Peyragudes Never Dies in the Pyrenees, is a 4 day event, situated at approx. 1700 m. Its name comes from the James Bond movie 'Tomorrow Never Dies', of which the opening scene was shot on the airfield next to the track (click here to see the scene).
The first day was freeriding for everyone, see how the track felt like, since there were a lot of patches/touchups, which influenced the lines to take. The last corner which was added on freeride day didn't make it into the planned race, because of 2 reasons; 1) it wasn't considered safe to race that corner after a 100 kph straight and 2) a mountain blocked the timing signal. So the finish line was moved back up to the place where it was last year before qualifications started.
Today started with the assigning of the transponders. Everyone who wants to race, needs to do at least one timed run to qualify and for the time to be recognized every rider needs a small chip, worn around the ankle, to measure the times.
Riders got their transponder and lined up for their first run, together with the classic lugers. A strong wind had started to blow, which definitely influenced the riders on the push of the line or on the straight.
The timing system worked with a small limitation; for some weird reason the top and bottom were not communicating properly, but both boxes were working because if they were brought closer, they connected. The finish box has a memory in it, which stores the fastest time for each rider, so we ran the quali as normal and brought the box within range of the top after a few runs. The boxes then synchronized and we could display every riders best time.
After lunch it was quali for street luge as well as open, luckily the predicted storm stayed out, just a whole lot of wind, which could work in the riders advantage if it was a tailwind on the straight. Speeds of more than 100 km p/h were clocked on GPS' worn by riders, where Mikel Echegaray-Diez beat everyone with a whopping 118,3 km p/h, which makes his first qualifying position in classic and street luge no surprise. This guy is on fire this season.
In Open it is Kevin Reimer who takes top position, followed by Jimmy Riha and Carlos Paixao. Zak Maytum takes 4th before Byron Essert and Patrick Switzer.
Exactly at 6 qualifying was over and all riders retreated to their apartments. 2 hours later the clouds surrounded us and rain started coming down heavily. Let's hope it dries up before bracket B starts tomorrow. We'll keep you updated live through our Facebook page.