The 10th anniversary of any downhill event is a rare, special occasion; the 10th anniversary of a legendary event like Kozakov is truly momentous, deserving of great celebration. Fortunately, Kozakov is something of a specialist when it comes to celebrating, and they delivered and exceeded the lofty expectations of downhill racing excellence and epic partying. 242 racers from 28 countries across the globe descended upon this beautiful track to throw down and figure out who's fastest.
Kozakov offers a truly special experience, with every need catered to in one location. Speaking from experience, once you arrive at the hill, you never need to leave “the zone”; camping, food, party tents, riders meetings, timing tent, brackets, slacklines, massages and merch are all situated right at the starting line. As first time Kozakov'ers, we knew to expect a massive tent and rowdy parties. What we didn't realize was that it's all atop a beautiful country mountaintop, with panoramic vistas as far as the eye can see, and potentially the most reliably beautiful sunset spot (replete with DIY golf driving range and watermelon punchbowls).
Based on qualifying and B & C brackets, we knew to expect tight race heats, and Finals heats were tighter than the pickle jar you have to ask your dad to open. Described by some as “European Maryhill but faster,” multiple heats were decided by hundreths, or even thousandths of seconds. The closest heat saw Cam Brickenden cross B bracket [semifinals] .004 behind the first place rider, Jasper D'Haene. In the case of Emily Pross' Open A bracket quarterfinal, the margin between 2nd and 4th was a mere .02 seconds.
Speaking of Jasper D'Haene - he, along with Tristan Fort and Robbie Larock were kind enough to conduct a livestream for our Facebook page. You can rewatch that below:
Rewatch the intense livestream action during the Luge, Juniors, Women's, Masters and Open divisions at #KozakovChallenge! These are the fastest riders out of a field of 243 total registered racers.Thumnail photo by Duck Vader #IDFracing #KozakovChallenge2018
Geplaatst door IDF - International Downhill Federation op Zaterdag 21 juli 2018
Luge has rich history at Kozakov, and 2018 fielded a deep fleet of supine speed demons. Spaniard Mikel Echegaray Diez' prowess cannot be overstated in the Luge category; he has set track records and won podiums all around the world, including multiple Kozakov #1 finishes. After winning everything there is to win, Mikel made the somewhat cocky pronouncement that he would be racing on a classic luge, effectively handicapping himself against a division of 100% drop-tub street luges. The statement was clear: I know I'm the fastest, but can I still be fastest on a Classic Luge? After qualifying in third place it definitely seemed possible, and Mikel didn't fail to deliver. He now has the unique title of First Luge Champion On Classic Luge. Hats off to you, Mikel.
Excellent footage of the luge finals at Kozakov Downhill Challenge. Tight racing at the 10th anniversary event, with a...
- Mikel Echegaray Diez (ES)
- Kolby Parks (CA)
- Will Stephenson (GB)
- Abdil Mahdzan (MY)
- Andrej Illic (CZ)
Cole Trotta impressed us at Transylvania and at Kozakov qualis; his fast skating had him in contention with the top Open division skaters despite his young age. The Junior bracket has lots of talent, and the racing showed it, with shoulder-to-shoulder heats decided by slim margins. In the end, the US would claim the top 2 spots, with Antoine Carlotti grabbing third and two Czech locals repping hard in 4th and 5th.
- Nicholas Broms (US)
- Cole Trotta (US)
- Antoine Carlotti (FR)
- Jakub Vit (CZ)
- Lukas Pleva (CZ)
It's no secret that Emily Pross has definitively emerged as the fastest female skateboarder in the world, but in 2018 she's launched herself into contention for a top-3 ranking in Opens, with a decent shot at the 2018 IDF World Cup podium. At Kozakov, she qualified 100 places ahead of the next-fastest Women's racer; in a field of 28 women, that is no small feat. In a demonstration of downhill supremacy, Emily absolutely dominated the Women's bracket from Heat 1 through Finals, with a tighter race for the remaining podium spots. Lisa Peters (NL), Cassandre Duchesne (CA) and Lyde Begue (FR) rounded out the Top 4. (Big thanks to Lisa, who heroically tracked down just enough GoPro mounts for us to POV film Open semifinals & finals.)
- Emily Pross (US)
- Lisa Peters (NL)
- Cassandra Duchesne (CA)
- Teresa Gillcrist (US)
- Anne Poursin (FR)
With time comes age and power. Brazilian OG Douglas "Dalua" Silva knows this well; he has been a force on the Open downhill circuit for many years, and has recently graduated to the Masters division. He appears poised to dominate this field of wiser, slightly more rickety racers, and took the win with a commanding margin. Czech rippers Jakub Rod and Pavel Zajic (one of only three 10-year Kozakov veterans) filled the remaining podium spots, while Pete Connolly raced fatigued after advancing all the way through both Masters and Open. There are consequences to being old and fast, but we're proud of your impressive feat!
- Douglas Silva (BR)
- Jakub Rod (CZ)
- Pavel Zajic (CZ)
- Pete Connolly (GB)
- Philip Renners (DE)
The Open division was potentially the most impressive demonstration of skill and precision racing we've seen. To qualify and advance through a field of nearly 200 Open Skateboard racers takes more than luck; Kozakov's track requires strategy, experience and deft passing to earn the top 2 positions in every heat. To help settle rider protests and showcase the race action, we have invested in a fleet of GoPros to capture Open Semi, Consi & Finals racing. We look forward to sharing the footage with you, and hope to continue expanding the initiative!
Open Skateboard, Semifinal A: Kozakov Downhill Challenge 2018 #IDFracing WCPOV: Tristan Cardillo (CH); Other riders: Carlos Augusto Correia Paixão (BR), Arthur Spuhler (CH), Pete Connolly (GB)As a massive field of nearly 200 Open Skateboard competitors narrows down to 8, Semifinal A pits the #1 Qualifier Carlos "Guto" Paixao against two Swiss riders, Spuhler and Cardillo, and Masters crossover (and current Skateboard Top Speed World Record Holder) Connolly of England. Bracket: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/10Btx4Kh1wU6m7jfNR7SxnIgKvAcGqnU3JzCxYdZeCOw/edit#gid=5
Geplaatst door IDF - International Downhill Federation op Woensdag 25 juli 2018
Open Skateboard, Semifinal B: Kozakov Downhill Challenge 2018, #IDFracing WCPOV: Brennan Bast (AU); Other riders: Thiago Lessa CUEI (BR), Pepe Laporte (BR), Tiago Mohr / Downhill Skater Semifinals, reserved for the 8 fastest racers from a field nearing 200 riders strong. Thiago advances comfortably to the finals, while Brennan, Pepe and Tiago put on an impressive display of grit as they duke it out for 2nd.Bracket: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/10Btx4Kh1wU6m7jfNR7SxnIgKvAcGqnU3JzCxYdZeCOw/edit#gid=5
Geplaatst door IDF - International Downhill Federation op Woensdag 25 juli 2018
The Brazilian Storm continues to be a dominant force in the world of downhill skateboard racing. Validating their #1 and #2 qualifying times and their #2 and #1 2017 IDF World Cup rankings (respectively), Carlos "Guto" Paixao (BR) and Thiago Lessa (BR) aced their respective sides of the bracket, finishing 1st in every heat up through and including Semi-Finals. Four of eight semi-finalists were Brazilian, and it would have been foolish to bet against Brazilians holding the top two spots. In the final straightaway, 2017 2nd-place finisher Brennan Bast (AU) hunted from 3rd position, with Swiss ripper Tristan Cardillo behind him after advancing through a tight semi-final (video above).
Approaching the 2nd-to-last high-speed right kink, Thiago roped in Guto and made a daring, clean pass on the outside. He exited the corner with his wheels on the white line, skimming the edge of the road with no room to spare. Guto made a swift move to dive back into Thiago's draft, but oversteered, sending his wheels into the grass. This led to a horrendous high-speed crash, as Guto's line sent him at high speed into a roadsign post. Fortunately, his body broadly impacted the haybale protecting the base of the pole, but the deceleration and potentially catastrophic impact raised major concern. Ambulances were hailed, and Guto was ultimately transported by helicopter to the nearest major hospital. There's a lot to be said for muscular strength and its role in protecting the skeletal system. Miraculously, Guto came away from the crash in severe pain, and with some internal bleeding, but with no permanent injury, and is on track to make a full recovery. We wish him the best and commend him on a spectacular demonstration of racing skill. We can't wait to see you back atop many more podiums!
- Thiago Lessa (BR)
- Brennan Bast (AU)
- Tristan Cardillo (CH)
- Carlos Paixao (BR)
- Tiago Mohr (BR)
All qualifying times: http://bit.ly/kozakov2018qualis
The IDF would like to warmly thank the organizers, racers, event staff, photographers, corner marshals, start line marshalls, members, spectators, food vendors, bartenders, and everybody else who contributed to make this a memorable, enjoyable experience. See you next year!