Pender Harbour longboarder Dane Hanna clinched his first World Qualifying Series Race in Munnsville, N.Y., last weekend.
Hanna was ranked eighth in the world – and is the top Canadian – and could see his ranking climb a point after winning Gravity Fest, a race that takes place in Amish country and which is famous for fast straightaways and tight corners.
Racers had to swap out their wheels before finals after the course was doused in spring rain. Hanna managed to hold on to first but battled the three other competitors in a final heat filled with passes. “[There was] a stupid amount of passing. Probably the most I’ve ever had in a final,” said Hanna.
Hanna started in first, but Spain’s Diego Poncelet cruised past him early in the race. After the first left, Hanna passed Poncelet and as they raced down the straightaway, American racer Chase Hiller and Hanna swapped places twice. Australian Davis Lanham then passed Hanna again, as well as Hiller. At the last right corner of the race, the road speckled with wet and dry patches from the rain, Hanna slowed into the curve known as “crash corner,” built his momentum, passed Hiller and Lanham and sailed to first. Poncelet snuck into second place, following the same line as Hanna. Hiller came third and Lanham took fourth.
“It was just crazy,” said Hanna.
Gravity Fest is also known for its downhill luge event and another Canadian, Tim Koch, won that category.
This season has been intense for Hanna as he enters more races to attempt to maintain a high world ranking, something he hasn’t tried before. “I felt like I had enough skill for it,” Hanna told Coast Reporter. “[It] seems like it’s working out OK. I need to fix a few things, but [Gravity Fest] showed me I do have a shot for world title.”
Hanna won Attack of Danger Bay in Pender Harbour in May but has crashed out in other races. This win proves the adage “slow and steady versus fast and furious,” said Hanna, who is hoping to rank among the top five in the world this year as well as earn the title of North American Champion.
To get there, he needs to win two other races besides this one: Maryhill GP and Killington, which takes place June 14 to 16 in Vermont.
In July, Hanna will be travelling to Europe to compete in more world qualifying and world cup events, sanctioned by the International Downhill Federation. He will also be competing at the World Roller Games in Barcelona in July.
Team Irene and the community of Pender Harbour, which through fundraising helps pay for trips and other expenses, support Hanna. “Really, I couldn’t do this without them.”