Kozakov Challenge 2017 Race Recap
Of all the DH events in the world Kozakov is definitely worth making the trip to beautiful Czech Republic.
Since I started skating hills about 7 years ago, I had always dreamed of making this trip and I must say it was an even better experience than I had expected.
For those of you who have never been to the event, Kozakov is a 2.5-km premium race track, in the middle of the woods, close to the beautiful and classy Czech city of Turnov. It has the best pavement you have been dreaming of since you started skating, all different styles of corners, very technical and with +90 km/h straight sections.
This year the best 190 riders from 26 different countries made it to race what is possibly the hardest race to win on the planet.
This year the event included 3 days of freeriding, 1 day of qualifications, and 2 days of racing.
I flew pretty late to the event with my friend Oscar Gutierrez; we arrived on the last day of the freeride due to some flight complications. So after almost 24 hours of traveling we finally made it to the event.
After catching 2 practice runs the first day, qualifications awaited the the following day.
People were moving and breaking their own personal records, but it was our Brazilian friend who outdid himself breaking the track record by 0.5 seconds. Im talking about Mr. Thiago Lessa.
After only 2 practice runs I ended up qualifying pretty poorly, so I had to wait for the next race to race the B bracket.
It was an intense race, and a couple girls were racing to qualify, too.
Lisa Peters from the Netherlands was the surprise of the day, beating everyone to win C bracket.
After waiting during the morning for my chance to race, B bracket was fun and intense. People's skill level was crazy good since the first heat.
Here you can see me chasing my friend Lars from Kansas in the last straight of the track.
After couple intense heats I ended up wining the consi's in B bracket, finally putting me in the race with the big boys.
Here is my friend Mikel Echegaray (fastest man on skateboard wheels) chasing me with the GoPro.
After a lot of intense racing to qualify, everyone was pumped and ready for the main races.
Spectators chilling in corner 1
Lugers racing tight and Mikel leading the heat
Orangatang Wheels ambassador Tamara Prader thinking about the next heat.
Tamara grabbing rail and gripping the first right of the track.
Corner 1 is no joke; people got bricked here!
Orangatang Wheels ambassador Patrick Switzer getting money lines while chasing current IDF leading champion Daniel Engel.
Watching the Women's division was one of my favorite part of the event. The girls are skating harder than most boys and probably skating harder than you, my friend, reading this!
Emily, Cassandra, and Melissa skating close as possible without collapsing.
The 4 finalist from the open division, Carlos, Thiago, Patrick, and Bast showing how it's done.
RESULTS OF KOZAKOV CHALLENGE 2017OPEN 1.Thiago Gomes Lessa 2. Brennan Bast 3. Carlos Paixao 4. Patrick Switzer (Orangatang Wheels) JUNIORS 1.Tristan Cardillo 2. Taylor Cook 3. Pedro Oliver 4. Nikolay Keller WOMEN 1. Emily Pross 2. Melissa Brogni 3. Cassandra Duchense 4. Anne Poursin MASTERS
1. Nicolas Desmarais 2. Pavel Zajíc 3. Scott Lembach 4. Luis GarciaLUGE 1. Mikel Echegaray Diez 2. Abdil Mahdzan 3. Ryan Farmer 4. Andrej Ili?
And of course after the event, Czechs do know how to throw a party to match the level of a World Cup event!
So this was Kozakov 2017. If you ask me, it is one the best events in the world, with some of the best riders in the world and some of the best vibes!
If you are trying to race the best in the world or just looking for an amazing skateboard holiday, come to Kozakov next year.
Thanks for reading, guys! This is me and my friends seeing the city on electric bikes. No doubt the best way to see Prague.
Thanks a lot to all the race organizers, and thanks to CGSA Downhill for such amazing coverage.
All the photos are the official event photos from Lada Nayevo. Go to her Instagram profile to check her work (@ladanayevo) and also please check CGSA Facebook for the whole event photo coverage. (CGSA Downhill)