Nicole Ritchie and Owen Vinter produced two performances that showed the rest of the field what is required to be at the top of the game at Fir Park for the opening race of the Twin Peaks weekend. With both racers members of the Delancey British Alpine Ski Team, Ritchie took the spoils in the girls race while Vinter produced the performance of the day to win the men’s race. Eilidh Ryan and Victoria McKinlay joined Ritchie on the girls overall podium while just held on for the win from Adam Lee with Scott Wylie in third.
The Twin Peaks is one of the highlights of the Scottish racing calendar due to its great atmosphere and the two contrasting slopes it uses. The opening race at Fir Park, in Tillicoutry, is a shorter slope but still gives the racers enough to think about. For the first time in ten years, the Men’s Trophy would have a new surname on it this year as neither Callum Henderson nor his recently retired from the British Team brother, Paul, were racing.
Ritchie was the top girl in the field and while Eilidh Ryan and the rest of the field knew they would have to raise their game to challenge Ritchie. When Ritchie has her race face on, she can produce formidable runs. Transferring this scenario to snow races is her next challenge. Being the hunted is never easy, while being the hunter gives you something to go for. Ritchie gamely took the challenge of going for the fastest time of the day, male or female, on the second run.
Eilidh Ryan put in two strong performances to be best of the rest just edging out Victoria McKinlay on the first run by four hundredths of a second. The two racers posted the exact same time on the second to give Ryan the runners up spot Overall. Rachel Brown and Jenna Clark took fourth and fifth overall.
Vinter, an Under 16 racer compared to Ritchie being an Under 21 racer, posted the fastest first run time ahead of Scott Wylie with Adam Lee in third. Lee was the only racer to head up from south of the border to gain more experience of racing at Hillend yet used his power to post the fastest second run time as Vinter just tipped over the edge of being on the edge. Wylie dropped down to third with Ross Nesbitt getting the better of his older brother to take fourth, Kieran taking fifth.
Vinter is one of the most promising young racers coming through the system at the moment. His strong technique combined with his strength as he is growing means he is definitely one to watch both indoors and on the matting.
The girls age groups were won by Fiona Wylie (Under 14, sixth overall), Jemma Clark (Under 16, fifth overall), Eilidh Ryan (Under 18, second Overall) and Nicole Ritchie (Under 21, race winner).
The boys age groups were won by Robbie Anderson (Under 14, tenth overall), Owen Vinter (Under 16, Race Winner), Kieran Nesbitt (Under 18, fifth overall), Andrew Crook (Under 21) and Duncan Shepherd (Masters).
Sophie Anderson posted the fastest time on both runs for the victory in the Lassies race (Under 10 & Under 12) with Lauren Rae taking second and Madison Spence third, all three being Under 12’s. In the Under 10 race Claudia Ritchie and Christina Dow both posted their fastest times on the first run to take the top two places in the Under 10’s race (4th and 5th Overall) with Kira Langmuir taking third in the younger age group.
Gordon Wylie withstood a second run charge from Ferdinand Queisser to win the Under 12 boys age group with Nathan Smith taking third. Oscar Saddler took the win in the younger age group ahead of Adam Howat and Luca Anderson.
Pictures from the races will be on www.racer-ready.ifp3.com
Main Picture – Owen Vinter on his way to winning the Fir Park race