If the respect to Andrew Watson from the fourth round of the British Ski Academy sponsored GBR Series was huge, the way he destroyed the field in round five ramped the respect up even further. The demise of Gerard Flahive on the first run allowed Craig Speed into second with Josef Huppach taking third. Chris Corr and Toby Case rounded out the top five.
The final round of the series saw so many computations in terms of the final series rankings possible. Robert Holmes and Ollie Weeks were battling out for season long pride but when Weeks straddled the final gate on the first run, Holmes was home and dry. With a sixty point lead coming into the final race, Holmes could now relax and ski pressure free.
Watson again gave a master class in dry slope racing on run one to lead by almost 1.6 seconds from Craig Speed and Josef Huppach who were tied in second. Robert Holmes was in fourth, three hundredths ahead of Toby Case with British Under 16 Slalom Champion on snow, Ryan Bloom in fifth. Chris Corr, winner of the first round of the season back in sixth, 0.65 behind Case.
With Dave Eaves having set the first course, Robin Kellen produced the goods on the second run. With the top seven to go, it was Adam Bannister who lead but he was pushed out of the lead by a devastating run by Chris Corr. Corr attacked and eked out every hundredth he could. Corr was over two seconds faster than Bannister and his time was there to beat now.
Bloom was unable to get anywhere near Corr’s time and Case, while slower than Corr, went ahead of Bloom. The tempo was rising, the excitement was even higher.
With the series secured, Holmes was able to enjoy the final run of the dry slope series but a mistake put paid to his chances of challenging for a podium spot and he dropped into third behind Case. Corr was still in the lead. Three to go.
Huppach went faster than all but Corr on the second run to that point but had enough in reserve from the first run to take the lead. Speed has put his time in and listened to what his coaches have said over the last few seasons and is now able to power his way down course. Faster than Huppach and into the lead he went, could he hold on for a first GBR Series win? Just the small matter of Andrew Watson waiting in the start to go.
Watson was starting to enjoy the racing again he admitted after the race and had the watching crowd in awe. After five runs of racing (including the Pro Slalom that he also won), Watson had a decent time to chase in that set by Chris Corr. Watson did go faster but this time it was not by much, 0.19. If Corr could raise his game, others need to as well.
Watson won again with Speed edging out Huppach and Corr rising to fourth with Case taking fifth. This was all enough for Holmes, sixth, to grab the series win.
The age groups were won by Jack Upton (Under 14, 10th Overall); Josef Huppach (Under 16, 3rd Overall); Ryan Bloom (Under 18, 7th Overall); Craig Speed (Under 21, 2nd Overall); Andrew Watson (Senior, Race Winner) and Simon Bannister (Masters, 18th Overall).
Pictures from the racing are on www.racerready.zenfolio.com