FOUR years after Mitch Thompson took up downhill skating, he is in line to finish the season with the world number one ranking.
The Bathurst talent currently occupies second place on the International Downhill Federation Open Skateboard world ranking for 2017, having accumulated four podiums across seven events.
He sits on 4,452 with only 2016-15 world champion, Brazil’s Carlo Paixao (4,640), ranked above him.
Thompson’s most recent podium came in Italy on the weekend, placing third in the Teolo World Qualifying Series event.
As the temperature hit a sapping 46 degrees Celsius – enough to melt the wheels of some competitors – Thompson qualified fifth fastest. He averaged 87.61km/hr on his best run.
Thompson went on to win his races in the round of 64 and 32, backing those runs up with success in his quarter-final.
In the semi-final Thompson placed second to Paixao, who had earlier broken the track record, which was good enough to book him a spot in the decider.
Thompson pushed hard for the win, but in the end had to settle for third behind Paixao and under 17s talent Tristan Cardillo from Switzerland.
“We were all really close the whole way down the tight hairpin section of the track, but in the last hairpin I tried to go too fast into it in order to make up ground and make a pass for second and scrubbed wide and lost a lot of speed,” Thompson said.
“The final straight I was too far to catch up and stood up coming over the finish.”
Thompson’s Teolo effort added to third placings at Mount Panorama’s Newton’ Nation, Keeping It High (Philippines) and the Arirang Hill Fest (South Korea).
It gives him confidence ahead of the final event on the circuit, the Killington Throwdown, which will be held on September 8 in the United States.
“It’s the last [race] for everyone. I will most definitely keep second and if the race plays out in my favour, I could walk away number one,” Thompson, who ranked 13th in 2016, said.
“I’m excited! I've raced this track last year and placed third, so I know I can do well there. But definitely some nerves. I want to perform, but there's always that chance that I can blow this great opportunity.”