Sarah Woodward, part of the hugely successful Ambition racing programme, took the best English and British result as she finished just one hundredth off the podium in the opening race of the English Championships in Bormio. The race was won by Claire Tan of the Netherlands with Ilaria Ghisalberti and Marika Mascherona, both from Italy taking the other spots on the podium. Abi Bruce and Honor Clissold were second and third among the British racers.
The English Championship Junior Giant Slalom saw a strong field among the British Junior racers. All bar Viktoria Palla and Ella Still of the team that raced at the recent Davos Junior World Championships were taking part in a field that had almost 80 starters.
The first run saw Jess Anderson slide out near the top of the course in what was a loss to the race. With Woodward firing on all cylinders, this was comfortably a career best result for the racer, almost ten FIS points better than what she had scored across all disciplines prior to the race. Having started with bib 22, to finish in fourth shows the great promise that she has for the future.
While others were not quite on their game, ‘distractions’ like having to keep studying have kept the likes of Bruce off the snow for much of the season despite having raced at the World Juniors earlier in the month. Bruce was not so happy with the result but still finished a creditable 8th with a 50 point result. With two results in the high thirties and low forties in the last month, she will be looking to continue the lowering of her FIS points as the season continues.
Having won a CIT Giant Slalom in Santa Caterina in early January, Honor Clissold and her coaching team at Evolution have high hopes for her. High thirty point results are her goal and Clissold is one to watch as the season rolls on.
With six British racers all scoring under 100 FIS points the depth in quality of British races is improving. Kirsty Guest, Yasmin Cooper and Lois Jackson all joined them in scoring under 100 points. For Jackson she battled her way into 29th from bib 48. The strength in depth is something that is maybe underlined by the recent performance of the Scottish Schools team at the World Schools Winter Games where the team finished third in the Giant Slalom.
The racing continues with an open Giant Slalom on Monday.