Rocket Ryding hits the big time with World Cup points in Levi

With Ryding having made the cut in 23rd spot, this was an opportunity like no other in his short career to date. This was only his eighth World Cup start and so you could almost forgive him the sense of fear and nerves. Whereas Zagreb last season was the first time he had been in the finish on the first run, this was the first time he had made the second run. Fear? None of it. Nerves? he certainly did not show any. Inexperience – the man is made of better stuff than that! He skied a good top section, better than many thought he could and apart from a wee error approaching the finish where his weight went back, this was a solid run. By the first split his combined time was just 0.01 off the lead. The challenge on the pitch had him round out his line and pressure his skis more aggressively and then he lost a little time on the flats after having put his weight back. The end result is World Cup points! Yes British men have points on the board for the first time since Ed Drake did it in 2010 in the Combined in Chamonix, and the first time since Alain Baxter did it also in the Slalom in Chamonix in January 2005.

But what does this mean for British skiing? If you could measure the excitement on the social networking sites between the two runs and then after the race, the number of racers, fans and interested parties was huge. This is a huge result for British skiing and the plaudits coming from his fellow British Team members was tremendous: Dougie Crawford (Speed Team) tweeted: “Well done to Dave Ryding – Skier making his first world cup points in Levi today! Great start to the season! #comeonthebrits“, Chemmy Alcott tweeted: “Whoop whoop a new GB World Cup Racer is born! Congrats to Dave the rocket Ryding on his first WC points today awesome!” And after the race what did the man himself have to say: What a day!! Getting in there was epic!! So glad I could give the Brits something to watch… a little nervous on the bottom pitch 😉

It was great to see the support for Ryding coming not just from the racers but also the suppliers of kit to the team. Colmar provided the race kit last year to the team and they were just as delighted as the racers tweeting @daveryding WWOW!! Great job on the first run. Congrats.

While Ryding did not make a FIS point result, the 5 World Cup points that he did make for 26th spot help on the start list for the World Cup. Ryding currently sits in 26th spot in the World Cup in Slalom and on the World Cup Start List, the all important list from where the start list is made up on the World Cup he now sits in 58th spot. So unless he can start scoring points on a regular basis he will still start outside the 30 … for the time being! And just as a little aside, in 59th on the World Cup Start List for Slalom is Bode Miller. Not bad to be able to say you are above Miller is it!

With UK Sport demanding results in return for support this is just the start. It will now give the rest of the team something to aim for. Coaches, athletes from all disciplines and fellow racers were all delighted for the racer from Pendle who without the support from C-tec, Vital, NORSKI, Kandahar Ski Club and his parents amongst many other supporters would not have made the grade for this great result. This is the first stop on the long and winding road to Sochi for Dave!