Feature

The Mountain Of Angels Outlaw

[wptouch target=”mobile”]Feature[/wptouch] [dropcap]T[/dropcap]he resonating buzz of sliding wheels concluded abruptly in a large torrent of dust. Seconds later the scraping sound of grip-tape on asphalt, a tumbling board skidding on without its pilot. The cloud of yellowish powder dissipating only to reveal a scattered mess of fragmented rock, sand, a shoe, and a bewildered looking rider in the process of feverishly clambering to his feet. A frantic race inspired lust to make it to the bottom, reclaiming his overturned ride, the wheels still spinning wildly, the crowd howling with delight. Spectators cheered on in a mixture of amazement and disbelief, camera motors clicked away, dozens of boards with leather clad riders whooshing by. This is racing, this is downhill.

Behold, carnage. Photo: Nic / Ari

Behold, carnage. Photo: Nic / Ari

The scene for all this thrill was the second annual Mountain of Angels outlaw race. Close to 100 some-odd riders and spectators gathered together on a beautiful Southern California Saturday to participate in what was to potentially be the best bit of downhill racing the greater Los Angeles area has experienced in quite some time. The track, a technical single lane collection of tight hairpin turns and narrow winding chicanes is nestled deep within a canyon in a quiet LA suburb. Hardly something you’d expect to find within the city limits. A wonderful gem of tarmac set amongst a bustling metropolitan sprawl. The perfect setting for a spot of racing on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Riders hike back up the track after practice runs. Photos: Stokowski

Riders hike back up the track after practice runs. Photo: Stokowski

Riders gather at the top of the hill as heats get under-way. Photo Stokowski

Congregating at the top of the hill. Photo: Stokowski

On your marks, get set, go! Photo: Shane

On your marks, get set, go! Photo: Shane

A view from the top of the hill. Photo: Stokowski

A view from the top of the hill. Photo: Stokowski

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This high speed chicane took courage to stick. Photo: Nic / Ari

This high speed chicane took courage to stick. Photo: Nic

Your line into this first hair-pin could make or break your run. Photo: Shane

Your line into this first hair-pin could make or break your run. Photo: Shane

Two leather clad riders dive into sticky right. Photo: Stokowski

Two leather clad riders dive into this sticky right. Photo: Stokowski

The track for the race was a thing of beauty. Photo: Stokowski

The track setting for the race was a thing of beauty. Photo: Stokowski

Trevor Baird sticking like glue. Photo: Stokowski

Trevor Baird sticking like glue. Photo: Stokowski

Quick and technical, the course itself spurred on a wonderfully heated sense of racing skill and cunning. Not only was it just about speed and ability, but strategy as well. Multiple hair-pin lefts made for some dazzling moments of racing brilliance. All the close quarters, neck-and-neck combat that represents the essence of what downhill racing is specifically about. From world champions to world contenders, the Mountain of Angels outlaw has evolved beyond just being a shoddily concocted DIY race. It has begun to act as a proverbial litmus test of Southern California’s downhill racing vigor, the full range of SoCal’s longboarding scene. A fantastic low key event that’s small on size, but big on establishing who’s who in the greater Southern California downhill domain.

James Kelly will forever be steezier then you. Photo: Stokowski

James Kelly will forever be steezier then you. Photo: Stokowski

Trevor Baird busts out the Slalom board during practice. Photo: Stokowski

Trevor Baird busts out the slalom board during practice. Photo: Stokowski

Ian Mcsherry battles Pete Eubank for the lead. Photo: Stokowski

Ian Mcsherry battles Pete Eubank for the lead. Photo: Stokowski

Yours truly, so aero. Photo: Stretch

Yours truly, so aero. Photo: Stretch

Pat Schep, gettin' stinky. Photo: Nic / Ari

Pat Schep, gettin’ stinky. Photo: Nic 

Draft train. Photo: Stokowski

Draft train. Photo: Stokowski

Joe Gutkowski, Michael Malone, and Sean Chantara, havin' a ball. Photo: Nic / Ari

Joe, Michael, and Sean, havin’ a ball. Photo: Nic

Madrid teammates Pete and Tai crushing souls. Photo: Nic

Madrid teammates Pete and Tai crushing souls. Photo: Nic

Pat Schep and Kyle Chin amidst the throes of a duel. Photo: Stokowski

Pat Schep and Kyle Chin amidst the throes of a duel. Photo: Stokowski

Dane Webber sticks the inside. Photo: Stretch

Dane Webber sticks the inside. Photo: Stretch

Eject! Eject! Photo: Stretch

Eject! Eject! Photo: Stretch

Roger Jones goes for the inside on Max Capps. Photo: Shane

Roger Jones goes for the inside on Max Capps. Photo: Shane

Pete Eubank and Jonathan Decker scrub the dishes. Photo: Nic / Ari

Pete Eubank and Jonathan Decker scrub the dishes. Photo: Nic

Open class winners. Photo: Shane

Open class winners. Photo: Shane

Grom class winners. Photo: Shane

Grom class winners. Photo: Shane

Dane was stoked that he made it to the finals. Photo: Nic / Ari

Dane was stoked. Photo: Nic

Despite event organizer Frankie Obregon initially forgetting the walkie talkies, regardless of the lack of any real safety precautions on the corners, and even with a series of hard crashes and dislocated limbs, tumbling boards and tattered pants, the event went down without a hitch. Riders came, they raced, they conquered, and by 3 o’clock were beginning to retreat back into the depths of the late afternoon. Another year and another successful event, Los Angeles downhill is alive and well.

An enormous thank you to Adam Stokowski, Nicolas Escamilla, Phillip “Stretch” Baker, and Shane Morines, who all took the time to contribute their work to this article. Links to more photos from each of them can be found below: 

Phillip Stretch Baker1904 Photography

Shane MorinesDeep Kick Photography

Adam StokowskiAdam’s SmugMug

Thanks for reading, now go race.

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