Natalie Beattie won her first British Senior Title in Meribel with victory in the Ladies Slalom. With fog coming in and out, Beattie put in a solid first run and then turned the screw on the rest of the field in the second run. With both of the Delancey British Team racers who have raced on the World Cup this year, Charlie Guest and Alex Tilley, on the start list, Beattie admitted after the race that she felt she would be fighting for the minor places yet was delighted to have secured her first title. Natalia Harte took second place and Rachelle Rogers took her first senior podium in third place.
Racing from the top of the Stade, this was a long course for the girls. Using the start that is usually used by the men, this was a steep and technical slope for the girls to race on. With a first run set by Jo Ryding, the challenge of Charlie Guest disappeared on the first run as she crashed out and this saw Alex Tilley take a commanding lead with Ukrainian Bogdana Matsotska in second and Beattie placed in third after the first run and the rest of the field following on.
With a thin veil of fog drifting in and out across the course, Beattie, third last down the second run, gave it her all on the second run. “I was not very happy with the first run,” she admitted, adding “I then felt I had nothing to lose on the second run so I went for it.” Beattie’s second run put her into the lead when she came down and then she had to wait for the remaining two racers to race. First down was Matsotska and while she skied a smooth run, it was not as fast as Beattie.
With Tilley having lead the first run by half a second over Matsotska and almost a second on Beattie, the defending champion had time on her hand. The top of the second run was not her best skiing yet she was still in the race. As she approached the last change of rhythm, disaster struck for Tilley as she straddled a gate and was out – Victory for Beattie.
Beattie is trained in Courchevel by the ex French World Cup racer, Joel Chenal. Chenal believes that Beattie is on the right track and he was not totally surprised that she had won the race, despite the other racers in the field. Beattie herself, was delighted with the win, her second in FIS racing in her fledgling career.
For Natalia Harte this was another podium at this years Championships. “I am a better speed skier but out of the technical races, I think the slalom is my better discipline,” she said after the race. Harte felt that her second run was more like what she can achieve. Harte finished third overall.
Rachelle Rogers took her first podium in the Senior races and has found this year hard work as she has combined studying for her A’ Levels with training with the Ambition Group. Rogers placed sixth overall in the race.