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A thriller for the downhillers
Sam Moses
November 21, 1977
Adding snaking turns to straightaways gave a hairy new twist to the sport
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November 21, 1977

A Thriller For The Downhillers

Adding snaking turns to straightaways gave a hairy new twist to the sport

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In the final run Skoldberg's fatigue got the best of him, and a relatively slow time knocked him out of contention. Hart's final run was also slower than his first two, but only slightly. Now the pressure was on Hutson, and in the last run of the contest, against an uphill breeze, he responded by clocking his best time, 27.042, to beat Hart by .265 of a second. Hart summed up the feelings of most of the racers when he said, simply, "Now, this is really the way downhill racing should be done."

The Classic also offered a slalom race for both men and women, an event less exciting than the downhill but impressive in its own way. Hutson just missed a double for the weekend when he was edged by .091 of a second in the finals by Bobby Piercy, a former slalom skier. "Skateboarding is almost identical to skiing if you keep your feet parallel on the board," says Piercy. "You use the same muscles that you use in skiing, you use the same principles in carving turns and following the fall line, you even use the same mental approach."

As the sun set over the island's peaks and the whizzing sound of urethane wheels rolling over the cement streets echoed through Avalon, Seymour hiked up Marilla Avenue, stood at the top of the hill and watched in satisfaction as the last ferry of the day steamed away toward the mainland. Then he smiled and said, "They said I was nuts, that a downhill race like this would never work, let alone one on an island, but I never had any doubts." The smile spread into a broad grin. "I already know I'm not normal, and this confirms that at least there are a lot of people out there just about as nuts as I am."

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