by Adam Sharizman
From Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Most of my experience in the Board Sports scene has been as a competitor. I think of the intensity of the competition and the skill level I need to bring to the game. My friends and I enjoy the cool venue, free food, free refreshments, free swag and all the awesome prizes.
But last June 9, I switched gears and went behind the helm of a race event. As a first-time organizer, I never really knew the amount of effort, hard work, persistence and dedication it takes to put together a successful event. When stress levels rise and disappointments threaten every corner, all we can do is try to focus on the satisfaction of spreading the stoke.
Stoke equals success. No matter what the hardships. No matter what the outcome.
And that is exactly what we did at the Bukit Tunku Amateur Division Downhill Race. Plans for this event came as an epiphany to me while on a six-hour journey with a friend for a race in south Singapore.
I wanted to organize a race wherein newbies and groms of the sport to test out their ride and sharpen their skills on a fairly challenging but not so dangerous playing field. (Most races are organized in venues that already require a high skill level, therefore making it difficult for would-be skaters to join in the game) So for our event we selected Jalan Tun Ismail, Bukit Tunku, as the location of our race event.
Speeds at Bukit Tunku barely go above 50s but the track was technical enough to make everything interesting with six (6) corners to cut into. Pre-registration with confirmations were held to avoid bailers and latecomers.
Of the twenty (20) pre-registered racers, eighteen (18) showed up—we had Malaysians, Indonesians and Singaporeans—a surprisingly great turnout! Most of the racers said that this was their first competitive event; this made us well up with a surge of honor and privilege to host these budding athletes and add to their collective experience in downhill skateboard racing.
As organizers, it was important for us to lead in creating a pleasant atmosphere of sportsmanship and camaraderie. It was a great joy for us to see the racers meeting new friends and building relationships with people who share their drive and passion.
The race started a bit late, around 10:30AM because one of the organizers unfortunately woke up late (from preparations the night before). Yes, I am that organizer (LOL). My apologies again to all the racers and my fellow organizers—this will never happen again!
It was a three-round race. We drew lots and for the first round we had four (4) four-man heats and one (1) two-man heat. It was a cool sight to see the mix of Malaysian, Indonesian, and Singaporean racers battle it out for a place in the semi-finals. We had decided not to do time attack trials as it would eat into the locals’ time and would draw unwanted and unnecessary attention.
Five (5) Malaysians, three (3) Indonesians and one (1) Singaporean survived and made it to the second round. However, we encountered a bit of trouble with the local police during the second round. The police weren’t hostile to the event but were actually more concerned about the safety of the racers. They initially advised us to clear the road and end the race, but after some diplomatic negotiations, we were able to come to a compromise and the local police gave us a 30-minute time frame to finish the race.
So we all hurried of into the chase car back to the starting line. It was encouraging that none of the motorists were inconvenienced by our event; in fact they all gave us affirming smiles as their vehicles passed us by.
It was head to head in the finals with Adam Akmal (insert ethnicity here), Andriy Satria (Indonesian), Ahmad Asyraf (insert ethnicity here), and funnyman Afu Amir (insert ethnicity here). But at the end of the day, Ahmad Asyraf blazed in first with Andriy Satria coming in a close second. Afu Amir came in third with Adam Akmal in fourth place.
On behalf of our organizing team, I would like to thank our sponsors: Wheel Love Skateshop for the Bern Helmet; Jungleskate Skateshop for the t-shirts and stickers; Original Skateboards for t-shirts and many, many stickers (enough stickers to give to all that were there) and last but not least, Longboard Love Skateshop for the ceramics and skate tools. All these great prizes and freebies really made everything worthwhile!
Last but not the least; I would like to send shoutouts to the many unnamed people who helped make this event a success. All those who took care of the drinks, transportation of the racers to go back uphill, those who supplied the safety vests and flags for the race marshals, our road officers and road marshals, the photographers, and of course the people who gathered to support the event.
The event was a true testimony of stoke! We hope to see you all at our next event!