The Olympics are in full swing, but you don’t have to travel all the way to Pyeong Chang to see some incredible humans racing downhill at amazing speeds.
In fact, thanks to a new event that debuted in central Arkansas last year, you don’t even have to leave the state.
Cody Womack (red and black suit), Tim Locke (green suit) and Harper Knight (black suit) race in the inaugural Race at the Frack / Photo: Joseph Giddens
The second annual Race at the Frack, a downhill longboarding race created by rider Derrick Thomas Duncan and some local longboarder friends, is set for April 7-8 near Greer’s Ferry, Arkansas.
Duncan founded the event last year as a way to stay involved with the sport he loved after an accident left him unable to skate.
“I had actually gotten in a really bad wreck skating and left me paralyzed,” he said. “So being me, I’m still obsessed with the sport, so I started looking at topographical maps and ended up finding the (course) road.”
The course, a mile-long downhill run on Leech Drive near the Middle Fork Little Red River, has a fracking site near the top, which gave Duncan’s race its name.
“The first time we went to the road we happened to meet some super welcoming locals and I just went ahead and asked about having an event there and they were stoked on the idea,” Duncan said.
The first ever Race at the Frack took place last year and drew longboarders from eight states. This year, organizers are planning for an even larger event.
“We had a good crowd, and things went as smooth as can be,” Duncan said. “This year is planning to be way bigger. We’ve had to move campsites to accommodate (the event), so we’ll be staying at the Devil’s Fork Campground on Greer’s Ferry Lake.”
Some well-known skaters, including Chase Hiller, Kavon Zamanian, and Adam Heironimus, are involved with the event and are expected to be back for the second year.
Duncan said that longboarding has increased in popularity in recent years in Arkansas, due in large part to the topography of the Ozarks that create some killer downhill runs.
“Arkansas/the Ozarks or as we call it, ‘the NoCoast,’ offers everything for this sport,” he said. “(There is) anything from beginner territory all the way up to 60-70 mph runs.”
Zamanian, who currently lives in Fayetteville and who raced in the inaugural event last year, said the course at Race at the Frack is a perfect example of what the state of Arkansas has to offer for downhill longboarders.
“The road is really a blast,” Zamanian said. “While the top speed isn’t as high as that of other races, you accelerate very quickly in the second half of the course due to the extremely steep grade. The combination of the last three corners is pretty technical, and since they’re so close together it makes for some interesting racing. I’d argue it’s one of the best tracks currently being raced in the country.”