Photos: Sam Longmire
Last weekend the Stepchild crew took over the Glenshee park for a weekend of board-testing and rail jamming. Despite a recent dump that gave the Scottish hills their best conditions in a decade, things were back to normal by the time the comp rolled around. Warm winds, bad visibility, sticky soft snow: welcome to Glenshee.
The good news was that there was still more than enough snow to work with, and that it would take more than just some crap weather to deter those who’d come up for the sesh. The park crew had set up a choice of three features: a flat-down box and the two Bawbags ‘Bawbreaker’ rails (one down, one down-flat). With the take-offs shaped and the tunes on, the riders got down to it.
While some of the usual suspects were sunning themselves in Laax at the Brits, the comp still attracted top-class riders from far and wide. The Trinder brothers had made it over from Aviemore, while Nicol Paton and Barry Parker were among the strong Aberdeen contingent. Being a rail jam, though, the smart money was on the Braehead regulars. Danny McCormick wasted no time, throwing all sorts at the rails as well as a crowd-pleasing cab underflip 540 off the makeshift jump between features. Pete Meadows’ frontside tailslide to switch-up to 270-out was one of the techier tricks of the day, while Adam Gairns stomped a textbook cab 270-on 270 off. All the while the Stepchild crew were on hand to dish out demo boards, Bawbags, beers, hot dogs and Charlie Sheen-themed compliments.
The field was whittled down for a quick final, with the simple format of ‘best trick wins’. Everyone took it to the downrail and gave it their all, but no-one could touch Danny. As he rode away from his cab hardway 270-on 270-off, it was clear he’d be the one going home with the Stepchild board. The guy is top class; never without a smile on his face, and more stoked on hearing the Clash come on the sound system than he is about his own prodigal talents.
With so many keen to keep riding after the comp was done, an impromptu ‘biggest gap’ session was called. Some followed Tom ‘Smithy’ Smith’s lead and started gapping the first section of the box, but soon the action moved to a line which involved clearing the down-flat rail at a sketchy diagonal angle. Neil Cruikshank stepped up despite having only just arrived and floated a super-smooth back 1, while Barry Parker threw all 6ft 2 of himself into a monster frontflip.
In the end it wasn’t a case of ‘making the best of it’, as Scottish riders so often have to do. It’s hard to see how much better the comp could have been had the sun shone all day. The visibility could have been worse, and the organisers made sure it was always mellow, but never boring. Oh go on then… Winning!