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By Andrew Christiansen
Reporter 

Maytum and Pross inch out competition to put Maryhill titles in the hands of US

 

Andrew Christiansen

DEAD HEAT: Zak Maytum (in red) edged Alex Charleson to win the IDF World Cup open class at Maryhill Loops in the Festival of Speed. Maytum's victory was not without controversy as riders made contact as they approached the finish line. Maytum and women's division winner, Emily Pross gave the USA its first wins in the two events in the nine-year history of the Festival of Speed. The heat was at times oppressive over the weekend, but strong winds cooled the course for Sunday's finals.

There were almost fireworks a week early at Maryhill as the final race in the IDF World Cup open class skateboard championship finished with five racers within a second of each other at the finish line. Zak Maytum, of Boulder, Colo. returned the title to the United States for the first time since 2010, when Maytum became the first American to break the Canadian stranglehold on the title.

The lead changed over the final two turns of the course and riders were strung out as they entered the final turn, but five riders had a shot at winning in the sprint to the finish line. It took IDF officials several minutes to look at the transponder data and consider any fouls before they declared Maytum the winner.

This was the first time in the nine year history of the Festival of Speed at Maryhill that the winner of the open and women's divisions were from the United States.

Emily Pross dominated throughout the week, but was pressed in the finals by Canadian, Victoria Waddington. Pross was competing in her second Festival of Speed, finishing fourth last year. The 19 year old skipped her high school graduation to compete in last year's Festival of Speed. She said she learned that she was not in the kind of condition she needed to be to win, so she hit the gym. "I go to the gym every day. Two days are leg days," said Pross. It was all pointing to her return to Maryhill Loops. "It is the length and the leaning through turns that is tough on the legs," said Pross.

Like many of the racers at the past weekend event, Pross said she will head home, in her case, to New Jersey, then on to the next event at Lillyhammer in Norway. Pross is a student in marketing communication when she isn't racing, taking courses on-line. Her winner's share of the purse was $600 with 19 women competing. Waddington received $300 and third place finisher Marie Bougourd, of Lyon, France won $100.

The value of experience is an edge at Maryhill, as with any track. Loryn Roberson, of Michigan said she lopped 10 seconds off her time from last year, "due to experience and getting to know the course."

It was no doubt one of the reasons for Maytum's win and the fact that three of the top six riders own five titles and 20 top 10 finishes at Maryhill. This was Maytum's third win at Maryhill, the first coming in 2008 when he won the junior.

"I estimate I have ridden 1,700 miles at Maryhill, riding in all kinds of conditions... hot, cold, windy and calm," says Maytum. He knows what to expect at Maryhill and says he expected the wind to pick up on Sunday afternoon, which he said put a smile on his face. "I love it. I can take lines that are hard to follow," says Maytum.

He took the lead through what is called the never-ending-left, in the upper third of the course, and held it until the second to last turn, a hairpin called Cowzer Corner.

"Alex (Charleson) passed me on the left going into Cowzer. I held tight behind him down the straight," said Maytum. As they entered the final turn, Maytum moved inside Charleson and took the lead through the apex of the turn.

"I used that move to beat Kevin (Reimer) in the consi (consolation round) last year," says Maytum.

Charleson crossed under Maytum with Reimer on his hip as they exited with 120 feet of the 2.2 mile course remaining, looking to retake the lead. Using his momentum from a wide swing through the corner, Maytum cut back to the middle of the track. The riders came together with Charleson bumped slightly off his line. Charleson fought back to regain his line and the lead and the riders collided again, just before rolling across the finish line. Both riders thought they had won the race. Reimer, who was on Charleson's tail, at one point laying a hand on Charleson as they approached the line, said Maytum rammed Charleson. Maytum countered that Reimer was trying to help Charleson win. In the end, IDF officials seemed to agree that Maytum initiated the contact, but did not believe it was a foul. For his part, Charleson seemed elated whatever the outcome. The 17 year old already had one title in his pocket and nearly became the first junior to win the open. Charleson received $1,500 in prize money and Maytum took home a check for $3,000. Reimer was third, his third podium finish at Maryhill, earning him $1,000. Fourth place prize of $750 went to Spencer Smith, of Bellevue; fifth place prize of $500 went to Switzer; Brendon Davidson, of Vernon, British Columbia took the final prize of $250.

An event for the 35 and older generation, new this year, was dubbed the Masters class, drawing 20 entries. Silon Garcia, of Brazil won the $300 prize money for first place. Second was Fael Fernanda ($150) and third was Robin McGuirk ($50). Charleson also won $600 for his win in the juniors, with Shawn Jackson second ($300) and Tyron Knight third ($100).

The fastest run of the event came from luge rider, Mikel Echegaray Diez, of Spain. He made the first sub-three-minute run with a qualifying time of 2 minutes, 57.821 seconds. That's an average speed of 44.5 mph. It came on a day the thermometer hit 106 degrees and the pavement registered 156 degrees. There was another record set in qualifying as Reimer set the new standard for stand-up at 3:03.618. The record has been falling nearly each year. It was 3:10.374 the first year of the event, set by Scott Smith during the race. Smith, another Canadian, won the first two championships when the sanctioning body was the International Gravity Sports Association. Since then, his highest finish was third in 2010. Wrecks dogged the racer called Scoot, for the past couple of years. Smith said, "I'm just going to be aggressive and go for it," prior to Sunday's races.

Andrew Christiansen

A MATTER OF INCHES: Emily Pross, right, managed to hold off Victoria Waddington at the end of the 2.2 mile championship race on Sunday afternoon, winning the IDF World Cup event.

One-hundred and sixty-six riders made qualifying runs for the open, which includes women and juniors, if they chose to enter the added class. Smith was seventh top qualifier and won his first race by a wide margin. The format for Sunday was the top 96 qualifiers running 16, six-member races. The top three advanced to round two, where Smith had a dust up and was eliminated. The top three continued to advance to the third round and then the fourth, which was the semi-finals. The top three from each semi-final raced for the championship and places four through six from each semi-final raced in a consolation race, making it five races on Sunday for those who went the distance.

Diez ended up winning both luge events, as he did in 2013, earning $250 for each win. Second place in street luge went to last year's winner Adbil Mahdzan ($150) and third was Christian Conway ($100). Runner up in street luge was Riley Harris with Benjamin Zehner third.

 

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