It has been a few years since he was regularly destroying the hopes of others in dry ski slope races but Andrew Watson returned to the race scene at the Welsh National Championship race with devastating form: The rest simply could not live with the times he posted. In the Women’s race, the intense competition between Nicole Shering and Lauren Vale ended when Vale straddled on the first run. Jolie Hoffman and Jenny Davies joined Shering on the podium in the Women’s race with Toby Case and Lewis Williams on the podium with Watson in the men’s race.
Despite the unusual low turnout in both races, the standard in both races at the top end of racers was good. The National race was a five point penalty standard race and should have attracted more of the racers looking to improve their seed points before the end of the season. The two courses set by Dave Eaves and Malcolm Erskine, whose British Ski Academy were the headline sponsors of the weekend, gave the racers a challenge and were great courses for the standard of event.
The women’s race was won by Shering by just under a second and a quarter from Hoffman who overcame the time set by Jenny Davies on the first run to take a career to date best result. The season long Shering Vale rivallry has been intense and great for the sport as they have pushed each other. Both train at Aldershot despite living miles away from each other and the slope. This has seen the performances of both improve. Great to see and neither can assume dominance when pushing each other to better skiing.
Vale went out on the first run with an unfortunate straddle and this gave Shering a more comfortable run for the second run. Hoffman raised her game to overtake Davies while Emma Trust, another who enjoys the Pontypool slope, took fourth overall. Issy Evans took an inspiring and encouraging fifth overall and the best Welsh racer. It has been a tough summer for Evans and this result will give her the encouragement to keep going in the sport.
Due to work commitments Andrew Watson had only done two races in the last five years yet he turned on the power to turn back the years and win comfortably from Case with Lewis Williams taking third but almost eight and a half seconds back. Case was lucky to still be in the race after the first run but made his fortune count as he took second.
Such was the strength in depth of the Women’s race that the top four posted times faster than the third placed man in the race! Six of the top seeds in the Men’s race crashed out on the first run with another three going out on the second run. To finish first, first you have to finish is how the saying goes and to that extent congratulations to Williams, Ben Vincent and Isaac Cutting for all making the top five finishers.
The women’s age groups were won by Jolie Hoffman (Under 14, Runner Up), Emma Trust (Under 16, 4th Overall), Keira Bonnington (Under 18, 16th Overall), Nicole Shering (Under 21, Race Winner), Jenny Davies (Senior, 3rd Overall) and Sally Hodson (Masters, 21st Overall)
The men’s age groups were won by Steffan Hodson (Under 14, 8th Overall), Ben Vincent (Under 16, 4th Overall), Toby Case (Under 18, Runner Up), Lewis Williams (Under 21, 3rd Overall), Andrew Watson (Senior, Race Winner) and Mark Richards (Masters, 22nd Overall).
The Under 10 and Under 12 races were won by Alice Bond and Daisy Putman respectively in the girls race while Xavier Poynton and Geno Hounsham took the boys wins respectively.
Pictures form the racing are available on racerready.zenfolio.com