Pender Harbour longboard racer Dane Hanna was tempted by the Devil, and rather than resisting, he conquered.
Hanna competed in the second annual Devil’s Peak Downhill race in Georgetown, Colorado and rolled away the winner. More than 160 longboarders competed on Aug. 18 and 19, including from Argentina, Australia and New Zealand. The only Canadian to enter the race was its winner.
“They call it a pagan race, it’s all about having no God,” said Hanna of its ethos.
The course starts at an elevation of more than 3,000 metres above sea level and winds through a 2.4 kilometre section of the Guanella Pass in the Rocky Mountains, with seven turns, including four hairpin corners.
The race, organized by Justin Rolo and Venom Skate Products, is only two years old but has come to be revered in the community for the number of ‘runs’ or downhill races in which competitors get to participate -- up to 31 in the two-day event. Rather than a notoriously tedious timed qualifying round, heats are determined via the “wheel of death.” It’s a ring on which the name of each registered rider is transcribed. Each rider spins the wheel, must perform a challenge and is matched to another rider until heats are filled.
The final heat of the race featured Hanna, Emily Pross, Riley Irvine and Aaron Hampshire. Hanna was the last out of the gates because he noticed he hadn’t zipped his uniform all the way up.
“I started pushing as hard as I could,” said Hanna, which allowed him to pass third-place Pross. The first corner then gave him enough speed to pass Irvine, putting Hanna in second after Hampshire. Then Hanna slid into first place by passing Hampshire on the inside while taking Whiskey Left corner.
As they barrelled down a straight stretch, Hampshire passed Hanna and moved again into first place until the riders hit Party Corner, a tight right hairpin turn, which they hit at speeds of up to 90 kilometres per hour.
As they turned the corner, Hanna saw a gap on the inside and while he was making the pass, Hampshire slid out into the hay bales and Hanna rolled over the finish line as the Devil’s Peak Downhill 2018 champion.
“I’m so stoked. To be able to beat all the top North American and Australian riders – I think I took out most of the top 10 in the world from last year,” said Hanna of the triumph.
It has been a successful year for Hanna, who is part of Pender Harbour’s Team Irene. In May he also won Attack of Danger Bay in Pender Harbour.
“I’ve been practicing hard and I’ve got some good gear. I have a new wheel sponsor and that’s helping out quite a bit,” Hanna said. The Brazilian wheel is called Cuei, which means rabbit in Portuguese.
Hanna attended with fellow Team Irene members Sawyer Cote and Warner Enderte, neither of whom placed. Their team manager Bruno Cote also attended.
With the race under his belt, Hanna is hoping to compete at the Kozakov Challenge in the Czech Republic next year. Until then he is plumbing on the Coast.