It was always going to be a brave call holding a race just prior to the exam season starting back in the UK. The performance of Francesca Lee in the opening race as she managed to stay ahead of Ambition’s Ciorstaidh Struthers and her fellow JR Ski Racing teammate for the weekend, Shannon Potter gave the rest of the field plenty to think about down the Matt Thompson and Emily Evans set courses.
Landgraaf is a longer indoor slope than any of the set ups in the UK and as such it is afforded the honour of being able to host a BASS races rather than a BISS points race. With no races happening in Scotland last winter, many racers were left with no chance of qualifying for the British Championships after having hoped to qualify in Scottish races last winter. By promoting the Landgraaf races as giving the racers a chance to qualify for the British Championships (with its 400 Seed point qualification mark), racers could have made use of this opportunity. The Lowland races in September give them another opportunity.
The small field and great snow conditions, better than experienced at British Indoor venues, gave the racers that made the trip, a great opportunity for some fast racing. Lee set the pace and as one of the rising stars of the girls FIS scene, her dominance was perhaps expected. If other racers thought she would ease off a little, this was a misconception as Lee likes skiing fast and took the win over Struthers by just over a second over the two runs in the Open age group. Lee took the Under 21 age group win while Struthers took the Under 18 age group spoils.
Emily McLeish took the win in the Under 16 age group ahead of Ella Sullivan and Seren Lewis. All three came from different parts of the UK.
The Under 14 age group saw Anna Kamaly Asl win both runs with Emma Trust in second on both runs and Katherine Hart in third. With opportunities to score BASS points, only two of the racers entered actually had points going into the race and the vagaries of the seeding system meant that this stopped this from being a seeded race.
The afternoon saw a Pro Slalom and Lee again showed that she was the class act in the field as she posted the fastest time on both runs ahead of Struthers and Potter. Beth Whatford put in an improved performance to take fourth while Michelle Bacon (nee Stirk) came back to racing and gave some of the younger racers a wake up call to place fifth in the race overall in winning the Masters age group.
Pictures from the racing are on www.racerready.zenfolio.com