GBR series: Pendle

The opening weekend of the Ski Bartlett and Atomic sponsored GBR Outdoor Race Series saw the nation’s best dry slope ski racers make a welcome return to Pendle Ski Slope.

Truly an iconic hill, Pendle’s rolling start and speed sapping finish provides racers with challenges not found anywhere else in the UK, rewarding good skiing and punishing technical errors in equal measure. Add in it’s own micro climate, green dendix plus the occasional slope invading sheep and you begin to understand why there is no other slope quite like Pendle.

Saturday’s race saw local racer Sophie Ogden stamp an immediate authority on this year’s series, overturning Francesca Lee’s half second lead from run 1 to take the female race by over six tents of a second. Lee did more enough to claim 2nd place overall whilst Ellen Hathway nudged Emily Goddard off the podium with an excellent 2nd run.

In the male event home slope racer Christopher Corr proved far to strong for his piers, opening up a lead in excess of one second after run 1 and virtually trebling it by the time run 2 had concluded. A truly dominant display. Johnny Powell claimed the best of the rest honours with a solid runners up spot whilst Pendle veteran Mikey Knowles claimed 3rd.

Sunday’s race 2 of the series provided a similar scenario to the previous day of racing. This time however Francesca Lee didn’t let her first run lead slip and a smart, error free run 2 proved far too good for the rest of the field. The Ravens coached multi-surface specialist deservingly taking the honours. Elsewhere, Sophie Ogden backed up her win from the previous day with a solid runners up spot whilst Alexandra Bullock suggested that Ogden & Lee won’t have it all their own way this summer by claiming the final step on the podium.

In the male event Gerard Flahive ensured Christopher Corr wouldn’t have a similarly comfortable ride to the one he enjoyed on Saturday, posting a time five hundredths slower than Corr on run 1. In a second run face off Flahive asked all the questions with a brutally quick time, however Corr kept both his nerve and technique under control to extend his  overall lead and take the race by two tenths. Quite a weekend for the Pendle coached athlete.

In the U12’s events Eleanor Eaves and Toby Case made it weekend doubles, by winning on both days. Grace Black also podiumed both days whilst Josef Huppach and Robert Holmes each claimed a 2nd & 3rd place over the course of he weekend.

Next stop for the dry slope racers is a Pontypool hosted double header in late June, whilst the indoor athletes go head to head in Manchester this weekend. And whilst each venue has plenty to challenge their respective racers, all of them will know that there isn’t anywhere quite like Pendle. Oh, and for those who wondered…. Inevitably it rained.