Kevin Reimer (CAN) leads Mike Zietsman (RSA) on a practice run. Photo Jon Huey
Goldendale Washington - After a year of preparation and three solid days of venue construction, the Maryhill Festival of Speed started today under a combination of cloudy skies and bright sunshine!
The big story of the day was the strong winds that gusted throughout the day and created havoc for the organizers. Fences were blown down, tents destroyed and even one of the concession stands was overturned. In spite of the wind, all of the racers seemed to be having a great time anyway. There were smiles everywhere as old friendships were rekindled and new ones created.
Rietema, Erban, Lang and Siegrist on the radio promoting the Festival of Speed. Photo: Lorraine Reynolds
In the morning three time IGSA World Champion Martin Siegrist, number 2two ranked Mischo Erban, 2007 Maryhill Street Luge Champion Matthias Lang and IGSA President Marcus Rietema were the guest speakers at the Kiwanas Club breakfast. Next they were the featured guests on local radio station KLCK. They discussed the Festival of Speed and their personal experiences racing around the world. They also answered questions from listeners who called in. From the radio station it was on to the venue for the first day of practice.
2006 Series Champion Fredrik Lindstrom (SWE) is looking strong. Photo Jon Huey
Riders preparing at the start. Photo Jon Huey
Ethan Lau (USA) negotiating the final corner. Photo Marcus Rietema
Practice got underway around 9:30 am and the wind was already gusting. As the morning went on the wind steadily increased. At noon the riders took a lunch break after taking three morning runs. After lunch the wind began gusting to speeds of approximately 100 kph (60 mph)! Fences were blown down and bales of straw were even being blown off the hill. It gave the riders an enormous tail wind down some of the straights and a speed robbing headwind out of some corners.
Chris McBride (USA) and an unidentified Classic luger suffered this huge wreck. Fortunately neither were injured.
Photo Jon Huey
9 year old Quinn DuBouis (CAN) showed impressive form. Photo Jon Huey
The only incident of the day occurred when Anne Harding slid out on a heel side left hander and took a hard fall. The crash left her in a lot of pain and a dislocated shoulder. After the EMT’s brought her to the bottom, Anne visited the hospital where her shoulder was put back in place. She was told to take it easy for a few days before resuming competition. Her current plans are to take Thursday off and come back for qualifying on Friday.
Anne Harding (CAN) was feeling much better at the mexican dinner. Photo Marcus Rietema
Racer dinner party at Ayala's Mexican Restaurant. Photo Marcus Rietema
Allyn's Building Center is a major sponsor of the Festival of Speed!!!