Snowtrax’s Nicole Shering and Christopher Corr of Loughborough University took overall wins in the women and men’s overall in the Midlands Club National at Gloucester.
The race weekend in Gloucester was good preparation for the English outdoor championships in September with many top end racers attending. Pendle skier and coach Adam Lee took a break from racing to set the course for the day. The top of the course had reasonable offset turns at the top that flowed into a verticali and hairpin combination on the flat part of the slope. The challenging section was the wide offset turns combined with speed generated from the top that some racers struggled with.
The female race saw a very competitive battle between Lauren Vale, Jenny Davies and Nicole Shering. The trio have been trading places on the podium all year on the club national circuit. This race was no different!
Vale of Chatham was the first of the top 15 to attack the first run. She put down a time of 19.35 that was over a second faster than the rest of the field that had skied down previously. This lead was short lived though when Shering came down the course two racers after. The Snowtrax racer took the lead by 0.18 seconds with a time of 19.17.
Eva Pascoe and Jessica Mayhew both got into the 19-second bracket but weren’t close enough to challenge the top two before Davies came down. The Aldershot racer must’ve used course inspection wisely because she attacked and flowed through the first run with a time of 18.65. Davies had a gap of 0.52 going into the second run over Shering with Vale not too far behind.
Vale had a much smoother second run, which helped take off a huge chunk of time from her first run time. The Chatham racer was now only 0.09 seconds away from Davies. Shering was the next contender to come down on the second run but was unfortunately disqualified on the lower part of course despite hiking. Davies was unable to improve on her first run but put down the joint third fastest run of the day with a time of 19.17.
It was all to play for between the trio going into the third run. A ridiculous amount of rain drenched the female competitors. A few claps of thunder could be heard but luckily no lighting struck which meant the race could go on. In amongst the rain there was great confusion for Shering before her third run. The start list had stated the time she recorded on her disqualified run instead of her first run time which was her fastest. It was an administrative error by the race organisers that caused confusion going into the third run.
The Snowtrax racer was rightly upset and was told to go towards the start of the list on the last run. Despite being wrongly told that she was given a slow time Shering put down a fantastic third run time of 18.35. At that moment she wasn’t sure if it would matter to her chances of winning the race.
Once we finally got to the top end racers the rain was still going very strong. Vale showed maximum effort on the top half of the course but a combination of a late line and wet conditions meant she struggled to make a turn on the last few gates. This meant she had to hike back up the slope and finish towards the end of the results page.
Davies saw Vale hike up before her final run. At the time she admitted that she felt like she had a fair bit of time to spare because Shering on the official standings was given a time on a run she had to hike, plus she had just seen Vale do the same. The Aldershot racer still put down a reasonably fast run with a time of 18.93. For a second she thought that was plenty enough to take the win.
After the errors were corrected Shering had her first run rightfully reinstated and had a combined time of 37.56 – enough for the win. Shering beat Davies by 0.02 seconds on combined time with Pascoe of Torquay in third.
It was a tough race for the women not only because of the rain, but also by the unusual circumstances going into the last run.
There were thrills and spills in the men’s race too! There were 18 disqualifications and ski outs during the duration of the race.
Aldershot’s Adam Bannister was the first of the top 15 to break into the 17-second bracket with a time of 17.90. Bannister’s lead was short lived however because Christopher Corr was the next racer down. The Loughborough skier took the lead by 0.7 seconds with a time of 17.20. Mathew Martin of Manchester was straight after Corr, he was unable to beat Corr’s time but snuck into second place with a time of 17.70.
The top ranked racer of the day David Hatcher was up next and he didn’t disappoint. He flew down with his unique style and finished ahead of Corr after the first run with a time of 17.05.
The second run saw Bannister and Hatcher not improve their first run times and Christopher Corr skied out of the course after a wild crash. Martin was the only real contender that managed to improve on the second run with a time of 17.48. It didn’t change the positioning going into the third run.
Unlike the female race, the men were lucky enough to have basically no rain on the third run. Jack Danns, Dan Molloy and Callum Witts all broke into the 17 second bracket on the final run but their earlier run times meant they had to hope for big mistakes or ski outs to be on the podium.
Bannister took the lead on the third run ahead of Witts with a combined time of 35.53. Martin had a slightly slower final run but still managed to finish ahead of Bannister with a combined time of 34.98.
Corr managed put his second run mistake behind him with a blistering last run. A very aggressive approach with no mistakes got him a final run time of 16.70, giving him a combined time of 33.90.
Last racer to take on the third run was Hatcher of Avon ski club. His final run wasn’t enough to beat Corr, in fact it wasn’t even his fastest time of the day. He finished second with a combined time of 34.22.
Corr won the Midlands club national by 0.32 seconds ahead of Hatcher in second place with Martin in third. The top four all had completely different styles but each put pressure on each other to better their times on every run.
A tough course and tough conditions brought out some fantastic skiing by a lot of the field. Let’s hope the All England is as exciting.
Age group winners:
Daisy Putman TSN
Lewis Parton TEL
Lauren Bloom WCS
Ryan Bunton HEM
Emma Trust ASR
Jack Upton MID
Eva Pascoe TOQ
Oliver Weeks MID
Nicole Shering TSN
Adam Bannister ASR
Jenny Davies ASR
Callum Witts PND
Emily Goddard GLO
Christopher Corr LSU
Sarah Campbell-Woodward SRR
David Hatcher AVO