Aldershot’s Jenny Davies and Snowtrax racer Nicole Shering couldn’t be split on combined time in the female race of the Irish Open Championship. In the male race Aldershot’s Craig Speed won his first ever overall dryslope championship. 

The sun was finally out on the Irish dryslope after torrential rain the day before. All the racers and parents were stocking up on free breakfast provided by the organisers before they hit the slope. This was a fantastic gesture that gave everybody a positive attitude to start the early morning.

Conor Columb set a tough technical course that relied on the racers having good clean turns on the steep section again. The stage was set for another tight competition in both the male and female races.

Ski club of Ireland racer Emer Pisarnik took the lead early on in the first run with a solid time of 15.89. The Irish racer was full of confidence after taking third overall the day before.

Chatham’s Lauren Vale charged out the start gate with a lot of aggression and had good amount of speed coming off the steep section of the course. She took the lead from Pisarnik with a time of 15.72.

Straight after Vale was Sarah Lambden of Manchester. The senior category racer took a tight risky line but was unable to get around the last combination of the course. Unfortunately for Lambden her race was over.

Not long after was Shering, who yet again used her aggression to gain speed on the steep section. One slight mistake was made on the middle of the course but she took the lead from Vale with a time of 15.59.

Aldershot’s Davies was feeling sore after her crash the day before but didn’t show it when she attacked her first run. Clean accurate turns mixed with a lot of pushing got her the fastest time of the day. She finished with a time of 15.55, only four hundredths of a second ahead of Shering with Vale in third. It was going to be a great showdown between Davies and Shering on the second run.

The second course was set Ronan Columb. There were hardly any offset turns and a lot of distances between the gates all the way down the slope. It was going to be a very fast course!

Pisarnik took the lead from Aldershot’s Isabel evans with a solid run time of 14.58. The Ski Club of Ireland racer got a combined time of 30.47 and was hoping to get on the overall podium for the second day running.

Vale was next to go down. The Chatham racer charged through the course with a lot of aggression and took the lead from Pisarnik again with a time of 14.36. Vale’s combined time was 30.08.

Shering was hoping for another second run charge going into her last run on the Irish course. The Snowtrax racer had a superb second run time of 14.22, giving her a combined time of 29.81. Was it going to be Shering’s second overall win of the weekend?

Davies was the last out the start gate for the female race. Both Shering and Davies’ style of skiing was different through the course but it wasn’t visibly obvious who would be quicker. Davies crossed the finish line with a time of 14.26, remarkably giving her the exact same winning combined time of 29.81.

Both Davies and Shering are very different skiers and were tested through completed different course, but still couldn’t be sperated by time. It was the tightest championship finish the season for sure!

In the male race, Midlands racer Oliver Weeks was the first of the top 15 to tackle the first run. The under 16 category racer managed to keep a tight line despite the offset turns on the middle section of the course and set a very fast time of 14. 26.

Pendle’s Callum Witts used his wide stance to his advantage on the wide offsets and drove through the finish to get a solid time of 14.62. Not enough to beat Weeks on the first run! Shortly after Avon’s David Hatcher charged through with a slightly better time than Witts with a 14.57, which put him second overall.

Last real challenger was Craig Speed of Aldershot who chose an aggressive but accurate line to get him a time of 14.48, putting him in second place. Weeks had a 0.22 second advantage ahead of Speed going into the second run, with Hatcher and Witts not too far behind.

Toby Case of Aldershot had set the fastest time so far in the second run. Despite being light he was very active through a straight course, giving him a time of 13.36 and combined time of 28.15.

Witts then threw himself down the steep section and carried good momentum for the rest for the course. He took the lead from Case with a time of 13.24, giving him a combined time of 27.86.

Hatcher was up next. He charged through most of the course but unfortunately couldn’t hold his balance on the last section of the course. He skied out the course but afterwards it was revealed he had broken his ski binding on the way down!

Penultimate racer Speed charged down the second course with a lot of aggression. The Aldershot racer didn’t get the fastest second run time with a 13.29, but it was enough to get the combined lead of 27.77 ahead of Witts.

Weeks was last up to go in the Irish Open championship. The Midlands racer was charging through the top section but lent on his inside ski a bit too much. He hit the ground hard and had to require first aid afterwards. This was an unfortunate end to his weekend.

This meant Speed won the Irish open overall ahead of Witts, with Case in third place. The top two were separated by nine hundredths of a second!

There was some nail biting racing throughout the weekend, which was a great spectacle to watch. Yet again the Ski club of Ireland put on a fantastic event, which will definitely be supported well in future years!

Group winners: 

Female:

U10 Amber Fennell (MID)

U12 Abigail Putman (TSN)

U14 Emma Trust (ASR)

U16 Lauren Vale (CHT)

U18 Nicole Shering (TSN)

U21 Jenny Davies (ASR)

Male:

U10 Ryan Faber (TSN)

U12 Elliot Stocks (PND)

U14 Joseph Thompson (NOR)

U16 Toby Case (ASR)

U18 Craig Speed (ASR)

U21 Callum Witts (PND)

SEN Daniel Molloy (NOR)

MAS Benjamin Clark (BRO)

Words – Peter Davies; Picture John Lewington