Last Sunday was the year opener for Western Cape Downhill in Paarl & was hotness on all fronts.
When it's warm in CT you're guaranteed a few extra degrees in Paarl, which took the thermometer to just over 40°C. I decided to scrap my usual plan of catching a shuttle up & walking down the track because the top section is completely open with not a spot of shade anywhere. The lower half of the track is more bushy & into a pine forest, so stuck to that.
I have shot the Paarl track quite often, so know it quite well & have shot so much of it I needed to look for different spots or at least try different angles to what I've done before (I can't shoot the same shots twice unless there is something I really want to improve on). I walked up to a small rock hop through trees that leads into an off chamber granite slope. I had shot this spot with my fisheye before, but thought there was still some potential in this spot that I hadn't managed to capture, so opted for a longer shot & after a bit of "gardening" I had a nice rock to stand on (in the shade). It was still practice, so guys weren't going all out, but still really amped on what I got there! While I was setting up I heard someone sliding, turned around just to catch Devin Chadbourn catch a thin tree with his visor. Thanks God he was wearing a leatt brace, coz from the way it looked it could've been quite serious. Went to make sure he was ok & was fine, but a bit shaken.
After the 1st spot I wanted to set up a little way down the track, but patchy sunlight was not working with me, so went down to the road gap. I normally steer clear of it, because it's normally the hotspot for anyone else shooting. Luckily this time there were only a few spectators, so set up & chilled there for the 1st run.
After that I headed to the last berm that basically ends on the finish line. As I was walking up I saw Gary hit it & get pretty flat & had never shot it before, so was keen for it. Started off long & Stefan went over the berm & nearly sent one of my flashes to hospital for the 2nd time, but luckily it was safe! I wasn't really feeling the long shots, didn't quite capture the energy I was seeing, so opted for my good old fisheye & played around a bit. Was waiting for someone to really tear it up & Jonty Neethling did just that. Nearly ate it, but managed to ride it out & gave me a nice dust shower. That was just what I was after tho & was amped with what I got.
Check Crank for more info & results.
Thanks to Stefan Garlicky for organising the race! Good to see someone so young really doing something good for the sport.