Camcorder Downhill Classics is a new Wheelbase Magazine video series featuring 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 who 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 skaters who traveled the world competing in many of the events of the era. And guess what? He always brought his trusty digital camcorder with him! 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 first video in our Camcorder Downhill Classics series featuring home movie clips shot at the 2000 X Games in Australia. Please enjoy and read below for further perspective from this specific event from Eric Lee himself:
This Australian X Games race from 2000 was held on a road the middle of nowhere, 45 minutes from Brisbane. When we pulled up to the hill everyone was scared and just wanted someone to speak up and say ‘No way are we doing this hill!’. Speeds up to 65mph plus. One side of the road was a huge drop-off cliff opposite a rock wall with about 1000 less hay bales needed to do anything to protect us. This is the beginning of the tape. . . and George Orton is in one race, but never in the solos or beginnings. The 4-man race scheduled for this event was canceled due to the ‘Extreme’ steepness of the hill. Instead they added a time trail as one of the formats. If you notice, on the solo runs we started much higher on the hill, that’s because it was considered it too dangerous to start the 2-man heats from that high up and above some gnarly corners. I had a blast, but I was running 5.0 Z Lightning Trucks that had recently worked at the ’98 X Games in San Diego, but were terrifying on this hill! Randal from Randal Trucks ended up sponsoring me after this race and I’ve never ridden anything else to this day. I didn’t actually do very well in the two-man race; I think I got beat by Sean “the Duck” Mallard, but I did manage to get 3rd and received a bronze medal in the solo format. – Eric Lee
RIDERS Biker Sherlock, Darryl Freeman, Manu Atuna, Sean Mallard, Eric Lee, Gary Hardwick, Dane Van Bommel, & Rick Kludy.
VIDEO Courtesy of Eric Lee and recorded by one of the Australian rider’s girlfriends.