Darcie Mead and Bethany Widdup produced strong performances at the 8th Welsh Championships in finishing second and third behind the exciting young Belgian racer Mathilde Nelles. Nelles, drawn one, used her opportunity with a … clean track to post the fastest time on the first run and then held on to win as the field self capitulated on the second run. Alice Macaulay looked to be heading for the position as best of the British racers after having edged her two compatriots after the first run before making an error on the second run as she fought to take a direct and fast line. The end result was her crashing out, as did 17 racers on the second run.
Despite the thick fog, the hard work put into keeping both runs in the best condition possible by coaches, the local ski patrol and other volunteers, gave the racers a great opportunity to make good results. Christophe Berra, owner of the Hotel Suisse in Champery and a past Swiss Ski Team racer, commented that it is races like these that help the racers climb up the rankings. The hard work put in by all makes the efforts of the racers, at all levels, that much easier.
While Mead was the top seed coming into the race, a long journey the night before meant a late arrival. Mead started 12, just behind Alice Macaulay and with not a lot separating the two in terms of seed points, it was Macaulay, the older of the two racers, who was fastest of the two after the first run. Both trailed the young Belgian who had gone first and skied a clean run down the smooth course.
With the second run set by Macaulay and Widdup’s coach, you would have thought it would be advantage to them but Mead posted a strong time, Widdup skied a safe second run and then Macaulay crashed out after having skied the top section in devastating fashion. Nelles posted the fastest second run time to take the win comfortably and also claim a career best score in Slalom.
Sophie Ogden placed 8th overall scoring just outside the 100 point mark for a career best slalom result and Isadora Taylor also posted a career best result in her first year of racing in FIS races. Annie Usher placed 14th overall in her first FIS race as well.