Good ĎEvans, What Happened To The White Stuff? 

Inghams Grand Prix - Race 1 Norwich

So, only twenty two days after the nationís best young ski racers had packed away their reserves of snow wax and wiped the final flakes of frost off the buckles of their boots the Summer ski racing circus headed into Norwich, heart of East Anglia, the most complete medieval city in England and home to a dry slope ski facility that is anything but medieval. Indeed a ski facility that is quite possibly the finest in the UK. 

Race One of the Inghams sponsored SSE Grand Prix Series featured a field eager to make an early mark on a competition sure to be fiercely fought over the coming months and with course setters Sally Bartlett and Malcolm Erskine looking to provide the racers with courses to both test abilities and reward their talents hopes were high for a great dayís racing.  

In the Girls race Charlotte Evans took a firm grip on events with a stunning 1st run, producing a time that only Norfolk based racer Laura Garden and Alessia Thomas-Jackson ever looked close to matching. However with Charlotte Davies, Georgia Hood, Alice Thelwell and Hannah Parker all within ĺís of a second it was clear that any mistakes that the leaders made would be heavily punished by the chasing pack.  

Not that the pressure ever looked like phasing Evans. As Thomas Jackson (3rd) and then Garden (2nd) turned the screw with fine second run times Evans reacted magnificently to blitz the opposition producing the only sub-14 second run from a female and deservedly claim overall victory.   

In the senior categories Alice Thelwell (5th overall) took the spoils in the ladies race with Emily Goddard 2nd & Lesley Mearns 3rd. In Junior 2 category overall winner Charlotte Evans claimed victory, overall runner up Laura Garden claimed 2nd with Hannah Parker in 3rd. Alessia Thomas-Jacksonís 3rd overall was good enough to take 1st in Junior 1 category, with Georgia Hood (4th overall) in 2nd and Emily Whitelock 3rd 

As ever the childrenís categories were also closely fought competitions. Caroline Powellís top ten overall finish proving a time too far for her rivals to match although Alexandra Greasby pushed her all the way to claim 2nd with Alice Baldwin in 3rd. Georgia Hallet claimed the children 1 category, with Klara Hommel 2nd & Lauren Holdsworth in 3rd.  

In the males race hopes were high of a battle royale between at least one or two of the heavyweights of the menís plastic racing scene. Indeed if you can get Benn Hall, Marc Telling, Andy Roose & Stuart Riches all at the top of a hill at the same time then you truly wouldnít expect anything less than a shoot out of the highest velocity. They didnít disappoint.

 

Indeed with Oliver Robinson, Nicholas Robinson and Bradley Morgan joining the party the top six finishers were separated by only 0.14 seconds. 380 metres of dendix matting covered in 25Ĺ seconds of exhilarating power and finesse separated by nothing more than the thickness of a piece of cling film. 

Indeed with Marc Telling and Andrew Watson (7th overall) leading after run 1, it took a stunning second run 12.61s to fire Oliver Robinson not only down the hill but also up the leaderboard. Robinsonís magnificent second run time providing a buffer of 0.10 seconds to second run specialist Benn Hall in 2nd and a further 0.01s to first run leader Marc Telling in 3rd. With Stuart Riches and Nichols Robinson unable to be separated in 4th another 0.02s back and Bradley Morgan yet another 0.02 seconds behind the assembled masses at the bottom of the slope had witnessed a breathtaking conclusion to a fantastic race. 

In the categories overall winner Oliver Robinson claimed the senior male prize, followed home by Marc Telling in 2nd & Matthew Bruton 3rd. Junior 2, the most fiercely fought of all categories with seven racers in the top ten, saw Benn Hall prevail whilst Riches and Nick Robinson sharing 2nd and a magnificent 12th place overall saw Michael Molloy claim the honours in the Junior 1 category followed home by Cardiff team mates Ian Williams in 2nd & Andrew Davies in 3rd

In the childrenís categories Ashley Breese proved that age was no barrier to talent claiming the children 1 category one place ahead of children 2 victor James Grant. Jake Morgan (2nd) & Jody Baxter (3rd) completed the podium in the older category whilst Daniel Poth (2nd) and James Sieber (3rd) joined Breese on the Children 1 podium. 

And so twenty two days after the curtains closed on their winter season the racers climbed back onto their plastic waxed skis and waged battle on the edge of Angliaís green and pleasant land. Clearly there are no mountains upon Englandís flattest of flatlands but this weekend witnessed just how our sport can produce and flourish without one. Two weeks and counting to Round 2 at Pendle, if itís half as exciting and hotly contested as this one itíll be a must see.