After working more than 40hrs per week, you’d think travelling to Malaysia for the first ever Downhill Event for a weekend shouldn’t be too stressful right? Well, you’re right, it wasn’t stressful at all. Quite the opposite!
I’ve loved spending my weekends and evenings more actively since I’ve been in South East Asia. Even though the only downside is, as soon as you make friends there and start enjoying the roads or the beautiful skate park in Putrajaya, you have to leave again.
I arrived there on Saturday (not thinking about leaving!). The qualies had started and I hadn’t even put my board together. After a very warm welcome from the marshalls I decided to take photographs and learn some slides after the race to get more confident.
Day 1, one day after Go Skateboarding Day, at the lovingly called RAD Jam (Rimba Alam Downhill Jam) 2013 was amazing. You could feel the electricity in the air. Everybody was excited. People from the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Canada, Germany, Sweden and well, me, the only one from Vietnam or let’s say Austria, came together for the first time to enjoy hot weather and haze on a racing track of a felt slope of 20%. The crowd nestled in the first corner eager to see some gnarly racing and cheer the riders.
Going from the starting point into a sharp right turn appeared to be the trickiest part for the racers. Mant racers crashed and took out other guys. With a maximum speed of 60km/h into the first corner, this track would scare the hell out of me if I went down there. The switchback in the middle section of the track was the ideal place for the riders to overtake. The track offered a very tasty treat: a few meters after the finish the road goes into Putrajaya’s highway. You can imagine how this caused the rider’s pulse to quicken.
Ashraf Haris, Ching Ho and Adam Akmal from TFY Skate, the organizers of the event, did a pretty good job also in terms of safety and supply of accommodation and food. Ishtar Bäcklund helped out by sharing her experiences from international events. With the support of many other stoked people the Rimba Alam Downhill Jam offered tents, BBQ, hammocks and some refreshing water from Malaysian garden hoses to shower; an authentic South East Asian experience.
I would have loved to skate a little bit with the girls too, but unfortunately they were too busy guiding the marshalls and helping the flow of the event. Malaysians like to take it easy, which gave the entire event a very chilled-out communal feeling, but was also a bit of a bummer, because we could have enjoyed many more freerides if the qualies and the race would have been a little bit tighter.
But anyways, the event was a success for being the first official race down here in SEA and I had fun with two pretty good instructors caring for me to get my slides done properly.
Sponsored by international brands like Riptide, RAD, Landyachtz, Rayne, Driftwood Longboard, Kuya Longboards and some sweet local South East Asian brands and shops such as Longboard Love, LongboardINA, JOHO and many more, the event pooled a good range of prizes and support.
What was new to most of us was that there was no alcohol at the event, no big party after the race. Malaysia is predominantly Muslim. I personally missed my chilled beer in the shade watching the guys, but it was somehow also a good feeling to wake up on the next morning without a head like a balloon waiting to explode in the heat of Malaysia’s reflecting concrete.
We were all up at 7am and ready for Day 2.
The guys also arranged to get some media support from Poste98, My Life On Board, Tonyo Productions and the Heelside Mag. It was especially good to feature some riders which bear a famous name like Justen Ortiz, on his tour through Asia, and also to support and present South East Asian’s international newcomers Gerardo Cancio from the Philippines (Winner of the race) and Maya Fernandez also from the Philippines (Winner of the consolation rank, Class B), the only girl racing. Best grom was Fakrul Razi (MAS) followed by Syahir Raifuddin and Aniq Raushan. Aniq was super excited to get a picture with me shortly before he and his dad left. Those kids are crazy. I would give everything to be so fearless.
A special treat for all shredders at the RAD Jam was the Slide Jam on Day 1 at the first section of the track. Featuring two ramps and plenty of space for some good standies. Guys, chapeau! Best trick by Dandoy Tongco (PH), Longest Standy also Dandoy and Best Freerider was Ali HD.
Wonderful people, a beautiful track and lots of fun in Kuala Lumpur! Watch out for the next event in Putrajaya!
Anna-Selina Kager signing out!