A strong field of 95 riders from 20 countries assembled in South Korea for Arirang Hill; the last race of the Asia-Pacific tour. Yesterday's hammering rain gave way to a sunny, but cold and windy day here in the mountains south-east of Seoul.
Pictures and videos don't quite prepare the newcomer for the stunning beauty of this area, or the steepness and craziness of this road. Eyes were wide, jaws were hanging, and drool was spilling this morning when the rider buses reached the start line after climbing the steep mountain pass from the rider campsite down in the valley.
The hot tip for who would do well here was Chase Hiller (USA), and he didn't disappoint, posting a 1:10.95 in today's sole qualifying run, a hefty 1.6 seconds in front of second fastest, Carlos Paixão (Brazil), with a large pack closely clustered behind that.
We asked Chase for six thoughts on skateboarding and the world in general...
1. What do you think about the track?
Feels a lot like home in the hairpins. Bottom chicane as gnarly as it was made out to be.
2. What’s your plan for tomorrow and race day?
- Stay in top quali spot
- Bring it home to Branson
3. Who do you think is your biggest threat?
Carlos and standy Andy.
4. Who do you think will win?
Hopefully your boy.
5. What is your goal in skating?
My goal in skateboarding is just one day Skateboard.
6. What is your goal or plan in life?
Plan in life is to travel with my Skateboard.
Saturday and Sunday's Action
The top 10 qualifiers will qualify for a slimmed-down 16-person finals bracket, with the remaining six spots in the finals to be determined by a 64-person repechage. The repechage is scheduled to start tomorrow afternoon, and finish on Sunday morning. Then, the finals.
For qualifying times, race brackets, and further event details, click here.
(Text by Carl Sambrano and Colin Beck)