Down­hill dare­dev­ils to kick off Plett Rage

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - JOHN HAR­VEY

SEL­DOM is it the case that it’s all down­hill from the start of Plett Rage, but that will be pre­cisely the sce­naro to­day when thou­sands of matrics watch the coun­try’s lead­ing long­board skate­board­ers tackle the hol­i­day town’s treach­er­ous Od­land Street.

With long­board­ers clock­ing speeds of up to 100km/h, the event marks a spec­tac­u­lar be­gin­ning to this year’s 10-day ma­tric-end celebration dur­ing which some 16 000 school­leavers are ex­pected to party like there’s no tomorrow.

So pop­u­lar has the event be­come that high-school sweet- hearts Olivia Loft­house and Ja­son van Heer­den trav­elled 18 hours by bus from Pre­to­ria to be part of the ac­tion.

“This town is so cute,” Olivia said. “This is the big­gest ma­tric event in the coun­try and what I love about Plett is there is no hu­mid­ity.”

Angelique Jones, 18, of Plettenberg Bay Sec­ondary, said she was look­ing for­ward to hav­ing “a bit of fun”.

“I think it is all very ex­cit­ing.”

Hav­ing been friends for most of their school ca­reers, school leavers Me­gan Cronje, Me­gan Baard, Me­gan Thomas and Kyla Lunt were en­joy­ing the “vibe” around town, and look­ing for­ward to en­joy­ing sushi be­fore paint­ing the town red last night.

Event or­gan­is­ers of the Down­hill Rage, Na­ture Sport Com­pany, were thrilled with the re­sponse they had had to the event.

“Rid­ers are chomp­ing at the bit for the op­por­tu­nity to skate Od­lands,” event man­ager Daron Smit said.

“It’s a rare treat for them and I know our lo­cal guys are es­pe­cially ex­cited.”

Among the dare­dev­ils are highly seeded South African Grav­ity Rac­ing As­so­ci­a­tion com­peti­tors Ja­son Brown and Richard Dweza.

“Spec­ta­tors can ex­pect a weekend full of head-to-head rac­ing ex­cite­ment, give­aways, mu­sic and more.

“There are R40 000 worth of prizes up for grabs, as well as an in­cred­i­ble first place prize of R10 000 cash,” Smit said.

To­day’s down­hill ac­tion kicks off with time tri­als and qual­i­fy­ing rounds tak­ing place, but with a Poker Run “thrown in for a bit of fun”.

This will en­tail con­tes­tants skat­ing a des­ig­nated route, and hav­ing to pass cer­tain check­points along the way, col­lect­ing a poker card at each.

The in­flux of matrics into the town be­gan in earnest yes­ter­day af­ter a rel­a­tively quiet start to the week.

PIC­TURE: EWALD STANDER

TAKE A LOAD OFF: Anya de Klerk jumps for joy as Plett Rage gets off to a sunny start. Cheer­ing her on is Ste­fan Nieu­woudt, left, and Ro­han de Klerk. The three were en­joy­ing some fun in the sun on Plett’s Cen­tral Beach.

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