Time to stand up and be counted … if you are racing on plastic!

It is that time of the year again when the English Dry Slope racers look to stamp their name on the one trophy that still draws attention: It is All England weekend. This year the race makes the pilgrimage to Sunderland and the Silksworth Slope. … 

With race entries for this race that used to attract over 200 entries, it is sad to see that at the time of writing less than 100 racers in the Men’s and Women’s races IN TOTAL have entered. Twenty one Under 12 and 10 racers are also on the start list.

Why has this once proud and appealing race failed to attract the numbers? Is this a sign of the times? Should the race return to its historical locations in the south and east of England? Is dry slope racing fading away? Being a week earlier than usual, has this affected the entry? Has the dry slope scene lost its appeal? These are all questions that need to be looked at by those running the sport at this level as a matter of urgency.

It is sad to see that the defending Champion from the Men’s race in 2014, Tom Hales will not be there to defend his title yet the Loughborough Students of Gerard Flahive and James Grant promise to bring a challenge for the Overall. David Hatcher and his unique style took the GBR Overall Title this summer and he will be one to watch in more ways than one. Kaigan Witts took second in the GBR Series and will be looking to push for a maiden win at this National Championship level. Alex Jeal took third in the GBR but is one of the many names missing from the entry list.

Harry Hornsby will be many racers favourite while watch out also for Declan Huppach to spring a surprise in the small field of just 52 racers (at the time of writing). Despite only doing one GBR race, Chris Corr enters the race with the lowest seed points.

In the Girls race, Georgia Hallett will start as favourite after winning the GBR Outdoor Title this summer. Hallett won two of the five races and was second in two more. With Jenny Davies and Annie User, second and third overall in the GBR Outdoor Series, these three will be the focus of attention. Sarah Lamden, however, cannot be left out as on her day she is one of the most devastating dry slope racers in the UK. Nicole Shering, fourth Overall in the GBR series could also be the one to spring a surprise. Like in the men, Emily Evans will not be there to defend her title.

Last time the All England was held in Sunderland Jayme Baggio (sister of current British Overall Champion, Max Baggio) won with Emily Goddard in seventh. Sarah Lambden finished 22nd, Jenny Davis 44th. One racer, who finished in 48th has since gone on to win World Championship medals in Telemark – Jasmin Taylor! That year, 2007, 75 girls alone went to the start!

In the Mens race from 2007, Benn Hall won from local racer Craig Ruddick and Andy Roose took third. Matt Bruton fought his way to fourth from a start of 26 ahead of Bradley Morgan, now a professional road cyclist! In fifth place, starting all the way back at bib number 135, yes the first man to start the men’s race that year was Tristan Glasse-Davis, ex GB Team and now coach to Dave Ryding!

There is a saying that you can only beat who is in the race with you. Those that walk off with the All England Titles in 2015 in Sunderland will be able to look back at the list of names on the trophy and will join history.

There are some racers who have gone on to big things including the World Cup and Olympics on the trophy. Dry Slope racing is still a part of the route to the bigger and better things and for some the plastic racing scene may be as far as their budget, dreams or desire goes. The winners, they will be able to say though that they joined the list of All England Winners.

Saturday will see who joins the likes of Dave Ryding (2010 & 2014 Olympian and All England winner in 2004 for the last time), Marc Telling (Boss of Ambition Racing and winner in 2006), Jo Ryding (Boss of JR Racing and winner of the Girls race in 2005) on the trophy.

With big prizes from Dynastar Look Lange up for grabs, will there be a rush of late entries? (Rumour has that there have been!)

Entry list for 2015

Picture: Can Jenny Davies join the list of past winners at the All England? Credit Racer Ready – all rights reserved

Pictures from the races will be available on www.racer-ready.ifp3.com