Video: Tregaron Freeride 2016 – Brianne Collective / Newton’s Shred Longboard Shop
When the European scene imagines skating in the United Kingdom most ponder on a lack of hills, heavy rain and a scene lacking in downhill orientation. Tregaron Freeride 2016 too was expected to turn out in such a way; with no good footage from the year before , a forecast for heavy rain and only about 75 signed up things were not looking good. However in a odd turn of events a weekend of sun met the fresh faced riders with fast uplifts and no real time limit meaning skating ended when riders were tired.
Tregaron Freeride (based in West Wales and run by the Brianne Collective) is a small scale simple freeride which 3 aims; Bring the UK downhill scene together, provide a safe and competitive race and provide as much as 70 freeride runs in a weekend.
Cam Deegan and I started setting up the hill with the installation of the mini ramp (lovingly nicknamed the Jank Ramp by the riders) and spent the night sleeping in the comfort of the uplift van. Rain Pursued us continually and with Sion Hughes and Ry Swanton joining us the weather was bringing high spirits down. Once riders arrived that evening small groups caught up after a month or so from the last event. Old faces like Oli Slaughter and Josh Monk appeared and shared stories and wise words until the early hours of the morning.
We all awoke to a cold morning but were soon warmed by the mysterious orb of light from the sky. Uplifts started once riders were awoken and huge pack runs ensued. As a hill Tregaron features two hairpins and three straights where drafting tactics make racing fun. At around 4pm our own no hand down race (stand up and squat slides only) started with Alfie Lewis seen as a favourite. However gym goer Luke Batchelor used his new found gains for the better and was able to grasp a victory.
In the evening we were hosted by the lovely Y talbot hotel where riders consumed vast quantities of a very edible Lasange. Crumble (a traditional English dessert) followed and racing plans were read to their riders as hungry stomachs were filled. Racing the next day proved to be hugely competitive. Only about 2 top UK riders were missing on their travels to Romania and the open bracket was filled with probably the best 48 UK riders from the last few years.
Once riders had been seeded into their brackets heats were completely stacked with evenly matched competitors all chasing BDSL points and bragging rights. Fair and close racing was had but with points going off to the British Downhill Skateboarding League competition was high and passes (a few on the sketchy side) were made.
The British Downhill Skateboarding League is a collaborative project aimed at raising the standard of UK racing by collating points from all the separate outlaws and closed road events. Currently Pete Connolly (OG heavy hitting rider) sits at the top but points are close and there are still many fixtures to come.
In the final Pete Connolly and Van Stone (both footbreaking) were able to break ahead of Bodhi Keen and Ras Sarunas and hold the lead until the end. As the day came towards the end most looked exhausted and riders started to drift towards leaving.
We grabbed some opinions from the Open winner – Pete Connolly and the Women’s race Winner – Hermione Pearson:
Not many things make me as happy as a closed road with uplifts. Brianne Collective run a tight ship, meaning no disappointment regarding the number of runs. The event is well organised whilst still retaining a really nice chilled vibe. I’ve only ever visited Wales for downhill skateboarding events, but I love the landscape and it’s been cool to see their spots and try different hills. It’s a great place to learn and improve. The opportunity to push your own limits, without car fear, whilst riding close but comfortably with familiar faces is one of the best parts. Im hesitant to say it, but the challenge of navigating complete strangers and having to react quickly when you can’t predict their riding style is actually starting to grow on me too. I love seeing the overall standard of riding rising every time I go to an event and there’s a real satisfaction in making progress when going back to spots you’ve skated a long time ago.
Big thanks to everyone who works relentlessly to make these things happen! ~ Hermione Pearson
The British Downhill Skateboard League’s (BDSL) Tregaron National Race was the best race UKDH has seen! The whole event was contained on a private road and had great facilities including a mini-ramp! Uplifts were fast and running on a loop road, Brianne Collective are getting slick at their event organisation…. events like this help grow the DH scene in the UK and sharpen all the riders, there are so many fast guys of all ages in the UK now that it blows my mind! ~ Pete Connolly
All in all it was lovely too see everyone before we all head our separate ways for the summer. Although the UK scene is small the downhill scene is tight knit with riders nearly all good friends. Our hills may mostly be around a mile or under (except for a few quiet gems) but the enthusiasm most have in the scene makes up for it. The UK skate companies are nearly all on the ground supporting events not only by putting money behind them but by attending too. As wise brands known if you nurture the roots the tree will grow. We have so much to thank the brands which support Tregaron Freeride for.
We would like to thank:
Area One Boards
Slide Perfect Wheels
Newton’s Shred Longboard Shop
Sector 9 Europe
We would also like to thank the race director who was responsible for the smoothness the races ran under: Dan Shinnie of Boardlogic.
Photos: J Patten Photography