When: Thu 1st of January 1970
Where: Augsburg, Germany
After the roaring success of the 2005 Railbattle, word spread and the 2006 edition turned international. 52 guys and 15 girls were picked out of the applications. Names like Academy’s finest Mike Casanova, last years’ winner Flo Bürgel and Forums’ Scandinavian investments Erik Botner and Kareem El Rafie were forecasted a progression from last year.
Skiers were allowed, too, so the contest had to be held on two days. On Friday riders came to warm up and qualify on the same nice set-up the contest offered in 2005: flat-down box, down-flat-down box and a downrail. While in qualifying the riders tried to make the cut safely, practice-runs already showed what to expect for Saturday. Beside Casanova, who obviously was riding out of competition, names like Benny Urban and Gerben Verweij stuck in mind. Both working hard on the downrail. The planed cut from 14 to 12 girls for Saturday was definitely no good, so all girls made it to the finals having Friday for practice sessions.
On Saturday head-to-head runs should eliminate half of the shredheads. Best Friday rider against last place in ranking and so on. What works fine with ski jumping soon revealed a double thumbs down for progressive snowboarding. In best of three modus a sketched frontboard pretzel on the downer was kicked out by 50-50 to frontboard on the flat-down box. Good bye tech riding, good bye Benny Urban! Snaking some runs after his elimination this 15 year old ripper sticked frontblunt to backside boardslide 270 off on the downrail. Same trick Casanova did in practice. Plus bs 180 switch 50-50 cab 270 boardslide 270 off on the down-flat-down box. No, Nova is NOT for real! Unfortunately he slammed hard in his first head-to-head run and wasn’t able to compete anymore. We all can only imagine what he might have had for the superfinal. Next head-to-head victim was last years’ winner Flo Bürgel who was riding switch most of his runs. Halfcab 50-50 to frontboard to fakie or fs 180 switch 50-50 to switch frontnose danish out, both on down-flat-down, wasn’t enough. His opponent Pat Kagi made it to the next round with fs 180 transfer to switch 50-50 and a fs 270 transfer to boardslide on the same obstacle.
The remaining 20 riders were cut to 10 who sessioned the superfinals together with the remaining ladies. Due to some organisational problems it wasn’t really clear when practice ended and finals began. The organisation also missed to manage the inrun during the finals. You won’t see girls and boys sliding a trick on the same setup at the same time too often… some almost collisions included. Double thumbs down!
Those problems in combination with seven hours of riding and surprising changes of timetable didn’t allow spectators to stay and cheer for the finalists nor raising the level of snowboarding.
Anyway good action was shown by all the finalists. The young Swedish Ludwig Lejkner stomping some cab 270 tailslides 270 off combos on the flat-down and Marco Smolla with 50-50 frontboard danish out (same trick switch, too) are still in mind. Third place was locked by Gerben Verwej destroying the downer with several tricks like frontblunt to backside boardslide danish out. Marc Swoboda placed second with super consistent combos on the down-flat-down, as well as Erik Botner who took the coffee machine. Among the ladies it was Silvia Mittermüller who showed switch nosepress to sw frontboard and sw nosepress to sw bs 180 off on the flat-down box.
To the riders I apologize for not having more tricks on my page, but if the rumour that superfinals are on doesn’t make its way to a place on the ramp, right behind the riders, there must be something wrong. The confused crowd cheered for free give-aways and for the absolute insane 50-50 backflip tailbonk on the down-flat-down box by Norwegian kid Daniel Ek in practice time, but missed some kind of guiding to a climax.
With the nice setup and international recognition the Augsburg Railbattle is definitely established as a first class rail event. Riders will be back in town in 2007 and with organisational improvements this is going to be off the hook...
- 1. Erik-Johan Botner (Nor)
- 2. Marc Swoboda (Aut)
- 3. Gerben Verweij (Hol)
- 1. Silvia Mittermüller (Ger)
- 2. Sina Candrian (Sui)
- 3. Kati Lukaschek (Ger)