After a good winter training in the UK and two weeks in Sharm in March I entered the PKRA event for Leucate.
Registration was on 19 April and I flew into Carcassonne Airport with my dad for the hour long drive down to the Mediterranean south coast.
The rider registration was at the PKRA’s base for the event at Leucate La Franqui.
The riders meeting was at 09:30 the next day and as it happened this was to be the event where Aaron Hadlow was to return to World Championship competition. So there were four “brits” at the event, Aaron, Sam Light, Lewis Crathern and me.
Because of the number of entrants there would be a trial to get into the main event and the new judging format for 2013 was to be the highest scoring 5 tricks from 12 attempts. The winners of the first round would go straight into the main event.
It was very windy, ranging between 30 to 45 knots and the wind was still picking up. I was on my 7 which I had not even flown before arriving in Leucate and was brand new out of the bag from when it arrived last year !
I was drawn in round 6 against Carlos Madson who had finished 5th at Leucate in 2012, Michael Schitszoffer who finished 13th in 2012 and Elvis Nunes who I knew nothing about. Madson won, Schitszoffer came second and I finished 3rd.
In the next round I was drawn against Stefan Spiesberger and Alonso Alcazar. Spiessberger had finished 7th overall in the 2012 PKRA and had already banked a 13th at the 1st 2013 PKRA event in Dakhla in March and had a world ranking of 22nd.
I was able to get into the best trick zone more often than in my first round and with the wind gusting over 45 knots, landed a blind judge, a slim, an s-bend to blind and a double s-bend to win. I was stoked with that.
So through to the last round, the wind was now gusting between 26 and 52 knots.
It was tough but I landed some non handle-pass tricks along with a slim and a shifty 3 and was up on points until Garat threw and landed a front blind mobe in the last minute. I lost the heat by 1 point and Garat was through to the main event instead of me and that was the end of my run.
It had been a great experience and I had beaten Speissberger, a top 10 rider on the PKRA.
I finished joint 25th and have a world ranking of 35th, Lewis went on to get joint 17th, Sam placed joint 11th and of course Aaron got 2nd in the singles and finished 3rd after the doubles having beaten Youri in a clash in the singles on the way. Being there watching that heat was a buzz in itself.
Then for good measure I was awarded the best newcomer/rookie so ended up on the closing ceremony stage with Bruna Gagia, Karolina Winkowska, Gisela Pulido, Aaron Hadlow, Mark Jacobs and Alex Pastor ! Result !
Words and photos by George Dufty