GSA #1 Tilton, New Hampshire May 11, 2002

Reported by Chris McBride

photos courtesy of Chris McBride and Gravity Sports International

Gravity Sports International held their first regional race in Franklin, Hampshire. The Many disciplines race on the hill, gravity bikes, luge and buttboard. GSI also hosts several different classes; junior, for 16 and under, rookie for first time racers, amateurs and pro. The race course is a public road that is normally gated. This is a naturally closed road! The course is about a half mile long, with an average grade of 11 percent!

The first race of the GSI season was run on Saturday, May 11. It was a gorgeous Mostly Sunny day, albeit slightly windy. GSI is trying something different. In an attempt to give everyone maximum race time on the hill, every racer races in four heats. If there are more than four racers, the racers will be mixed up. Points are attributed based equal to their finish. Lowest point total wins first. Ties will be broken based on their head to head finishes.

Two rookies came out to race buttboards. The Rookie buttboard raced at the same time as the pro luge. Because it was the end of the day, and there were only three pro lugers, we decided it would be easier to only run three heats. Thus the rookies were only given three heats. Sean Clarke and Jason "Moonie," appeared to take it easy. Sean took each of the three heats and thus earned the first place trophy for rookie buttboard.

We had four pros out for buttboard, Andy Lally, Pete Love, Bob Swartz, and Chris McBride. GSI was trying something different for starting. There were three lines at the start. Right before the first buttboard heat Lally was heard explaining why there were three lines. One was the start line, and the far line (about 10 feet) was the paddle line. The middle line (about 4 feet from the start line) was the DQ line. If there was a DQ on the false start, we would restart the heat. The person who DQ'ed would start behind the other racers (about 6 feet back) and thus the middle like was their paddle line. Lally also pointed out that no one had taken advantage of it yet. While the four pro lugers crossed the paddle line almost together, the red flag went up for a DQ! Lally paddled too far! Apparently this really upset Lally. He managed to start 6 feet back, paddle the 10 feet, and before everyone finished lying down, had already caught up with everyone! It goes without saying, Lally managed to win the first heat.

The next heat Lally thought he DQ'ed again, because both McBride and Swartz managed to slip on the start, so Lally and Love were at the middle paddle line, before McBride or Swartz even started. Lally and Love both thought they jumped the gun. But no red flag, so they kept going. Despite the handicap, Swartz managed to catch Love at the bottom and take second.

The third heat saw Lally and Swartz in first and second again. The sparks really flew on the final heat. As the four approached turn 3 (the final turn) Lally as usual was out in the lead, followed fairly closely by Love. McBride was a few feet behind Love, with Swartz nearly kicking McBride in the head. All four riders took turn 3 fairly hot, only tapping their feet to check their speed. Turn 3 is a deceptive turn. Top speed on the course is reached in the turn, and the end of turn 2 leading to turn 3 appears to be a chicane, but its not. Love managed to drift too far through the turn and hit the hay. McBride was following Love, but managed to not follow him into the hay, although he did hit Love with his elbow as he passed Love. Swartz was following so close to McBride that he didn't even see Love go into the hay. Love had hit the hay, McBride passed him, and Love rebound back into the course, into Swartz. A loud noise was heard, all the back to turn 2! Many theories abounded on the cause of the loud nice, most centered around a signpost near the accident site, but the noise was probably Swartz's board hitting Love's. Swartz then tumbled several times, and Love fell back into the hay.

Love feared a back injury and was asked to lie still in the hay. Swartz feared he broke his foot. His shoe was removed, and his foot was bloody. But after his sock was removed, a small pinprick was found. At this point we believed a rock or something in his shoe caused the puncture wound, and Swartz only suffered an ankle sprain. After two ambulances were called, both riders were taken to the hospital. Love was sent home with a bruised thigh. Bob was sent home in a cast with a broken right leg.

Andy Lally took first place pro buttboard trophy, and because Swartz did not finish the race, second was awarded to Chris McBride, with Bob Swartz taking third.

Ashley Cayer was the only junior who braved the hill. She rode a new Calvinator board. She took it slow and easy, and showed the hill some respect. Ashley took home the Junior Gold for her efforts.

Pro Buttboard
Andy Lally
2. Chris McBride
3. Bob Swartz
4. Pete Love

Amateur/Rookie Buttboard
1. Sean Clarke
2. Kyle Cayer
3. Jason "Moonie" Ryan

1. Ashleigh Cayer

Darren Lott ©2002