The now familiar curtain call for the summer indoor racing season saw our racers head one last time towards Manchester, with Chill Factore playing host to the BARSC Indoor Championships. With a standard two run slalom race on the Saturday combining with the innovative and popular Team Pro Slalom event on the Sunday, BARSC appear to have hit a sweet note with racers and clubs alike. …

In Saturday’s slalom Amanda Alldridge and Jordan Fellows stamped an immediate authority on proceedings, both setting their respective first run pace and establishing leads they never looked likely to relinquish. Alldridge’s killer first run gave her a half second lead over home racer Sophie Ogden with Alex Lillywhite and Maxine Hancock a further 0.6 back.

The male first run was slightly closer with Fellows doing enough to open up a 0.2 lead over Declan Huppach with Oliver Farr a further tenth back in 3rd and Brandon Matthews and Matthew Martin in 4th & 5th.

In the ladies 2nd run Charlotte Tapsell was first of the top 5 to go and her clean run laid down a challenge for those ahead of her. Maxine Hancock followed and whilst not quite hitting the heights of run 1 it was still good enough to give Hancock the lead. Alex Lillywhite was next and the 3rd placed racer after run 1 produced a fine effort to open a gap between her and Hancock to take provisional lead. Next was the ever reliable Sophie Ogden and the MSR racer again found a run that put fresh air between herself and the previous leader and present Alldridge with the time to beat.

All summer Alldridge has been the racer to beat amongst the ladies and the SMK athlete again proved her mettle, producing a stunning 2nd run to give her an aggregate time that would’ve placed her in the top five of the men’s race. No mean feat.

In the male’s 2nd run Matt Martin put together a far cleaner run than his first and challenged those in front of him with a time to follow. Brandon Matthews went close but one error scrubbed speed and his challenge was to end behind Martin. Next up was Ollie Farr and the PPS racer put together a clean run 0.06 quicker than Martin to snatch the lead. Huppach, the youngest racer in the top half dozen then beautifully eclipsed Farr’s time with a clean & powerful run to take the lead and lay down the gauntlet to Fellows.

Exams and dental work have frustratingly limited Fellows to just two outings this summer but he will look towards his winter season in good shape and this was a pretty good place to kick it off. In reacting to the challenge, Fellows produced a fine run that cut another quarter second out of Huppach’s leading time to take the win.

The U10 & U12 events were hotly contested as usual with Grace Black taking the U12 girls race ahead of Holly McGregor-Ogden & Mya Walton and Jack Upton squeezing out Harry Cosham and Oliver Pollitt in the U12 boys. Lauren Cooper and Kayne Stanway claimed wins in the U10s.

The Sunday team event again proved highly popular with a number of teams submitting pretty impressive line ups. It was also great to see Stoke Ski Racing provide a team of old faces for their final hurrah. The all inclusive individual & team pro-slalom format facilitated the chance for the youngest and oldest racers to mix it amid fast courses and a testing jump half way down. Who had the bottle? Who had the technique? Who was going to prevail?

On paper there appeared little to chose between SMK, Ambition A, BSA & MSR 2 and the opening brace of individual qualifying runs proved that very much to be the case. This was going to be a proper team battle.

Seeded 1, 2, 3 & 4 for the duals, the semi finals had an air of inevitability about them and whilst many of the younger less experienced teams gave it a good go the big four were still standing at the semi final stage. In SF1 SMK proved too strong for MSR2’s challenge. Semi 2 was an altogether different matter however as the two snow clubs battled it out gate by gate, racer by racer, leaving virtually nothing between Brad Morgan & Rob Bullen’s start beeps. Morgan stole an early quarter gate lead and then two of them then raced the length of the Manchester slope at full tilt – no quarter given, no quarter asked. In the end Morgan just held on to his lead to set up a SMK v BSA final.

The best of three final was dominated by errors as both teams provided their opponents with wins via false starts leaving a one race shoot out for the win. Again, this produced another humdinger of a race with an early BSA lead being overturned and SMK hanging on for a deserved half gate victory. In the minor place race off MSR2 defeated Ambition A to take 3rd.

A weekend that offers racers more than the standard indoor fayre, both in terms of ski time, course challenges and disciplines – the BARSC Indoor Championships looks an integral part of summers ahead. Same time, same place next year? Yes please.