Darcie Mead took a place on the podium for the second day in a row at the Welsh Alpine Championships, this time in the Giant Slalom. In totally contrasting conditions to the previous days Slalom, … the two fast courses over terrain that gave the racers plenty to think about, Mead did not, for the second day running, have the best of the draw and started near the back of the top seeds. Celine Julen from Switzerland took the win with Lindsey de Erney taking second place ahead of Mead.
Mead was a class ahead of the rest of the British girls with Alice MacAulay and Beth Widdup finishing in tenth and eleventh overall.
The wide open piste, safely roped off from the public was well prepared and enabled the course setters to give the racers two courses that were challenging and fast.
While the first run saw four racers come out, it was the failure of Samira Wild from Switzerland that opened up the podium for Mead. Wild had been sitting in second place after the first run and with Mead over a second off the blistering pace set by Julen, Mead knew that she needed to let her skis run across the flat sections while being clean through the steep sections. Although much closer on the second run, it was the demise of Wild that enabled her to continue her run of podiums at the Welsh Championships. Although this is a result for Mead at this stage of the season, the youngster, who is still at school at Surbiton High School, will be looking to lower her points further as the season progresses.
Since making her FIS debut in this race three years ago, Beth Widdup has, under the training of Ambition, improved greatly and her 11th place saw her score a career best in Giant Slalom – continuing the great record that the races are getting a name for in racers getting great FIS point results. Sophie Ogden, another trying to combine education and racing this year, also scored a promising result, knocking almost 40 points off her best result in Giant Slalom!
While the racers have to put in the effort at the races and in training, there is definitely the opportunity for them to score well at these races. It has been interesting to see many of the same international teams return to the races this year with that in mind!