Nicole Ritchie was the top seed in the race and gave a performance that justified her billing as the leading seed pointed racer in the field as she won the Scottish Dry Slopes Championship Slalom. … The lack of top line competition in the field, just one racer from England and one from Ireland made the start list, meant that Ritchie was able to ski within herself to take the win on what is the hardest dry slope in the UK yet still won by over two seconds from Eilidh Ryan and Cameron Manson took third. Alannah Lawrie and Claire Winthrop rounded out the top five.
Ritchie is in between a rock and a hard place when it comes to racing on dry slopes this year. She is the top seeded racer in Scotland and to encounter competition, she has to travel afar. When she encounters determined competition, she struggles as she is not used to fighting and when back in her comfort zone, and Hillend is, unlike for others, definitely her comfort zone, she is in her element. She does now need to take the step up.
It is Eilidh Ryan that caught the eye. Not the biggest or strongest of racers but her technique, while still developing, combined with her determination, saw her comfortably be the best of the rest. Ryan is only an Under 16 year of birth and gave many of her older racers food for thought as she destroyed then in the slalom. With more strength as she grows and more experience on snow, Ryan will be there for the long haul. This is certainly a racer to watch out for.
Despite the racers taking place over the bank holiday across the UK, just one racer made the journey north from England. This is an endemic problem for the summer racing scene as racers, due to costs and the fact that the Scottish Championships take place during high season in Edinburgh, are not making the long trip north. Cameron Manson, one of the highly accomplished group of Under 18 racers in the UK on snow at the moment, was the only female English racer in the field, her father hails from Edinburgh so it was a chance, he admitted, to catch up with the family! Manson, racing for the first time at Hillend, used this more as a learning curve than a serious tilt at winning.
Hillend is the longest and steepest hill that racers will come across in the summer and is one of the few hills that allows a racer to still challenge after making a mistake. As a comparison Ritchie would have finished fourth in the Menâ€™s race.
The age group victories went to Jemma Clarke (Under 14), Eilidh Ryan (Under 16), Cameron Manson (Under 18) and Nicole Ritchie (Under 21). No seniors finished and no Masters entered.
Picture: Nicole Ritchie on her way to winning the Slalom at Hillend in the Scottish Championships. Credit Racer Ready – all rights reserved
More pictures available to see on www.racer-ready.ifp3.com