The Maryhill Festival of Speed is taking off. In its sixth year, the downhill skating and luging competition has never been more popular. “This year is actually overwhelming,” said John Ozman, the event’s organizer. “Our registration for the event… filled up in two hours.”
The race drew 230 riders from 14 different countries to Maryhill Loops Road in Goldendale, Washington.
Click on “View Gallery” in the right sidebar to see photos from the Festival of Speed.
At the festival, men, women and young adults all competed in downhill skateboarding, street luge and classic luge. Winding down the golden hills, riders flew at speeds exceeding 50 mph. The youngest racer on the course, 9-year-old Tristan “BellaBoy” Bell from Quebec, Canada, kept his mind focused on one thing: “Just stay in my tuck.”
But it wasn’t the speed or the course that proved to be challenging; it was the competition. “Maryhill is not very technical. It’s a very easy road to skate. But a very, very hard race to win,” said Billy “Bones” Menizer of Portland. Zak Maytum agreed: “Maryhill is a tough one to win because everyone here is so fast.”
Maytum had qualified for first place after setting a new course record at Maryhill the previous day. After a great run the day before and winning the race in 2010, Maytum set high goals for himself. “I would like to win. My goal is to make it to the finals.”
And both Maytum and Menizer made it to the finals. In a neck-to-neck race, Maytum lost by a couple feet to Canadian Patrick Switzer. OPB reporter Anna King profiled Switzer throughout the day.
But for Nick Dunmall, Maytum’s teamate, downhill longboarding is more of an experience than a competition. “The racing isn’t… all of it; it’s just going out and hanging with your friends and having a good time.”
Dunmall, who has been racing for seven years, has suffered five broken ankles and a broken back. But his passion for the sport outweighs the risk of injury. “Sooner or later you just need to get a job and go to work,” says Dunmall, “but you’re always going to skate; you’re always going to have fun.”
This video was shot by Ifanyi Bell and John Rosman.