Jessica Anderson produced a strong second run charge in going for the win but was held off by Italian Petra Smaldore by just under half a second. With four British girls in the top twelve finishers, this was a strong performance by the rising talents in the Ambition and Evolution training groups. Anderson may have been on the Overall race podium but Abi Bruce took fifth overall with Honor Clissold and Sarah Woodward taking 7th and 12th Overall. Woodward’s result was all the more impressive after she had started 25th.
This was a strong performance by Anderson, the FIS points she scored were just shy of her seasons best result in Maria Alm in January. This was her fifth best career result in Giant Slalom and while it was 13 points shy of her career best 20 point result scored in New Zealand last summer, this was scored in a strong field. You get the feeling that there is still a lot more to come from the Ambition racer. This is good news for the strength in depth of Women’s technical ski racing in the UK. On the current FIS points list, Anderson is just outside the top 300 in the World.
If the performance of Anderson is getting the fans of British ski racing purring, then the rise of the likes of Abi Bruce and Sarah Woodward from Ambition along with Honor Clissold from the Evolution set up and you have a new generation of racers that will soon be challenging the likes of Alex Tilley and Charlie Guest in the technical events.
Bruce is a 2000 year of birth with Woodward a year younger. Both are pushing each other on to achieve better results and this is working. The second Giant Slalom in Bormio saw Bruce with the advantage while the first race saw Woodward take the honours. Prior to the English Championships, Bruce raced at the World Junior Championships taking a 32nd in the Slalom and 43rd in the Giant Slalom. She will better these placings in future years but there is the small matter of finishing off her A Level education first to concentrate on.
Honor Clissold may be the oldest of the leading Junior girls racing in Bormio and in taking seventh place, this was just shy of her best result this season in Giant Slalom, only bettered by her race win in January at Santa Caterina. Clissold is one of the few racers on the Women’s scene in Britain to race across all five disciplines. She has a best ranking of just inside the top 500 in the world in Downhill but it is in Giant Slalom that she has her best FIS points of 40.
While these four racers produced the benchmark for the rest to aim for, the likes of Francesca Lee, Kirsty Guest, Lois Jackson and Olivia Foster are all also making a name for themselves as they chase the markers being set out by the generation above them. You can add Nicole Ritchie to this group as soon as she can sort out the injury to her back.