World Championship Inline Downhill 2004 (july 10th 2004)
Once in a while I like to race down mountains. The problem is, I live in Holland and we don't have mountains :-). Nevertheless, Arnalt Kwakernaat, Sven Groot and I decided to participate in the World Championship Inline Downhill in Borgholzhausen, Germany. I've been in Borgholzhausen before (2002), but this time Andreas and Christina Leers managed to organise  a World Cup inline downhill race and the World Championship monitored by the FIRS.

In 2004, we were not so lucky with the weather. During the training, it was raining cats and dogs. This turned the hill called "Ravensberger Streif" into a slippery and dangerous decent. Before the real training runs could take place, there was still work to do in rearranging the hay stacks. The metal railing in the curves can cut your legs in half if you run into these. Due to this work, straw got scattered all over the road, making it even more slippery.

On Friday we did the practice runs in the rain. This was very difficult. I do have some downhill experience, but not in the rain. So I crashed several times, sliding into the hay stacks. fortunately I wore a leather motorbike suit and helmet. I've lend this from a friend and to me it was way oversized. I filled up the extra space with three towels, which I strapped around my hips. (you can see this in one of the pictures taken by Michael below). The towels saved me from several bruises, but it didn't help for my aerodynamics.

After the training sessions the was an official World Championship opening ceremony in the nearby village Halle. The riders were being presented to the press and escorted by young skaters with flags of the corresponding countries. At that event several downhill videos were shown while we enjoyed a barbecue, with of course German Bratwurst.

Saturday started out with rain. We had some more practice runs in one of which I injured my thumb very badly in a crash. One guy broke even his collarbone. I decided to continue, but I was feeling far from comfortable. At the end of the morning the road was getting dryer. That's the most dangerous time, because you then have a mixture of dry surfaces with a lot of grip and parts of the road with very slippery surfaces. In the runs for the World Cup it was getting better and I felt more confident. However, in the runs for the World Championship, the women and the first two runners down of the males (including me) had a dry road, but soon after my run it started to rain pretty bad. My name was called to get up the hill again to start over the race so every one would have the same racing conditions. I decided not to take any risk anymore and quit the race. My hand was all swollen and painful, I didn't want to fall again. Instead, I went to see a doctor and to shoot some video of the remaining riders.

World Cup Run Men Women
1 Oscar Galliazo (Italy) Severine Thomas (France)
2 Benoit Gamba (France) Elisabeth Schrenk (Austria)
3 Daniel Ladurner (Austria) Tina Jauss (Germany)


World Championship Men Women
1 Oscar Galliazo (Italy) Severine Thomas (France)
2 Benoit Gamba (France) Elisabeth Schrenk (Austria)
3 Daniel Ladurner (Austria) Tina Jauss (Germany)

Afterwards, there was a ceremony for both the winners of the World Cup runs and the World Championship run. Unfortunately the weather was not so great, causing lot of local people to stay at home instead of joining the party with food, drinks and live band. Many thanks to Christina and Andreas Leers for putting so much effort in this wonderful event! Thanks to all riders and assistants for a wonderful atmosphere.:-)

Thanks to Michael Boelrijk for providing pictures. I still didn't finish editing the video of the races on Saturday, may be later this year, but for now:

MOVIE: 30 seconds summary: Inline downhill 2004 WC practice runs on friday (5MB)
MOVIE: Inline downhill 2004 WC practice runs on friday full version 2 min. 05 (21MB)

Extra Inline downhill pictures taken by Michael Boelrijk

Peter Nikkel.

MB = Pictures by Michael Boelrijk
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Rain on Fridays practice runs.
Yes, this sucks.
The officials.
Arnalt and Werner.
Waiting for the first runs.
No, the track hasn't been cleared yet.
New hay stacks being brought up the hill.
And getting the straw off the road.
Although, not very succesful, it's sticky stuff.
And very slippery too.
Arnalt en me eating Bratwurst and steak.
The official opening cermony.
Kids on skates carrying the flags.
Posing for the press (pic MB)
Italy present as always. (pic MB)
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Peter Nikkel.