Victoria Bell: “Such an amazing atmosphere”

Irish racer Victoria Bell did not have long to sample the World Championship Women’s Giant Slalom as she crashed out on the first run. Bell “took a really nasty tumble, it looked good in slow-mo,” she explained after her run. “I think I may have straddled the gate,” explained Bell as she walked out of the finish area. Bell has had a season that has seen her improve to scoring some high fifty point results in early January out in Japan yet this was a real eye opener for the eighteen year old.

“My run was very short, about ten gates,” explained Bell.”It was really bumpy from the start. I have a lot of respect for the girls who are coming down now as it is pretty tough.” Bell started 92 out of 139 starters for the Women’s GS. “It has been an incredible experience, such an amazing atmosphere – you get down and there are children asking for your autograph, this is such an amazing feeling. It is also a little intimidating. In the start gate there is this camera that swoops in on you and it was really close to the face!”

With the biggest names in Women’s Giant Slalom ski racing also taking part, Bell was part of the second group of racers that took to course inspection. The top 30 starters started their inspection, five minutes before the rest of the field. “The top thirty do not want the hundred plus point skiers around them!”

Bell will also race in the slalom on Saturday.

With her parents watching on as well as her sister, Florence, and Grandfather, getting to the finish area, “even though I did not finish, was such an amazing feeling with all these people,” explained Bell, “the music and everything was really amazing.”

The Irish team are one of the small teams at the World Championships. While the big teams get the pick of the hotels, the Irish team are billeted four kilometres from Ramsau, some ten miles from Schladming. “It is not a very big team,” Bell explained about the Irish team, “but we are getting on well.”

In the men’s qualification race for the Giant Slalom, Hubert Gallagher crashed out on the first run and Connor Lyne finished 42nd. With the top 25 in the race qualifying and then the next 25 nations having one racer entered for the main event, Lyne gets into the main race and will start 98 in the main race, Aksel Lund Svindal gets the race underway with Ligety 3 and Hirscher 6….