Both zero point skiers, David Hatcher and Jenny Davies, finished top of the overall standings at the Snowsport Wales Champery slalom in Pembrey.
It was the first time many of the skiers had ever skied the Pembrey slope and judging from the feedback on social media it won’t be the last time.
Pembrey has a relatively steep start ramp and three rollers to contest with but the short length meant that there was no room for error. It was the first official race of the 2016 dryslope calendar so everybody wanted to lay down a good marker to start off the season.
In the first run of female race, All England Champion Davies was the first of the top 15 to tackle the Welsh course. The Aldershot skier managed to headbutt one of the double gates but still couldn’t be beaten by any of her female competitors. Emily Goddard was 0.19 seconds behind in second place with Bella Hathway not in third place with 0.2 seconds to catch up.
In the male race, Hatcher with his unique style beat second place skier Craig Speed from Aldershot by 0.34 seconds after the first run. Speed however was probably more focused on beating his teammate Adam Bannister, who was hot on his heels with only 0.02 seconds between them both.
The second course had two diagonal combinations going through the rollers, which meant the course times were much slower on the second run. Goddard unfortunately straddled the first combination meaning she couldn’t claim an overall podium after the second run.
Davies had a much cleaner second run which meant she furthered her lead over Hathway with a 0.38 second deficit. Lucy Deller of Midlands ski club moved up on to the third place podium after Goddard’s mistake but was 0.67 seconds behind the leading time.
Both Speed and Bannister had slower second runs but still managed to hold their second and third place podiums respectively. Hatcher however showed his power and experience when he furthered his gap to a 1.23 second lead. Both zero point skiers picked up their form from last year to win the first national of the season.
The U10/U12 skiers had a completely different stubby course from the older racer’s full gate course. The format was also different with the best-of-two runs. In the girl race Kitty-Jay Caldwell won the under 10s competition and Jolie Hoffman-Little won the under 12 category. In the boy race John Erskine won the U10 competition and Charlie Deem won the U12 category.
After the individual race there was a team parallel slalom event. After many group stages and knockout races Midlands took top honours by beating Aldershot B in the final, while Aldershot A took third place.
Although the race entry wasn’t big the quality of skiing was still encouraging. The bright sunshine and amazing views definitely added to the friendly atmosphere. Let’s hope this carries on for the rest of the national season!
Results – 16pembcnres2
Picture credit – Peter Davies – Pembury slope