For many years the youngest age group that races at national level have been shunted around and treated like second class citizens. Now there is an event that has caught the imagination and attention of parents, coaches and racers themselves – some of the older racers have also said they would like to do it. The under 12 and under 10 age group are the future of the sport. If the appeal to them can be enhanced, then they will keep coming back. This is something that is vital … for the lifeblood of the sport in the long term. While the importance of the traditional events is important, the element of fun and enjoyment is just as important.
Norwich is one of the few slopes in the UK that the combi race can be run as it has a number of terrain changes to make the course interesting to both course setter and the racers. With the addition of the two jumps ‘borrowed’ from the freestyle set up at Norfolk, this was something that caught the attention and imagination of racers, parents, coaches and racers that had already competed earlier in the day. One of these racers commented on Facebook later that he wished he had been able to take part! Maybe adding the Under 14’s into the race would be a good idea for the future, the Under 14’s do take part in the GB Champs (on snow) Combi and it would give those racers heading up into the Under 14’s next summer, an idea as to how they fared against the older kids!
As for the racing, it comprised of two runs, one down a traditional stubbies based slalom course and then the Combi course with pro-slalom gates followed by a run through the bumps and then over a freestyle jump before a straight run through some stubbies, over another jump and through the finish. Yes there were some crashes but the biggest crash came from a forerunner!
Toby Case was again the class act in the age group, as he has been most of the summer and posted the fastest time on both courses though Jack Upton in the Under 10 age group demonstrated that he too will be one to watch out for next summer. Tommy Dade and Joseph Thompson, both from the younger year of birth in the Under 12 age group podiumed showing that they will be up there again next summer. Upton won the younger age group in a group that was virtually full of 2005 year of births, Upton being the only 2004 boy racing!
In the girls race Nadine Hugec took the spoils ahead of Eva Pascoe with Eleanor Scranage-Harrison in third in the older age group, all will go up to the main races next summer. Anya Hemming took the under 10 age group with Catherine McCardle and Emily King joining her on the podium.
One final point: Sometimes it is hard to get forerunners for the races, there was no shortage of people wanting to forerun for the Combi side of this race such is the fun element. Maybe the governing bodies should take note of this!
Click here to see pictures from the racing