Camcorder Downhill Classics is our latest Wheelbase Magazine video series and features digital home-movies of downhill skateboard racing from the late 1990s and through the early 2000s. This was the heyday of downhill skateboard racing on prime time television—an era where Biker Sherlock and a cast of other downhill skaters helped put downhill skateboarding back on the map after a long period of dormancy (in the context of skateboarding culture overall) and thus, helped spark today’s DH movement and industry. That said, this limelight for downhill was short lived as the TV executives pulled the plug on all the televised events, and DH went back underground for some years. Lucky for all of us frothing DH skate-nerds of today, our editor used to work for and skate with one of the dudes who traveled the world competing in many of the events of this era. And guess what? He always made sure to bring along his trusty camcorder to the events! Thank you Eric Lee for documenting all of this and for sharing this history with Wheelbase and our readers.
Anyway, we’d like to introduce the second video in our Camcorder Downhill Classics series featuring home movie clips shot at the 1999 EDI race in Mammoth Lakes, California. Please enjoy and read below for further perspective from this specific event from Eric Lee himself:
I am not sure why my memory of this race is not better, but I could not have guessed where I finished in it. If it wasn’t for the internet, I would have never recalled that Manu had actually won the event. After finding the results, I did then remembered how we were all floored that this giant-super-fun-crazy Frenchman whipped all of us Americans in a draft-style race.
The pavement on the video looks okay, but it wasn’t. The cracks were huge and the asphalt was extremely rough. I remember someone talked me into running 82duro, 85mm Cherry Bombs and my feet were vibrating all over my board. That was the only time I did not race with Kryptonics, and I regretted it.
On a crazy side note, some weird old guy introduced himself to me at ASR (Action Sports Retailers tradeshow in SD) and asked if he could sponsor me by buying my leathers for me. I had been running a hand-me-down set given to me by Billy Day. Anyway, the old guy I mentioned owned a bike tube patch company called Speed Patch and sure enough he kicked out $1500.00 and had a custom set of Bates made for me and delivered just in time for that Mammoth event. I never used another set and still ride them today! BTW, I never saw or heard from that old guy ever again . . .
I can’t believe it now, but I think Biker Sherlock made Mark Golter, Danny Connor, and maybe even Chris Chaput race as amateurs at this event. Please correct me if I am wrong, guys . . .
That being said, I would love it if others that were there would help on the details in the comment section. As I remember it, the timing for seeding was suspect and then the crazy brackets caused some uproar. EDI—as fun as it was—always had a little drama brewing behind the scenes. This Mammoth race was the race that Gary Hardwick took it upon himself to mentor me and my career, and my riding started to improve. Sean Mallard was the one that took me out for the very first time riding downhill, but after I beat nearly everyone in the X Games at my first pro race, not many of the guys would really talk to me. Ha ha! I was lucky enough to meet Manu Atuna who I would later consider one of my best friends in downhill racing—more from Manu when we release the French tape!
This was a good event, great venue, and I think one of the biggest EDI events to date. It may have been a qualifier for Gravity Games that would be debuting later that year. – Eric Lee
RIDERS & RESULTS (Posted Friday, 6 August, 1999, at 12:57 p.m.)
Thank you to all who participated and worked the EDI Mammoth event this last weekend. The weather was fantastic, racing was great, and I think we all had fun.
1. Manu Atuna. 2. Todd Lehr. 3. Biker Sherlock. 4. John “Dread” Gwiazdowski. 5. George Orton. 6. Lee Dansie. 7. Gary Hardwick. 8. Roger Hickey. 9. Rick Kludy. 10. Sean Mallard. 11. Dave Bryant. 12. Dane Van Bommel. 13. Darryl Freeman. 14. Jimmy Flindt. 15. Beau Brown. 16. Eli Smouse. 17. Eric Lee. 18. Reed Lowry. 19. Joe DeGennaro. 20. Randy Madrid. 21. Gary Hertig. 22. Josh McKerracher. 23. Ron Hanstein. 24. Jarrod Gordon. 25. Rat Sult. 26. Perry Fisser. 27. Frank Waterhouse. 28. Mark Littlefield. 29. Devon Jenkin. 30. Tony Smallwood. 31. Mike High. 32. Jarret Ewanek. - Biker Sherlock
VIDEO Courtesy of Eric Lee and recorded by someone’s mom, or something.