Day three of the English Alpine Ski Championships saw 168 athletes tackle the FIS NJR Giant Slalom on the Stella Alpina race piste, with the Under 16 and Under 14 racers taking on the first of two Super G races of the Championships on the Stelvio piste.
In the FIS NJR Giant Slalom, Max Baggio showed why he is currently one of GB’s top alpine skiers, finishing clearly as the first Under 21 British racer, and second within the international field. Baggio had previously skied out in both Slalom races on Sunday and Monday. Just over a second behind Baggio was Ollie Davies who came off the back of two Championship wins in the NJR Slalom and Championship Slalom. Third place in the Under 21 category went to Paul Henderson, who led the British standings after the first run.
In the men’s Under 18 category, Fraser Middleton continued his thrilling form in the Championships, taking the win ahead of Nathan Breese who finished in the top three for the first time this week. In third place was the NJR Slalom winner Rory Farren, who was .31 of a second behind Breese after claiming his first ever national title on Monday.
Under 18 female Jess Anderson put in a storming performance to be the fastest Brit, clocking a quicker time than all the girls in both age groups. Behind her in second position for the Under 18 girls was Francesca Lee and in third was Freya Eaton, a carbon copy of yesterday’s Slalom results.
For the Under 21 girls, Nicole Ritchie, the winner of yesterday’s Slalom, took another victory, just fighting off the challenge of Ella Still. Sofia Inglia was just behind Still to take third, her first top-three finish of the Championships.
Max Baggio said: “My first run was a little bit scruffy at the top. The snow was a bit soft and the ski was going away from me a little bit, but the bottom of the pitch was quite good. And then the second run I attacked it a lot more and it flowed very well so I was happy with it. It was nice to finish as I skied out the first couple of days. It is a really happy feeling to do this well as there was a little bit of pressure to get through two runs. It came together today so I’m thrilled. Hopefully I can do something similar tomorrow and get an English title, but we’ll have to see how it goes. I’ll approach it the same way, attack it again, and hopefully it will go well.”
Fraser Middleton said: “It is three in a row but it certainly wasn’t easy! I struggled a bit today to be honest, the first run especially was nowhere near as good as I could have skied. That meant I started a lot further back in the second run and the conditions weren’t quite so good, so I was getting chucked about a bit. But I’m happy with how I approached that second run, as I wasn’t sat in a great position but moved into the leading position after that, but I know I can do a lot better tomorrow. I certainly I want to come out attacking tomorrow and ski better the first run so I can put two clean ones together.”
Jess Anderson said: “It’s really good. I didn’t really ski as well as I can in the first run so I was trying to do a bit better in the second one, and to have gone into first Brit as well was fantastic. I was scrubbing my ski quite a lot on the first run and not going direct enough, so I was losing time on each gate. I did much better in the second run. Hopefully I’ll be able to replicate it tomorrow. It’s quite a big piste and they are able to set a number of different types of courses, but whatever they throw at us I don’t mind really.”
Nicole Ritchie said: “Jess finished ahead of me overall but you can definitely never complain with a win in the under-21 category. First run was pretty good for me in the GS, as generally I am more confident in the slalom as a racer and I’ve been doing a lot of that. It’s good to have Jess pushing me. She’s younger and I definitely want to beat her, but she is a great skier.”
For the Under 16 and Under 14 racers, today was the first of two Super Gs taking place at the Championships. In preparation for tomorrow’s race where the Under 16 & Under 14 English Champions will be crowned, it was a chance for the young racers to get in some rare Super G racing.
The Under 16 boys race was a tight affair with all the competitors pushing their speed limits. Taking the victory was Glasgow Ski Racing’s Oscar Vinter who just nudged down the opening racer Thomas Hudson from British Ski Academy by less than .20 of a second. Third place went to Charlie Luke from DHO who was just .21 slower than Hudson.
For the Under 14 boys, Evolution’s Jack Cunningham notched up his second win of the Championships with an impressive Super G performance. He beat teammate Seamus O’Brien down into second and Ambition Racing’s Toby Case finished in third.
The girls Super G produced some exciting racing, with Under 14 racer Daisi Daniels from British Ski Academy not only winning her age category, but beating all the older girls as well. Behind Daisi in the Under 14 category was close rival Siena Horton from Ambition Racing who was more than a second behind Daniels. Third place went to Milly Cowell from British Ski Academy who put in a speedy run from bib 47 to surprise the crowd gathered at the bottom of the Stelvio piste.
In the girls Under 16 race, Sarah Woodward from Ambition Racing bettered her second place in Sunday’s GS with a win, beating second placed Alicja Krahelski from EDEP/Telford by just over a second. Hannah Boeffen-Gallagher from British Ski Academy was narrowly nudged down into third.
Quotes from the age-group winners:
Daisi Daniels said: “I am really excited I have won. It didn’t feel like I skied that well in my second and third run, but my first one was the best. I wasn’t sure if I could podium, but I am glad I did. I have already had two firsts this season at the Anglo-Scottish races, so it was good I could continue.”
Sarah Woodward said: “It was a good course and a good race. My first run was fastest and I felt I skied well, so I was happy. This is my fourth time at the English Champs. It is a really good event and really well organised. The first year I was here I won, so I am glad I am back on the podium.”
Jack Cunningham said: “Super G is my favourite discipline and this is the race that I have been looking forward to doing pretty well in. And it was a great run, although a little bit bumpy and a bit scary at times. It went really well today and I don’t think I will make any changes before tomorrow, just charge even harder. It is a good course and I just love Super G. I can’t wait.”
Owen Vinter said: “I was really pleased with my run. It was pretty clean on what was quite a tricky course. It was really good fun. I was hoping to finish on the podium today. The whole top 15 are all good competitors, so I am really glad to have taken the win. Tom (Hudson) is one of my close competitors so I knew it was going to be tight.”
The full results can be viewed on the English Alpine Championships website: www.englishalpinechamps.org.uk. All the action can be followed on Twitter @SnowsportEng / #AlpineChamps and the Snowsport England page on Facebook.