Wise adds English Indoor Title to his growing array of victories

For any keen ski or snowboard cross rider the English and British Indoor Championships are one of the few opportunities for riders to race against each other on a snow track without going overseas. Along with Aberdeen Snowsports Club’s successful Scottish SBX Champs in Glenshee, there are other small more laid back competitions popping up which is good and dry slopes such as Norfolk Snowsports Club are starting to have regular coached cross style sessions, even building there own features for it. … With new discipline specific clubs Cross Snowsports based in Chill Factore (Manchester) run by Simon Nicholson and Ed Drake’s Ski X Performance Centre based in The Snow Centre (Hemel) there is clearly an appetite for the sports, things are on the up.

Having been one of many riders in recent years having to find snowboard cross by jumping into the deep end and going straight to Europe to race on the FIS circuit, it’s great to see these clubs starting up and progressing the grassroots of the sport. So please everyone keep it up, so the next generation can get started now rather than having to come up against the challenging European environment, where you have to learn things the hard way. Maybe we’ll get a FIS race of our own soon and help bridge this gap. Maybe something for Aberdeen Snowsports Club to have in the pipeline?

Anyway, thank you to everyone who helped organise the English Ski and Snowboard Cross championships at Chill Factore, it was a great event with the best course to date. Simon Nicholson from Cross Snowsports had stayed up all night with his shaping team putting together a technical course built for racing.  The start section had a big wu-tang at the start, it was whippy with a steep drop on the backside, proving to be the most technical feature on the course, challenging many riders. It was followed by two rollers, into a right bank, followed by a left bank. After the left bank their was a small table/roller followed by a right bank. This then led into a left GS turn followed by the open twisty bottom of the course. Riders were able to pick up speed and after a small step down their was another GS turn followed by a small jump and another two GS turns to the finish. Thanks to the open nature of the course there was plenty of overtakes and good racing.

After a long practice (big thumbs up!) where many riders got in 3 or 4 runs in, or more for some of the sneaky ones we had qualifying. Each rider had 2 attempts to put in their fastest time, from what I gathered many skiers put down a faster time in their second run but for snowboarders it was slightly slower. I personally got 14.2 seconds on my first run and 14.29 in my second run coming 1st in the Open Men’s, conditions were sticky so I was thankful I put DataWax’s Graphite Race wax on my Volkl Snowboards Coal Race Board. Bradley Gaulter was the next fastest in the Under 20’s Men with 15.95s and Joe Cockrell third fastest with 16.3s. My next nearest competitor in the open category was Paul Moralee with 16.36s and adaptive rider Benjamin Moore with 16.5s, very impressive stuff!

With all girl riders stepping up to the open and giving up their opportunity to win their own age categories Anna Richardson qualified first with 16.59s chicking many of the male riders, followed by Gillian Finnerty and Jade Walsh. Young (and tiny) Mia Brookes qualifying 4th.

In the skiing reigning champion Emma Peters qualified 1st in the Open Women with 13.78s and Will Wheeler qualified 1st in the Open Men’s with 13.08s.

The full qualifying results can be seen here

After a short break where many could catch up and have some lunch, the racing begun. It was an intense affair and everyone seemed to be having a great time, particularly the Masters, who absolutely love it! With fewer than 8 riders in some age categories some of the highest ranked riders would get buys, including me, which was great! From watching at the top, the Men’s ski open was one of the most exciting categories, with riders such as Luke Feneley (Norfolk boy!) and Richard Goldsworthy dispatching their higher ranked rivals with some great racing.

Likewise in the Men’s Snowboard open Lewis McDowall won his heat with 3rd place qualifying Ben Moore and in the Masters Board men Stuart Moore went all the way through his races to take the win beating higher ranked riders!

In the final 8 heats for my category, my friend and former British Snowboard Cross Team rider Myles McNeany had won in his heat to face me in the semi-finals. Out of the gate we went over the wu-tang and I could hear Myles had fallen over, I carried on and my keen ears could hear Ian Findlay the commentator, calling out Myles had done so, leaving me with an easy victory. Paul Moralee had beaten Lewis McDowall to set up a finale against me, reminiscent of the Scottish SBX Championships in Glenshee. Paul has done really well since starting out with boardercross recently and is looking to have his first season on the FIS tour next season.

In the Men’s under 14 board Ethan Smith was dominating, riding fast, smooth and in control, followed in pursuit by Kyle O-Neill and Nate Hopkinson. Ethan went on to win the final, with Nate 2nd and Kyle 3rd. Koby Cook took the under 12 men’s board and in the men’s under 20 Bradley Gaulter and Joe Cockrell had won their heats against Mikey Searing and Liam Kempton-Robshaw respectively in exciting races to set up yet another battle between the two. These two have raced and pushed each other for a number of years, but this time it was Bradely who won the final, with Joe making a mistake on the wu-tang.

Gillian Finnerty took a great win in a tight race with Anna Richardson in the Women’s open board, with Anna making a huge overtake into the inside of the 2nd bank but washing out afterwards quite spectacularly. Mia Brookes took a well deserved 3rd. 

In the Men’s Open board small final Myles McNeany took the win for 3rd in front of Lewis McDowall before the final with me and Paul. We both got good starts getting over the first wu-tang well, having the inside line I took it and made my way down the course, Paul was close at the start but then I stopped hearing his board as I got away in the middle of the course. I crossed the line and won the title for the third time in a row.

Emma Peters went on to win her third title too in the Women’s Ski open and Laurence Willows took the Men’s.

Again a full list of results can be found here: 

Pictures of the winners can be found here from Cross Snowsports. Please send in any pictures and videos you may have of the event.

Prize giving was hosted by Snowsports England and commentator Ian Findlay and Simon Nicholson, crowning the new champions and runners up. With many embarrassing parents it was a lighthearted affair and it’s great to see everyone having a great day, riders, parents, spectators and most importantly volunteers. Thanks for everyone who helped put together the event and everyone for racing hard. Cross racing is fun and I look forward to more fun events in future! The British Indoor Championships will be the next on the 30th August at Chill Factore, look forward to seeing everyone there!English SBX Champion - Kyle Wise

There was a farewell from Chris David of Chill Factore who has been helping putting on these events over the years along with his responsibilities with running the centre, a huge thanks for his support and enthusiasm towards the sport, we wish him all the best.

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Thanks to my sponsors; Skiers Trust of Great Britain, Volkl Snowboards, Snowfit, my Travel Cash, CALA Homes, DataWax and Surefoot.