King of the Mamba, Durban, South Africa
21 March 2015
This is generally how I ended up at the last two downhill skateboarding/longboarding events in Durban, South Africa: They are organised in a few weeks, one of the organisers, Greg Parry from Peg Skateboards out of Durban messages me to come down with promises of an epic location, I speak to the right people, and next thing I know I am on a plane to Durban for the inaugural and opening event for the MAMBA snake-run at the Eden Village Park in Salt Rock, Kwa-Zulu Natal.
I go onto Youtube and search for any videos of the track and I come cross the one made by local Durban skater Troy O’ Sullivan who also helped with consultation on how track should be built from a downhill skateboarder’s perspective. I watched his video and thought this one should be easy, similar to an event in Durban a few months ago at the Giba Gorge BMX/Mountain Bike pump-track. What the video did not do was give a proper reflection of the actual gradient of the snake-run as he was using a pole-mounted camera.
Surprise surprise… it was crazy!
I flew in on the Friday afternoon and Greg drove me straight to the track. I purposefully did not skate or cycle much in the week leading up to the event as I knew it will require all the leg reserves I could muster. I soon realised that it also needed a few days of riding it to get used to the feel of it.
You can’t not go fast. As much as you tried to hold back by shifting your weight to the back of the board, every corner still saw you boosting out of it picking up speed. It’s the kind of track where all your senses are being worked the whole way down, from the first set of humps, into the high walls of the right-and-left s-bend, sweeping straight into the big right-hand hairpin into a tight left wall down into the rabbit hole with a small straight, all in anticipation for the final left corner, THE WALL, which saw some people completely overcook it, me especially, and end up in the landing bags over the edge.
There were 18 participants in total and after 2 rounds out of 4 I finished with a 10th place overall. My first run saw me fall thrice and sitting in last place, so I knew the pressure was on for my next few runs.
The locals dominated the event and we were all stoked to see some of the guys like Troy who helped with building the track come out as the winner with a 32-second winning time, with local 15yr old Lungelo Mntambo coming in a close 2nd and Bradley Stevens 3rd.
Thank you so much to Peg Skateboards and Red Bull South Africa for hosting such a rad event and personally thank you to Red Bull South Africa, Revolution Skateboard Supply Co., Globe Shoes, Triple 8 protective gear, Kryptonics wheels and Peg Skateboards for making it possible for me to make the trip. A special thank you to old school South African vert
skating legend Eben Combrinck, who headed up the construction of the MAMBA snakerun.
Helmet camera footage by AJ Liebenberg and pics by Al Nicoll and Gavin Higgins.
by Kent Lingeveldt