Snowsport South A beat Eastern region (ERSA) in the final of the Inter Regional Dual Slalom Championship. It was the first time in the region’s history that they’ve won the competition.
Teams from South West (SWSA), North West (NWSF), Central (CESA), Eastern (ERSA), South and Wales all competed in the dual slalom competition at Stoke. The competition started with a group stage that consisted of two groups of six teams. Each team had seven competitors. The way the teams were drawn in the group stage meant that there were four A teams competing in one half of the draw.
The dual slalom course had a very tight mid section that saw some spectacular recoveries throughout the day. As the day went on false starts and ski outs would take their toll on a good few results. In League A SWSA, NWSF B, NWSF C and Wales all qualified for the knock out stages.
In league B both NWSF and ERSA qualified comfortably for the next stage but CESA A, Snowsport South A and Snowsport South B were tied for the last qualification spots.
Before the knockout run each team had to do a timed run. The top two times would qualify for the next stage. First up was Snowsport South A who recorded a quick time of 01:18.91. CESA A narrowly missed out beating Snowsport South A’s time with a 01.19.33. So last to go down were Snowsport South B but their efforts weren’t enough to qualify with a 01:21.66. That meant Snowsport South A and CESA A would go through.
The first quarterfinal was between SWSA and CESA A. Despite topping league A SWSA couldn’t stand the pace of CESA A, who won by gate or two to spare.
ERSA who had skied constantly throughout the group stage beat NWSF C by a good margin to go through to the semi final against CESA A.
Snowsport South, who needed a timed playoff to qualify, comfortably beat NWSF B to reach the semi final.
The big upset of the day though came up when Wales faced NWSF A. NWSF A had the likes of Declan Huppac, Callum Witts and Mikey Knowles within their team. Unfortunately for them their second competitor Matt Martin false started on the change over, giving Wales a win and a place in the semi final against Snowsport South A.
ERSA’s constancy of not making major mistakes paid off again as CESA A had straddled one their gates meaning they were disqualified. Putting ERSA into the final.
Snowsport South had put their hiccups from the group stage behind them when they beat Wales comfortably to advance to the final.
The third fourth playoff was between CESA A and Wales. Wales had a young team but kept CESA A fairly honest throughout the race, which meant a mistake, could be costly. CESA unfortunately failed at the bitter end, as last skier to go down Mark Hawkins fell over at the top of the slope. This meant Wales had taken a surprise third place in the competition.
The final was a best-of-three race between ERSA and Snowsport South A. ERSA had taken the lead by a couple of gates through Dan Molloy and Logan Sewell. Snowsport South fought back when Adam Bannister closed the gap to half a gate. Fourth racer to come down Jenny Davies then gave Snowsport South a gate lead. Harri Evans and Harvey Charlton then extended Snowsport South’s lead to two gates, which meant Craig Speed could bring the run home comfortably. 1-0 to Snowsport South.
The next leg would be crucial for ERSA. The second leg was an anti climax though because second racer Logan Sewell false started by a big margin that meant Snowsport South were given the win and the championship.
It was an unexpected win for Snowsport South as the average age of their team was only 16 years. False starts and ski outs played a huge factor over seven racers in each team. Another great event held by Stoke. Next up is the international duals in Pontypool.
By Peter Davies
Picture Wynn Price