After a hectic three days in New York City, it was time to head to the only Canadian stop on the World Tour. Montreal is home to world famous Indy Car driver Jaques Villeneuve and the Molson 500 Indy car race. It seemed fitting that the Montreal promo stop was held at a high-speed indoor go cart track.
Circuit 500 was the scene of our Friday night event, with a roster of racers made up of employees from snowboard shops from all over Quebec. Some people drove over two hours to Montreal for a chance to test their racing skills against Burton riders Keir Dillon, DCP, JP Solberg, Romain DeMarchi and Trevor Andrew. Some shops had teams of racers, all decked out in uniforms… a few of them even had their own helmets and racing gloves. It didn’t take us long to figure out that they were taking the event seriously.
Once the first race got underway, it was pretty clear that the track rules were going to be broken. Keir tried to cut someone off in the final S turn and caused one of the biggest pileups of the night, spinning cars backwards around the turn and stopping the race. A few races later, DCP broke half the front bumper off his car and continued to drive despite the track attendants who were flagging him to pull over and get his bumper fixed. People were ignoring the ‘slow down’ signals all night, which made for some crazy crashes.
One of the most exciting things to watch, besides the racing, was the track attendants running around the track fixing the tires and pulling stuck cars out of pileups. One guy was taken out at the ankles by a speeding racer who failed to slow down when the car in front of him crashed. The attendant tried to jump out of the way but got clipped at full speed; he then had to drag himself over the barricade to avoid getting hit head on by another car. (He was dragged off the track, but came back later on crutches with only a sprained ankle) Another guy was constantly coming close to getting smoked, but managed to keep himself out of danger by jumping away from and over oncoming cars with cat-like reflexes.
The crowd was at capacity, with the upper viewing area full of people checking out the action below on the track. The crew from Ninja Tune records was on hand spinning beats to keep everyone amped up for the races. Every heat was full, and the finals were pretty intense. Romain took the top lap time of the night in the rider’s final, which left us with one race to go. The shop final was quite a scene, with the top racers representing each shop in a battle for the trophy and bragging rights. Once it all wrapped up, there was a formal awards ceremony, complete with medals, a trophy, and champagne. In the end, it was the well dressed crew from Vertical who took the top prize.
Our night ended with one bizarre incident. We were getting ready to head into downtown when one of the track attendants came running out through the door and jumped off the loading dock, flipping through the air before hitting the ground running. This was the same guy who had been jumping over cars all night, and for some reason he decided to put on an acrobatics display in the parking lot outside the racetrack. He upped the ante by running along the top of a transport truck and flipping off from about 14 feet off the deck. For his final jump, one of his friends pulled up a huge SUV in front of the truck, so he could gap over it. It took him a minute to get psyched up before sprinting along the top and launching himself into a rodeo flip over the SUV. He stomped it, and landed running backwards! Everybody was freaking out… including the riders. To quote JP… “I don’t get it, what is motivating this guy?”
Maybe he was trying to get sponsored?
Off to Denver. See you there.