them in its 160 horse power Abbarth, full of Gopros and high quality cameras….this will certainly end in a video on skatehouse media web portal !
Sunday morning, the Junior title went without discussion to Connor Fergusson from Australia. In the Junior category, Connor showed a constant domination all this season and is already crowned IDF Junior World champion 2013 ! the kid is only 15 and will be hard to beat next year again.
Classic Luge saw the unbeatable Mikel Etchegaray continuing his show, and took once again the win.
The afternoon showed us some great show with the top 64 men bracket in Open Downhill skateboarding, the 16 women final bracket and the 16 top streetlugers.
Even first round heats were looking as good as many other races final heat !!
A few serious containders were already eliminated in that first round such as Kevin Bouaich or Kyle Wester. The 2 first injuries of the event occured in that overheated afternoon (dislocated shoulder for Brendan Davidson and Oriol Calixto Garcia). Thanks to efficient safety team, and the Doctor that was on site, the race could continue without too much of a delay.
Racing became tougher as time went by and luckily, sponsors of the event such as landyachtz or Sick could enjoy the show with a glass of champagne in the VIP room situated in the main corner, with a epic view on most of the track.
In Street luge, the final was pretty interesting as Cedric Robert and Peter Elliot took a better start as Mikel Etchegaray. After the main corner, the spanish rider had already came back to 2nd position and took the lead thanks to a nice line in turn 5….after that none of the other riders could catch him and he flew on the track at speed exceding 100 km/h to the finish line, and another victory !
In Women category, the best qualifier from Saturday, Annemieke Wenting took the best on Marie Bougourd who had lead the entire final run, in the fastest part of the track, in the last kilometer, overpassing french leader of the world ranking in an incredibily courageous manouver.
In men, the final heat was composed of Patrick Switzer, Adam Persson, Kevin Reimer and young gun Byron Essert. Here again, Kevin Reimer had to battle hard with Persson and both got the lead one after the other…Reimer went out first from the last hairpin taking the lead in the schuss part…but here again, Persson showed his determination to win by overpassing Reimer in the fastest and most dangerous part of the track to finish with 3 meters ahead of canadian 2011 world champion.
Byron Essert finished third on the line but IDF representatives, who followed the entire run in a van, and could watch embarked videos made by streetluger Yvon Labarthe, decided to disqualify him and put him in 4th position, beside Patrick Switzer, for a highly dangerous and unsportive manouver he made : video showed he intentionnaly tried to « steal » sliding pucks of Switzer in the high speed part of the track.
Essert will be carefully looked at in the future as this kind of behaviour is unacceptable.
At 7.00 pm, riders were awarded on the podium, and all the organisation crew was celebrated for the hard work they put to make Peyragudes Never Dies 2013 a success.