BICKNELL BLITZ CHALLENGE
Bicknell Hill – Venice, CA
April 22, 2004
Words by Dan Levy
Photos by Dan Levy
Thursday night, April 22, 2004, the legendary Bicknell Hill played host to one of the most challenging tight slalom courses in the world. Some of the best professional racers arrived from all over the country to take on the challenge of the cones and the famous hill. At first glance, the layout appeared to be what you would expect for a professional tight slalom course, until you calculate how much speed Bicknell Hill generates. Bicknell showed no mercy, as it fed asphalt to many of the competitors, leaving them scraped and humbled and ready for more. The energy of the race was captivating and the 200+ crowd of supportive skaters and enthusiasts raised the bar for the already amped racers as they cheered on every run. It was as if you were attending a Roman gladiator fight and the racers were warriors achieving victory with every turn. When Mike Gorman and Jack Smith ran the course clean, the crowd roared. The Venice locals were out in full force with legendary faces from the ’70s, and ’80s. Chris Cook, Jesse Martinez, Block, Ray Flores, Chuck Katz, Aaron Murray, Eric Britton, Kelly Jackson, Lance Lemond, Matty Lemond, Bart Saric, Tonan, Ger-I Lewis, James Hansen, Dewitt Cannon, Bruce Thomas, Gavin, Wiley, Roland and many more were there to represent the neighborhood. The racers with the guts to steer the tight cones were fearless and featured some of the world’s finest including Attila Aszodi, Floyd Reid, Steve Evans, Arab Groff, Richy Carrasco, Vlad Popov, Mike Gorman, Chicken, Beau Brown, Rene Carrasco, Steve Collins, Tim Kienitz, Brent Kosick, Scott Johnson, Jack Smith, Lynn Kramer, Adrian Pina, Michael Kaelon and Zack Mayall. The racers treated the crowd with an astonishing display of speed and control. This outlaw race was completely renegade with no permits or city sanctions and an enormous amount of credit and respect goes out to the organizers for pulling off a very fun and well-run race. This was a night to remember for those who attended, as another page has been added to long standing tradition of the infamous Bicknell Hill.
Bicknell Blitz Challenge 2004 Final Results
(best of 4 runs- 1/10 sec penalty/cone, 10th cone DQ)
1. Attila Aszodi 6.45
2. Floyd Reid 6.63
3. Steve Evans 6.96
4. Arab Groff 7.01
5. Richy Carrasco 7.02
6. Vlad Popov 7.03
7. Mike Gorman 7.38 (1st clean run! )
8. Chicken 7.44
9. Beau Brown 7.48
10. Rene Carrasco 7.67
11. Steve Collins 7.68
12. Tim Kienitz 7.72
13. Brent Kosick 7.89
14. Scott Johnson 8.20
15. Jack Smith 8.42 (clean!!!)
16. Lynn Kramer 8.94
17. Adrian Pina 9.0
18. Michael Kaelon DQ
19. Zack Mayall DQ
Plans are in the works for future Bicknell Hill events this summer.
A LETTER FROM ATTILA
Last night was f#@!ing unreal!!! Got there at 7 pm with some people already waiting – Evans was there, so was Vlad – Jack and Adrian came soon after. Jack said the race is the talk on the Dogtown set and they want to send someone down to shoot some stills and video- I kept thinking am I nuts to be doing this here – this’ll be a bust, no doubt, it’ll be a bust…! By 8:00pm the place already looked and sounded like a beehive, locals and the Z-cult clan came in full force, everybody wondering why the course wasn’t set yet. We had to wait for the gate to close first which usually happens around 8:30. At this point we probably had 100+ people there waiting. Problem was that a construction crew was working on a set on the lower parking lot and the gates remained open…s#@!!!! At 8:45 the cops showed up, circling around the parking lot wondering whats going on with dozens of people standing around waiting, then finally announced: We’re closing the parking lot, It’s time to go home!!!
I think after that this whole thing kind of took on a life on its own…We dispersed slightly but still stuck around on top, a second patrol unit shows and pulls over to Jesse and me and asks if this part of an official function? Jesse replies- no we’re just skating. The guy looks at us and drives off without saying a word!?! At 9:30 the gates were still open and Jesse said; Attila lets put the cones down and get going- the gates are not going to close- if the cops show and bust us we’ll move them and come back later but we have to get going.
The course was set 5 minutes later, gates open, Rick Howell and Karin doing the sheets and signup – Howard’s timer was ready in a few minutes- practice started and went for 20 minutes and we began racing. The place was packed – the street jammed with people I turned around and just saw this huge crowd and thought unbelievable- by now this should have been over!
I was planning to do 3 runs each but was happy just to get 1 run in and get it over with. The racers were stoked and ready, Richie, Evans , Arab, Vlad, Kosick, Arab… Vlad was the first to go with at time of 7.03 setting the tone for the race- it was fast. MG followed with one one cone and everybody just freaked out- it was stoke to see to see him run almost clean. Fast times followed by Richie , Arab , myself and Evans and we were all pushing 6.7 + penalties.
ROUND 2 exploded when MG had the first clean run of the night- there were probably 200-300 people going insane- Running this mother clean is thing of beauty, a work of art. Jack Smith follows with his clean run- beautiful!!!! Raw times came down to 6.35 +.
Then as always, Floyd shows up, late, takes a conservative run at 6.91 but looking fast and strong. I knew he’d improve. Round #3 was on and at this point I was stoked to know that if shut down, we had a good race. The Z-cult gang was totally into the this race- they didn’t care about their own course or (which we didn’t setup until after the tight race). You felt their support and stoke all around- A few cameras were present shooting stills and video. Then Ray Flores shows up doing a handstand down the hill, jumping off and runs out at full speed going backwards- SICK!!!
At this point I was in the lead with Floyd in 2nd (clean run!) and Arab 3rd. One thing that blew me away was watching take a killer run at speed with only one cone!!! I knew after seeing him at Morro Bay last year that he’s as talented in tight slalom as GS- all around great skater! Chicken came late, got a few practice runs in and we decided to add one more run. Richie had the fastest raw time with a blistering 6.22 but added cones… I had a good run with 1 cone, then Evans with a fast time with 6 cones and then Floyd who had his fastest run of the night with 3 cones. Lynn Kramer had her best run with 8.94 but a fastest raw time of 7.1- this chick is one sick racer!!!
There it was- in the can – completed and done- unbelievable!!! Cops never came back to harass us- everybody was stoked and I was in Heaven! This was the center of the Universe during that time- just like the opening shot of Dogtown and Z-boys. This was a totally relived moment from the past and experience that will be remembered for times to come, especially by me! This was the right time for a race like this on this hill. I couldn’t have done this however without the support of so many who generously offered their support, helping hand and prizes. Before listing the final results I would like to thank; Karin and Rick Howell for keeping times and keeping the race organized. Tim Kienitz for his incredible graphic art for the stickers and poster, Mike Gorman for helping with timing, Vlad, Jack , Lynn and Scott Johnson for making the long trip to Venice, especially Vlad who came all the way from DC on a short moments notice. Ed Economy for just coming out and kicking back, Pleasure Tools Bearings for printing the stickers and supplying bearings for most present.. Howard Gordon for providing the timer, all the coneheads who helped out and most of all, Jesse Martinez for his support and the Z-Cult boys who gave this whole thing a buzz to remember.
Thank you also to all the sponsors who contributed – Chicken at Pocket Pistol Skates, Jeff at Triple8.com, Jack at Bahne Skateboards, Terri and Dan at Juice Magazine, Jesse Martinez at Z-cult skateboards, Matt at Greed Clothing, Ed at Pleasure Tool bearings, Dave at Skaterbuilt Skates, Dan at Seismic Skates, Ian at Sk8ter Studio City, Mike at Skateboardpimp.com, Deb at Fibreflex.