Newtons Nation report by Maga McWhinnie
On the 2nd of May, many excited riders packed their bags and drove through the beautiful Blue Mountains to get to a really famous mountain in Australia…Famous for people who love speed and adrenaline!!! This is a mountain where V8 cars race super fast but where skate boarders accelerate through corners even FASTER: MOUNT PANORAMA, for this year’s first IDF World cup: Newtons Nation.
The race starts at the very top of the mountain dropping through a steep S section… and then an even steeper Dipper … and then a steeper hairpin (Elbow) after going super fast through “the forest” ….into the fastest section of track, Conrod Straight, where some riders’ speed reach almost 100km/h !!! It sounds scary but Conrod straight is actually the mellowest section of the track. The challenge is GETTING THERE and taking the best line through the whole track!
Newtons Nation is a unique experience of speed, adrenaline and intense descent. It’s one of my favorite races and track in the world and I’m sure I’m not the only who thinks the same.
ASRA again put an amazing event with help of Newtons Nation and Charles Stuart University. Great organization! I think this race beats all the races I’ve been to in terms of organization and lots of riding (which is what all the competitors want). On the first day, we all had around 10 practice runs each. On the second day, we all had the chance to race each other in a round Robyn system qualification (which was the best idea), and on the final day, everyone had loads of runs and exciting races!
This year, all the riders showed a superior level of riding. People were flying through the elbow , tucking most of the hill- the qualifying times were really close between everyone! It was amazing to watch everyone giving it their best and having a great time. It was contagious! Lots of brave grommets this year were riding like bosses. The big boys were being drafted and were being taken by a some of the newbies and the top riders were amazing to watch.
This year, I approached the track differently to last year: I wasn’t worried about making it out in one peace, this time I was concentrated on purely enjoying the hill, doing my best, and going fast! Every run down , I got faster! On the first day I decided to not break as much as last year since my second run down the track, since then I felt confident, concentrated in my lines and try to improve on each run. The second day I had to race the boys and I was putting a lot effort on going as fast a I could and so I took and pass a few guys, in overall I had good result and didn’t crash at all. On the last day had really fun practice runs and an exciting final race with the girls.
In overall, the girls this year were flying and beating some of the boys ha ha!!! We showed that we could go fast and we could pass anyone who didn’t take a good line or didn’t tuck enough!
*Marisa was flying as usual… She won the last Newtons Nation and had a great year competing in lots of international races, showing her great potential after having been riding and gaining lots of experience for 4 or more years. She has become a super solid rider and I was so stoked for her. For most of us she is a great model to follow and riding with her makes me improve more and push myself harder!!! I love riding with her and I think I wouldn’t have improved so much if it wasn’t for her!
*Gemma came back from Brissy after having a big trip through the Philippines. She is an other great rider that is gaining so much experience and improving so much everyday. She is always spreading joy and reminding all of us that, even though we are racing, it doesn’t mean we can’t have fun and enjoy every run. She is an awesome person that I admire a lot.
*This year we met a new girl from WA: Tash. I started following her on the net after my friend Benny told me about her. She looked fast and solid, so I helped convince her to come and give it a go at Newtons. I remember the first day she told us she didn’t know how to break. She was carving all the way down but she had clean runs, pushing herself little by little. By the last day she proved to us her improvement and great control of speed, surprising us and passing us in a couple of practice runs. By the last day, she became a good contender and took the hill super fast. It was really impressive and was a great example for many newbies, showing that any one could be brave and push harder if you really want it…. lots of respect for this young lady !!!
After many practice runs on the final day, we had our final race. I was feeling surprisingly chilled and concentrated on tucking or staying low as much as I could. On the push, Marisa was in the lead, with Tash behind- who let her pass after a big air-break at the top. I was behind Tash, aiming for a spot to pass her after the Dipper. I knew she is a fast girl and she could catch our draft on the straight and pass any of us. So my plan was to go as fast as I could especially after the Dipper and try to follow Marisa’s lines. Throughout the Dipper, I noticed Marisa and Tash wobbling a bit – I wasn’t far behind. To my surprise, Tash’s wobbles became intense! I was sure she was going to fall, which made me air-break to check where to go in case she fell. To my surprise, she held it together and kept going! Just before the elbow, I stayed low to try and pass her, but she kept her speed even though she was standing upright. I knew she wasn’t going to carve much at the elbow, which made me think she could have a chance of drifting out a little bit and loose speed in the elbow. I tried to stay as low as a I could and throw a quick, but strong, foot break to get a perfect line with a great exit speed out of the elbow. I was really close behind Tash when I witnessed what I had expected all along: She started drifting out but, because she maintained her fast speed, she couldn’t hold her weight on the board and crashed into the hay bails, leaving me with a free pass and a great exit speed in case Gemma was closed behind us. I was worried that Marisa wasn’t close enough for me to catch her draft. I started to follow her line hoping Gemma wouldn’t draft me too much. Marisa crossed the finish line first with me behind in second (closer than at the start of Conrod).I turned back and, to my surprise, I couldn’t see any one!!!! I got distracted for a bit, hugging the boys and Marisa, celebrating and getting stoked. Minutes later, I saw Tash rolling down to the finish,very upset from her crash. There was no sign of Gemma which made me worry. The boys from the opens final arrived with Kevin taking a solid lead, Micah in second , Dalua in third, and Adam in fourth. We were asked to jump on the bus to go to the top of the hill. Later, we found out that Gemma crashed into the hail bails just after Tash, bouncing off her and crashing in a bad way. Luckily, like last year, she didn’t hurt herself crashing !!!
We had a great podium ceremony and amazing trophies but, to everyone’s surprise, none of the girls got any prizes, which didn’t affect me too much, but ultimately didn’t think it was very fair, especially for the girls who journeyed so far to Newtons, making big efforts to pay their tickets and rego. It was a pity that not many girls wanted to compete this year, even though we encouraged them and were hoping for more. I think the women’s scene in longboarding is growing little by little and there should be more recognition and support to all of the girls who decided and save to participate in the international races! Every event organizer should know that we don’t expect a fortune, but some of us do decide to make this amazing sport our life and our full time job, making big sacrifices to try to attend, support, gain experience and improve on each race we attend.
Thanks to all my sponsors for the big support: UNPLUGGED BYRON BAY: who has given me amazing support to follow my passion and encouraged me to get better this year. HOPKIN SKATE: my family that is always there looking after me, giving me great support and love. HAWGS WHEELS who gave me my favorite wheels in the world, which I trust so much and make me push my self harder with the confidence that they will hold and respond perfectly each time. FIBRETEC SKATEBOARDS, who are my European family and are always looking after me, spoiling me with my favorite boards in the world and their great support. BEAR TRUCKS, whose trucks I fell in love with since the first time I tried them. The trucks are so responsive and solid I couldn’t be more pleased. RIPTIDE BUSHINGS, a great company that are always looking after their riders and are always aiming for the best on their products, which I grow more familiar with every year. HEELSIDE MAGAZINE, who always spread the stoke and support me in my aim to travel the world skating!
Thank you so much guys!!!!
In overall, the weekend was a great experience and I’m sure everyone had a blast! So happy I got to race and enjoy, provably, the last Newtons Nation ever. I was aiming for number one but I know we all gave our best and Marisa won for riding that hill like a boss , I respect her so much and admire her a lot, I’m very happy for her too as well for the rest of the girls. I am proud of my second place in the race and for being #2 in the World ranking so far, I will do my best on the rest of the races and the rest of the year!
Lets hope ASRA and Newtons Nation get more recognition and support from the Bathurst council, the locals and the Mount Panorama authorities. Events like this are exciting to watch and bring a lot of tourist to the town. Lets hope they won’t raised their fees and we might have an other race there.
Posted by Maga McWhinnie