MITCH Thompson is set to rocket up the International Downhill Federation’s open skateboard world rankings after posting one of the biggest wins of his career.
The Bathurst skateboarder took out the Transylvania Downhill event in Vulcan, Romania on Sunday, the victory his first on a world qualifying series level.
The points injection which come with that win will boost him from his current sixth position towards the top of the world rankings and gives him a good chance of finishing the year higher than his fourth from 2017.
Riders have the chance to contest 16 events across the year, with their best seven performances determining their final position.
But for now, Thompson is still enjoying what certainly rates as a career highlight.
“I finally scored a win in the IDF [ International Downhill Federation]. I’ve been close lots of times, but never pulled it off and to do it on the craziest track this year is an even better feeling,” Thompson said.
“It’s my first IDF win. I’ve won world class races before, but never a world cup level race. So it was a great feeling. Having my mum and dad there too was even better.
“It was just a next level win overall!”
Thompson headed to the Transylvania Downhill keen to better his previous best result so far this season, a fourth placing at the Keeping It High Seaside round in the Philippines.
The track in Transylvania was a challenging one, descending from an altitude of 1,621 metres over the three kilometre run which featured hairpins and fast kinks.
It had an average gradient of 15.52 percent and hit a maximum steepness of 30 percent, with competitors having to use a gondola to access the top of the run. To further add to the degree of difficulty, rain fell across the course of the three-day event.
Still, Thompson relished the challenge.
“The track is by far the fastest,” he said.
“When it was dry racers were hitting close to 120 kilometres per hour. When wet it dropped to 100kph, which is still crazy fast. The slope was 25 percent plus grade and back-to-back hairpins made it the fastest and most technical track of this year.”
Thompson ranked second in his opening run then won his race in the round of 32 to progress to the finals.
Thompson won his quarter-final and placed second in his semi-final to give himself a shot at his first win at this level.
In the decider he faced a “super wet track”, but the Bathurst talent still got the better of American Adam Westfall, fellow Australian Harry Clarke and Sebastian Hertler.
“I had more tight runs throughout the day, but in the finals I started in front and stayed there and extended my lead and held on for the win,” he said. “My semi was more of a battle with four of us bumping each other the whole run at 90kph in the wet. Crazy stuff.”