Nicole Shering defended her Welsh Open Title in Pontypool despite a strong challenge from Georgia Hallett. Trailing Hallett from the first run, Shering took the win ahead of Eva Pascoe with Isabel Evans in third place. Emma Trust and Eleanor Eaves rounded out the top five finishers.
With Emily Hopkins crashing out on the first run, Georgia Hallett set the pace ahead of Shering with these two comfortably ahead of the rest of the field. Pascoe and Evans were within touching distance of each other with Emma Trust starting to believe in herself and blasting her way into the top five two tenths ahead of Eaves. Lauren Bloom, another improving Under 14 racer then lead a group of four all closely bunched that included Ursula Harrison, Caitlin Lewington and Georgia Furlong.
With ten to go on the second run it was Sophie Faber that lead the field in the finish after an improved second run. Furlong then grabbed the lead before Lewington then went faster overall. Harrison then dropped into second place and then Bloom split her and Lewington with six to go.
Eleanor Eaves then posted a time good enough to take the overall lead but she was soon pushed down a spot by Trust. Trust had listened to advice before the first run to blast her way into the business end of the first run finishers and then followed this up with another good run to take the race lead at that point.
Isabel Evans knew that she would have her work cut out to usurp Pascoe from the overall podium but put in a run that put her almost two-seconds in the lead. Pascoe responded by going a hundredth faster to maintain her position and a guaranteed podium spot with just Shering and Hallett to go.
Shering was first down and sometimes it is easier being the hunter as you have nothing to lose. Shering wanted the win and posted a time one and a half seconds faster than Pascoe to lead by over two and a quarter seconds. The pressure was on Hallett to respond.
This was what the small crowd watching in the finish wanted to see. Quality racing from the racers at the top end of the field. How could Hallett respond?
In the end Hallett made a mistake approaching the ridge and her race was run and she skied out. Shering, Pascoe and Evans were on the podium and Hallett could only rue what might have been.
Shering skied well on the second run to take the win with a dominant second run that only Lauren Vale was able to get near. Sadly for Vale she was playing catch up after a mistake on the first run. The challenge between Pascoe and Evans was great to see but then the understanding of a young racer to raise their game by believing in their ability bodes well for their future.
The age groups were won by Emma Trust (Under 14, 4th Overall); Eva Pascoe (Under 16, 2nd Overall); Nicole Shering (Under 18, Race Winner); Caitlin Lewington (Under 21, 6th Overall) and Jenny Davies (Senior, 13th Overall).
Action pictures from the racing on www.racerready.zenfolio.com