When the lure of winning a race is still strong, ability can shine through and this was evident as Emily Evans showed those thinking they were good enough, that she still has what it takes to win the All England title. Evans was fastest on the first run to set her up for the race win the race ahead of Francesca Lee and Ella Giles with Megan Skipper and Georgia Hallett rounding out the top five finishers overall.
The All England has over the years attracted good fields. Some years entries have been less but this year the field was strong with some of the best dry slope racers in the country looking to capture the All England title.
Evans held a commanding lead on the first run but the talk of the race was more on how the challenge from the leading dry slope racer of the BSA sponsored GBR Series, Nicole Shering had crashed out on the first run. A straddle approaching the finish had seen Shering’s challenge finish and with the likes of Hallett and Jenny Davies, both past winners of major races, off the pace, Francesca Lee of the BSA was best ofthe rest, three quarters of a second back.
The first run course, set by Simon Bannister, had caused a number of the early racers to struggle with its combinations and the need to turn and have quick feet. This was a quality Championship course.
The second run saw a promising first run by Rebecca Vernon backed up for a strong top seven finish but it was Millie Jackson who stormed the second run to jump into sixth with the fourth fastest second run time. Pete Cutler from Peak Performance Racing set the second run and while it was different from the first run, it too gave the racers much to think about.
Francesca Lee was not overly happy with having such a large gap to Evans after the first run and was determined to make Evans work for the win and eked out a three quarters of second advantage ahead of Ella Giles to grab the lead. Evans was having none of this and showed that while she has spent most of the summer coaching with her Precision Race Team, she has lost little of her competitive instinct to take the overall win.
Nicole Shering recognised after the race that there is still plenty of work to be done before she can win one of the few titles to elude her short career to date. It was great to see Evans come back to challenge the young stars of the dry slope scene and maybe this can encourage more of older racers to put the skis back on and see how they would fare. It is understood that at least one other ex racer was tempted to race but a lack of training time meant it was not feasible. Hopefully next years her fears will not be hindered.
Such was Evans’s dominance in the race she forced the penalty down to a zero penalty! Had Shering and Lauren Vale, fastest on the second run, both managed to put two runs together to battle it out, this could have been one of the most intriguing All England races in years. It is all about the combined time.
The age group wins went to Charlotte Holmes (Under 14, 10th overall); Ella Giles (Under 16, 3rd Overall); Megan Skipper (Under 18, 4th Overall); Francesca Lee (Under 21, 2nd Overall), Emily Evans (Senior, Race Winner) and Melissa Sampson (Masters)