Aldershot’s Hannah Bozier and David Hatcher of Avon won the 2016 overall female and male British artificial ski championships in Pontypool, Wales. David Eaves and Robin Kellen set the courses for the British artificial race. Both courses were a good test if how the skiers would transition from the flat section to the steep part of the slope.
Just like the All England the week before, there were five female racers with a shout of winning the female overall. Aldershot duo Bozier and Jenny Davies, Nicole Shering from Snowtrax, Chatham’s Lauren Vale and Georgia Hallett of Gloucester all had the potential to win the British title.
The first run was a fast course with much of the pack tightly bunched together. Bozier had a 0.31 margin ahead of a tight pack of Shering, Davies, Vale and Hallett going into the next run. One mistake on the second run could easily shift the podium places.
The second course had more tight offsets on the steep section than the first. Hallett was the first contender to go down on the second run but overturned much of the course and came down with a time of 22.16, which gave her a combined time of 41.88. She was narrowly in the lead ahead of Cardiff skier Georgia Hyett.
Vale charged down the second run and was able to get a solid run of 21.18, which put her in the lead by over a second with a combined time of 40.86. An impressive run by the Chatham skier but was it enough to put her on the overall podium?
Up next was zero point skier Davies, she managed to negotiate the ridge smoothly but wasn’t carrying a lot of speed. She was the first girl to break into the 20-second bracket with a time of 20.86, which gave her a combined time of 40.49.
Shering had a similar run to Davies but showed more drive towards the bottom section of the course. The Snowtrax racer got a time of 20.73, which gave her a combined time of 40.24. Shering was currently in the lead by 0.21 seconds with one more racer to go!
Bozier with her narrow footed stance and clean tight line, glided through the second run with ease. The Aldershot racer furthered her lead with a margin 0.79 seconds as she crossed the finish line. She finished her run with a 20.25 and a combined time of 39.45 to take the overall British title ahead of Shering in second and Davies in third.
The male start list didn’t have as many contenders as the All England last week but it was still an exciting race! After the first run there was a tight fight for the podium places with Hatcher, Oliver Weeks, Christopher Corr and Gerard Flahive all within two tenths of second between each other. Hatcher was one hundredth ahead of Corr with Weeks in third and Flahive not far behind in fourth.
The second run had a fair few ski outs in the top 15. Craig Speed of Aldershot was in the lead with a combined time of 37.70. Flahive was the first of the top four to tackle the Welsh course. The Loughborough University skier was running late going over the ridge and couldn’t make the last few turns. His race was unfortunately over.
Straight after Flahive, was Midlands racer Weeks who had a fantastic second run charge. Great foot speed and smooth offset turns rewarded him with a combined time of 36.39. Weeks had a lead of over one second ahead of Speed with two more racers to go.
Pendle’s Corr was the next to go out the start gate. The senior category skier never holds anything back when he’s skiing, but unfortunately was over erratic on the last few turns and ended up skiing out of the course. Weeks was still in the lead with just Hatcher to go.
Hatcher used a combination of quick foot lifts on the top flat and some smooth turns on the steep section. He had a tight line going into the finish but was able to get an impressive combined time of 35.98. Hatcher had won the British title by 0.41 seconds ahead of Weeks in second place with Speed in third.
Two different courses saw some tight competition over both runs. It was a great spectacle for the last major dryslope race of the season. Let’s hope next year we’ll see more racers on the national circuit and the same enthusiasm on the slope!
Age Group winners:
U10 Amber Fennell (MID)
U12 Lauren Bloom (WCS)
U14 Ella Giles (MID)
U16 Lauren Vale (CHT)
U18 Nicole Shering (TSN)
U21 Hannah Bozier (ASR)
U10 Liam Atkinson (CHT)
U12 Ryan Bunton (HEM)
U14 Ed Lutterloch (ASR)
U16 Oliver Weeks (MID)
U18 Craig Speed (ASR)
U21 Callum Witts (PND)
SEN Peter Davies (ASR)
MAS David Hatcher (AVO)
Words – Peter Davies
Picture – Hannah Bozier, Credit Racer Ready – all rights reserved