Welshman Tom Hales deprived the English of their own National Title with an impressive display of dry slope ski racing with the fastest time on both runs to win the All England Title at Norfolk Ski Centre. Chris Corr came from fifth after the first run to beatÂ … David Hatcher into second after the second run. Gerard Flahive dropped from third to fourth with the rise of Corr and Michael Molloy, the defending Champion took fifth place.
For the first time in the last ten years, less than a hundred men took to the start yet while the depth of field may not have been great the standard at the top of the field meant that the winner could have come from any one of about eight racers. Much of the pre race talk was how Michael Molloy would fare now that his training time had been limited due to work commitments. Then there were those thinking that Harry Hornsby would be up in the mix. With no Andrew ‘Smiley’ Watson in the field due to work commitments, Tom Hales was also strongly fancied. The Loughborough contingent of Flahive and Corr were strongly fancied for the win as well.
Hales has always been there or there abouts in the last few years. This was his day. While the first run leaderboard was getting extremely congested and tight, Hales posted a time that put clear air between him and the rest of the field. Not as dominant as Emily Evans in the Women’s race but when places were being decided after the first run by hundredths, Hales was almost a quarter of a second ahead of his fellow Welshman, David Hatcher. Within a tenth of a second, Hatcher was trailed by Harry Hornsby, Gerrad Flahive and Chris Corr. It was shaping up to be one of the great second run races to decide the All England Championship.
By the time Chris Corr entered the start gate, the lead was held by the defending Champion, Michael Molloy. Not quite in his imperious form of last year, Molloy had put down a steady run to take the lead. Would it be enough? Time would tell. Young and rising hopefull Callum Witts had posted a faster second run time but was slower on the combined time.
Corr blasted out of the second run and showed determination, aggression and the desire to take as many risks as he could to get to the bottom of the course in the quickest possible time. The 12 hundredth advantage he held over Molloy was extended at the bottom by a further three tenths of a second.
Next up was Flahive. Gerard Flahive has one of the most dynamic starts and while you do not win a race at the start, you can lose it. Flahive did all he could do to keep his place but the run that Corr had completed was too fast for his fellow student and Flahive had to be happy with second at the time.
Harry Hornsby has been one of the most consistent racers over the last few years and with this, his power, speed and consistency have brought him a number of wins. At the head of the three man train split by a hundredths between each, Hornsby had seen Corr power down and Flahive chase him and so the pressure was on. Sadly for Hornsby it was not to be his day and the fine line between trying too hard saw him drop valuable time and his challenge was over.
David Hatcher’s unique style always grabs the attention of the watching crowd. This race was no different. From the moment he left the start and with legs and arms fighting to drag his body down the slope in the fastest time, Hatcher was giving it his all. While it may not be to the liking of coaches, Hatcher gets his body down the hill fast but on this occasion not quite fast enough to better the combined time set by Corr.
While Chris Corr could congratulate him on being the best of the English and thus the All England Champion no matter what Tom Hales did, it was all about the race win and winning was what both Hales and Corr wanted to do. Hales was at the top, Corr at the bottom. Hales relaxed, sat back, composed himself and then just like in the first run, skied smooth, fast and risked his all down the Richard Lambden set course.
The clock showed the fastest second run time and with it Overall victory for the man from Cardiff.
There were age group wins for Aaron Troung (under 14), Declan Huppach (under 16), Callum Witts (under 18), Chris Corr (under 21), Tom Hales (Senior) and Mark Hawkins (Masters).
Picture: Tom Hales on his way to victory in the All England Championship. Picture: Racer Ready – all rights reserved
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