Nicole Ritchie followed up her win in the Fir Park Twin Peaks opener with a commanding victory in the Hillend women’s race. While Ritchie was destroying the field by over four seconds, Scott Waitt took the win in the Men’s race with two solid runs to finish ahead of Andrew Greenshields and Scott Wylie. Carla Gardiner and Rachel Brown joined Ritchie on the Overall podium for the women.
Hillend was bathed in sun for the afternoon race and with the bairns and lassies racing down the alternative slope, the Hillend leg of the Twin Peaks race ran very smoothly. Ritchie took a commanding lead from the first run ahead of Eilidh Ryan with Carla Gardiner taking third ahead of Rachel Brown and Victoria McKinlay. Ritchie, Ryan and Gardiner were the class acts in the field and the rest of the field knew they had to step up to the mark if they were to be noticed.
While Ryan attacked the second run knowing the Gardiner was already safely in the finish, a small error on the steep wall saw her lose her line and her chance was gone. Brown now had a place on the podium having extended her lead over McKinlay. If Gardiner had aspirations of winning the race, Ritchie destroyed them with a blistering second run that saw her extend her already commanding lead by a further second and a half.
The Men’s race saw a new generation of racers look to add their name to the list of winners. Owen Vinter put in a quality first run that saw him take the lead ahead of older racers. Vinter has posted impressive times all winter and did not look like letting up his determination to win. Great racers are always looking to get better and better and Vinter was on the edge as he came down the wall half way down the run when he was just that little bit over the line and crashed out. Success comes from fine margins and this was one of those times it did not happen for Vinter.
Vinter’s crash should not take away from the performance of Scott Waitt. Four racers were close together after the first run yet it was Waitt who stepped up and put his marker down to win the race ahead of Andrew Greenshields with Scott Wylie taking third. Wylie put in a strong second run to push Ross Nesbitt down to fourth and Adam Lee posted the second fastest second run time to grab fifth place.
Hillend produced its thrills and spills yet the experience gained by all the racers will stand then in good stead.
With the Bairns and Lassies racing down their own course, Claudia Ritchie took a comfortable win in the Under 10 Lassies race ahead of Kira Langmuir and Emilia Dempster. Sophie Anderson took the win the in Under 12 age group, pushing Lucy Keir down to second after Keir had taken the fastest time on the first run. Madison Spence took third.
Oscar Saddler won the Under 10’s Bairn’s race getting quicker on each of the three runs. Adam Howat held on to take second and withstood the challenge of Luca Anderson who battled into third. Lewis Calder put in two fast runs and was then able to see what the rest of the field could do. Lewis McKey took second ahead of Daniel Leitch.
Age groups wins went to: Girls: Holly McKey (Under 14, 6th Overall), Jemma Clarke (Under 16, 5th Overall), Rachel Brown (Under 18, 3rd Overall), Holly Heatley (Under 21) and Nicole Ritchie (Senior, Race Winner).
Boys: Robbie Anderson (Under 14, 10th Overall), Scott Wylie (Under 16, 3rd Overall), Scott Waitt (Under 18, Overall Winner), Andrew Crook (Under 21), Adam Lee (Senior, 5th Overall) and Duncan Shepherd (Masters).
Main picture: Nicole Ritchie, winner of both races over the Twin Peaks weekend including beating all the guys at Hillend.
Action shots: www.racer-ready.ifp3.com