After an absence of three years; downhill longboarding, inline skating, as well as classic and street luging will return to competitive action at the Houteq Science Complex, in Grabouw, this December. Taking place from the 15th to the 17th of December 2018 the Hi-Teq Gravity Festival is set to be a celebration of all things downhill.
Though the core group of participants in the various gravity disciplines have grown over years, races have become increasingly few and far between. Like most alternative sports gravity racing has relied upon participants to organise, fund and race events. The Western Cape gravity community is thrilled therefore to get the opportunity to once again compete at one of the region’s premier downhill locations; for the first time since 2015.
The Houteq Complex is the headquarters of the Denel Spaceteq programme and offers two precipitous descents from the satellite monitoring station at the top of the hill to the main office block. Its closed roads, smooth tarmac and the steep nature of the gradients make it the ideal location for gravity racing. What has the community really excited however, is the ability to not only race but also free-ride these perfect roads at the Hi-Teq Gravity Festival.
With three days of gravity fuelled adventures on offer the longboarders, inline skaters and lugers will race the Houwteq hill on the opening day and then freeride and race the High Rising hill on the following two days. This also provides fans and those simply curious about gravity racing with the opportunity to witness wheel-to-wheel racing of the highest calibre twice on one weekend. The two hills, though featuring similar meters of elevation lost, are very different in character and require unique approaches.
High Rising is the run to the left, for spectators looking up the hill, and features the infamous Carnage Corner. An off-camber 90 degree left-hander Carnage Corner takes skill and the perfect line to navigate at speed. In race situations, with competitors jostling for the apex, this leads to moments of high drama – with crashes all but ensured. Houwteq meanwhile is by no means an easy line; it too features a mineshaft-like drop into the final corner. What makes it more manageable though is the fact that the final corner is a right, which is toe-side for the majority of longboarders. This means they will be turning into the corner facing the apex, rather than trying to look over their shoulders as they would on a left-hander.
The racing line-up for the Hi-Teq Gravity Festival is yet to be confirmed in full but South Africa’s best known gravity racer, Décio Lourenco, will be in attendance. Lourenco is a multiple South African downhill longboarding champion but is best known for his “Spoofing the Cam” video. In 2013 Lourenco brought gravity sports into the mass media spotlight by setting off Cape Town’s Kloof Nek road speed camera. Though it was in all likelihood the vehicle which was following him to film the stunt which set off the camera rather than Lourenco himself it was undoubtedly the most publicised skateboarding event in the country since the Red Bull DHX races of 2001 and 2002.
“We are stoked to be hosting the Hi-Teq Gravity Festival and providing a platform for South African downhillers to compete against each other on two of the most challenging hills in the country” Ricki Allardice, the event organiser said. “It has been too long since the Western Cape last had a race and the guys and girls are frothing to dust off their leathers again. So many brands and people have helped get the Hi-Teq Gravity Festival off the ground. Local skate companies like Proximity, Baboon Boards, Fat Ant Bushings and Myi Trucks have donated products which we are giving away to people who support the event through the crowd funding platform to help cover the costs involved with organising a world class downhill event. I couldn’t be prouder to be part of such a close-knit community and I’m sure everyone, riders and fans alike, will have a fantastic time during the event.”
For more information on the Hi-Teq Gravity Festival, including online entries for competitors, please visit www.hiteq2018.squarespace.com. While to stay updated on all the news in the build-up to the long weekend of 15-17 December join the Hi-Teq Gravity Festival event on Facebook or follow @hiteq2018 on Instagram.
|Fast Facts: Hi-Teq Gravity Festival 2018|
|Dates:||15 – 17 December 2018|
|Venue:||Houwteq Science Complex, High Rising Road, Elgin Valley|
|Disciplines:||Downhill longboard, inline skate, classic and street luge|
|Spectators:||Spectators can watch the event for free|
|Facebook:||Hi-Teq Gravity Festival|