At the Hot Heels European Downhill Skate Championships, the "Classic Style" competition is the longest running and most coveted. With straights up to 60 mph (100 kph) and narrow hairpin turns, it's not for the unskilled or faint of heart.

The final round of competition was fierce this year, with two unproven Americans facing the #1, #2, and #3 ranked European medalists. As they rocketed into the first hairpin, Champion Frank Vogelsang broke too late and hit the guard rail, severly injuring his leg. 2nd ranked Stefan Wagner and another German rider tangled, also crashing in the first turn.

The remaining racers battled the rest of the course, sliding side by side through the fastest and most dangerous sections.

This is how close the final was. Jochen Blum on the left, Dave Rogers middle, and Darren on the right. Red Bull sponsored the event as evidenced by the finish line archway. Dave crossed the finish line first, but even Jochan and Darren couldn't tell who was 2nd.


(photo courtesy of Matt Richards)

So in '99 the Americans shocked everyone by taking top honors. Dave Rogers (left) took 1st and Darren Lott (right) took 3rd. Both rode a "Lott Classic Racing Board" to victory!

German Jochen Blum took second and Stefan Wagner made a comeback for 4th place.

Americans Tom Mason and Dave Auld also competed, riding "Lott Classics" for the first time. They both made the semi finals, taking 10th and 11th place in a 48 racer field.

Pictured left to right are : #1 Frank Vogelsang, Dave Auld, Tom Mason, Jochen Blum, and Darren Lott. (photo courtesy of Matt Richards)

This is a QuickTime Movie of a ride down the course. During practice, the Classic Butt Boards mix with the Street Luges and do equally well. Both Darren's and (German champion) Stefan Wagner's Butt Board qualifying time were within a second of their Luge times.