It was billed as a contest that had attracted some of the top dry slope racers of the past and present and it did not fail to live up to its billing. Mike Molloy from Norfolk Ski Club overhauled first run leader Tom Hales with the fastest second run time. Stuart Riches held on to third place despite a relatively slow second run, just holding offÂ Harry Hornsby andÂ defending joint champion from last year David Hatcher in fourth and fifth. Ben Clark and Johnny Powell made it the fastest seven in the race all being from the senior age group.
With the first run coming in for … some stinging criticism from a number of racers due to the high number of racers that crashed out, yet it was the inability of many of the said racers to move their feet and weight from outside ski to outside ski that caused their demise. The reliance of many racers on ceramicing their edges meant that they could not move their feet fast enough to cope with the conditions as the edges gripped too long on the short turns.
With the first run seeing past winners Georgie Hunt and Andrew Watson crash out as well as one of the pre race favourites James Sieber, a smooth run by Hales saw him hold an eight hundredth of a second lead over Molloy. With seven of the top fifteen crashing out of the course, this opened up the opportunity for some of the younger racers to make a name for themselves infront of the watching brand managers from Dynastar and Rossignol!
With ten to go on the second run, the lead was held by Declan Huppach. Huppach is a rising talent from the Pendle Club and has been steadily making improvements all season. Two smooth and fast runs saw him rise from a start number of 40. Huppach skied intelligently to benefit from the impatience of others. Just behind Huppach was another rising talent, Emile Evans from Wales who had risen from a start of 46.
Adam Lee and Daniel Molloy both crashed out on the second run, Molloy causing many in the crowd by the finish to move quickly as he jettisoned skis and sticks across the slope. Next up was Laurence Willows, part of the British Junior team for Ski Cross, but he could not cope with the pace that had been set by Huppach or Evans and slotted in behind them.
After a run he described as slightly disappointing, Ben Clark was out to prove a point and took the lead by almost a second over Huppach. Seven to go and the tension was rising!
Mikey Knowles was next down and was the leading non Senior racer. With a slender advantage of just 14 hundredths over Clark, every small mistake cost him valuable time and he slotted in behind Clark, could Clark think the unthinkable of a podium or better result?
David Hatcher and his â€˜unique style of racing,â€™ as described in the commentary, soon dispelled the hopes of Clark of winning as he posted the fastest time to that point. Hatcher tends to use more of the back of the ski and you could feel the coaches watching shudder with hatred as they watched his run! Unorthodox it may be, at times it is fast.
It was now into the top five from the first run and Johnny Powell was next up. Who would blink first? Powell had a lead of four hundredths over Hatcher and was four behind Harry Hornsby. Powell over stepped the mark in terms of trying too hard and dropped off the pace with a few small mistakes.
With a lead of three tenths over Hornsby, Stuart Riches was almost in no mans land as he was trailing Molloy by three tenths as well. Go fast and try to get the win or ski safe and stay in the hunt for a podium was the choice Riches had. Riches knows how to ski fast and while he was not as fast as either Hornsby or Hatcher, he held on to his position. With just Molloy and Hales to go, Riches was safe for the podium.
Molloy has not been a common sight on the summer scene this season as he now works full time for the RAF. Yet he still has talent and knows how to go fast. Three tenths ahead of his club mate, Stuart Riches yet eight hundredths behind Hales, it was all to play for. Molloy is a past master of the dry slope scene and it was no surprise to see him take the lead. Could he hold on to the lead with Hales standing at the start?
With his Dad and sister having crashed out on the first run, Tom Hales was out to restore the family pride and dent the hopes of the English in winning their own national Championship. A small mistake on the top section meant that he would have to motor on the lower section if he was to stay infront. Despite posting the fourth fastest second time, it was not enough to hold on to the lead and Molloy took the win.
With the seven fastest all coming from the Senior age group, the age groups were won by Oliver Weeks (Under 14); Declan Huppach (Under 16 â€“ 9th Overall); Emile Evans (Under 18 â€“ 10th Overall); Mikey Knowles (Under 21 â€“ 8th Overall) and Michael Molloy winning the Senior age group to win the Overall as well for the third year in a row. Mark Hawkins won the Masterâ€™s age group.
Full results will be up soon
Pictures from the racing will also be up soon on www.racer-ready.ifp3.com