The Twin Peaks is one of the high lights of the summer racing scene north of the border. Two different slopes, two separate races but one great weekend of racing. Maybe nothing new in the concept but what was great to see was two of Scotland’s leading racers putting something back into the sport and … showing the racers on their way up, just how far they still have to go: Paul Henderson, on his way back from a nasty injury to his back that curtailed his winter season, and Nicole Ritchie, one of the leading Scottish girls not on the British team, won both of the races at Fir Park and Hillend in dominant fashion.
Henderson admitted after winning the Fir Park race for the first time, was a little disappointed that his older brother Callum, was not able to race having been laid low by illness. Henderson took the opportunity to show some of the rising stars of the Scottish scene just how far they have to go in order to be at the top of the racing scene. Henderson did not just turn up, inspect and race; the Edinburgh racer was keen to help the racers that he coaches during the summer at Hillend with course inspection and race preparation. “I like to put something back into the sport,” he explained after the race. It was great to see a number of other ex-racers helping out as well – all keen to develop the next generation of racers and pass on the experience they gathered in their racing days.
After having finished last winter early due to problems with his back, Henderson was keen to point out the support he had received from his Ambition coaches as they looked at the long term benefits of stopping his season early against trying to battle on: “I cannot thank the coaches at Ambition enough, Marc Telling and Jo Ryding, helped me enormously in sorting things,” Henderson added, “plus the work that Sandy Lyle did on my back means that I have come back so much stronger and ready to go again.”
Ritchie benefitted from going early on in the top fifteen group of seeds as she set out to avenge not having won the race last year. Kate Taylor was her main opposition she admitted and Ritchie put in a fast first run that put the pressure on Taylor. Taylor was looking fast but made a mistake on the first run and a minor garage sale of a crash saw her chances go. This allowed Ritchie to use her head and ski safely on the second run to take the win.
With the racing switching to Hillend on the Sunday, Henderson had increased competition from two of the younger rising stars of Scottish racing: Euan Kick and Zak Vinter. While both now spend more time racing and training on snow, the two are fast on the matting as well. Â Kick admitted that he did not have the feeling on the matting on the first run after ‘ceramicing’ his skis; something he felt was a mistake, and came out after the first pitch. Vinter was off the pace on the first run but put in a storming second run to jump up to second place, albeit some way off the time postedÂ by Henderson.
With over 180 racers taking to the Hillend race across all ages, the decision by LSRA to encourage more of their trainees to race is paying dividends. Training is one thing but actually taking part in the races is another and needs to be encouraged! So the two days of competition were helped with glorious weather, something other races could not offer as the weather God’s played havoc across the country but the atmosphere was friendly and people were willing to help when asked to do something!
If you are thinking about doing the Scottish, get your entry in as these are great races: Well run and with a great atmosphere!
Fir Park results:Â 14firpkres
Hillend Results:Â 14lsra1res
How Nicole Ritchie won
How Paul Henderson won
Picture of Paul Henderson on his way to winning at Hillend, credit: RACER READY
More action shots at www.racer-ready.ifp3.com