PHOTOS Austin Michels WORDS Nathan Bailey
Hey guys! I’m here to give you the rundown of this year’s sixth annual Soldiers of Downhill race in Bainebridge, Ohio. I’m actually finding this article difficult to write though, but not for a lack of content. Rather, I’m simply lost on where to start off. . . That being said, let the commencement commence—this year’s sixth annual event was the biggest, baddest, and best of them all, and there was so much radness that it’s challenging to get it all down. Speaking of challenging, how ’bout I begin by telling y’all about the course itself!
The track is a mile in length, with a long sweeping left at the top directly into a kinker of a right. This requires a drift or two, but most of the riders really enjoyed this part of the track despite it’s seemingly eagerness to take down even the most skilled racers. After this hard-right, there is a steep straight stretch with a handful of ups and downs which really make your stomach flop. At the bottom of this speedy straight is the fastest and most technical part of the track, the chicanes. A banking right to a banking left, a dip, then a slight right to left, straight into the finish. Keep in mind this insane course is spotted throughout with pavement changes, sometimes a half an inch tall. These pavement changes were causing wobbles all weekend. I even saw a girl wob-out and barrel through four hay bales, with her head. Needless to say, this race takes some guts!
But none of this scared away the crowd of racers and excited spectators. Registration filled this year with over a hundred riders in attendance! All kinds of skate crews rolled in to take a stab at this year’s race and many spectators—locals and some from other states—cheered on the riders as they ripped the asphalt of Bainbridge. Some of those skate crews included Muirskate, Sector 9, NCDH, the MIDS boys, and the entire Action Board Shop team. As you can tell, the Midwest knows how to throw a party.
There was perfect weather all weekend, but race day brought even more fun with a slight tailwind. This boost made speeds of 55mph easily attainable. Racers flew down the course inches from each other in tight draft trains. Passes were usually made on the edges of the road with little to no room for error. Racing was tight and technical for sure.
Lastly, comes a huge list of thank you’s! First off is a thank you to Dan Oliver for organizing all of this for us, Sean Graves and all the course marshals for making the event run as smooth as possible, the locals and the town of Bainbridge for hosting us all once again, every company who contributed and sponsored the event, and finally, all of you riders who registered and put on some great racing for the rest of us. It was a thrill to watch as always. Those of you who didn’t show need to come out next year to partake in the best skating in the Midwest! See ya next year for the 7th annual Soldiers event, y’all!
1. Max Wippermann
2. Dexter Manning
3. Aaron Hampshire
4. Jackson Shapiera
This past weekend the 6th annual “Soldiers of Downhill” event went down without a hitch and given the feedback it seems that people are still stoked out and already looking forward to next year!! Congratulations to all of the winners who had the balls to charge this notoriously fast/sketchy course! Huge thank you to everyone for attending and supporting the event, it means a lot to me! Every year it is a ton of work to put this together but every year it ends up being well worth it! I do it for the love of the sport, for the community, and the opportunity to spend time with my beloved skate family!! Every year I question whether or not I will do it again and I somewhat dread the process but I feel a tremendous obligation to keep this tradition alive. Spending time with all of you great people, riding down an amazing course, and sharing stoke is what this event is for me! Huge thanks to everyone who helped out in any way, you know who you are! The course marshals and shuttle drivers killed it! Thank you! Big thanks to everyone who helped with setup, rider check-in, and clean-up, again you know who you are and I can’t thank you enough! Also huge thanks to Sean Graves for helping to run the event onsite, I couldn’t do it without you! Special thanks to the town of Bainbridge, Ohio for hosting and inviting us back each year, specifically city council woman Beth Harrison and Mayor Rocky Countryman. Thanks to the Ross County Engineers Office for allowing us to use the road every year and of course big thanks to the EMT’s who helped keep us safe throughout the weekend! Everyone send some love to Jeremy “JFlo” Florian who had a pretty brutal crash and suffered some significant injuries. Heal up dude! Your positive attitude is very admirable! Finally a huge thanks to the sponsors who helped supply some of the prize money as well as plenty of awesome merchandise to help increase the stoke! Thank you for the support! Until next year stay rad! A huge thanks to the sponsors: MuirSkate.com, Jati Boards, Team Nobull Longboarders, Phat DeanZ, Rolling Tree, Action Board, Shop Detroit Bearing Co, Sector 9 Skateboards, Orangatang Wheels, and Ohio Downhill Skate.
– Dan Oliver