Hill of Witches, Slope of Champions
Inghams Grand Prix Race 2 - Pendle
Pendle Hill, an 1800 feet
giant of the Ribble Valley, home of the legendary witches and, in ski circles at
least, the equally legendary Pendle Ski Club. A hill where if you canít see
the valley below then itís probably raining and if you can see the valley base
then itíll probably be raining soon. On a good day a blustery oasis of sheep,
sunshine and ski slope.
Round 2 of the Inghams
sponsored 2008 Snowsport Englandís Grand Prix series provided a complete
contrast to controlled surroundings of Norfolk. Gone were the trees, manicured
meadows and controlled descent of Norfolk, all replaced by one of Mother
Natureís least manufactured backdrops and a rollercoaster of a ski slope that
demands utmost respect from the start gate to the finish line. If you can ski
fast here, then youíll be fast everywhere.
Living proof of this
fact is Pendleís very own David Ryding, darling of both summer and winter ski
fraternities, and proof that you do not need to abandon plastic racing to
achieve your ambitions on snow. His willingness to continue to contribute to
plastic slope skiing is also wonderfully commendable, as were his actions in
travelling down from a training camp in Aviemore to take part in forerunning
Indeed, great credit should go to the race organisers for
assembling a trio of genuinely high quality forerunners.
On the slope
competition was as fierce as ever. In the ladies race Rachael Adcock dominated
proceedings, posting the fastest time in run 1 before magnificently holding her
nerve amongst the carnage of run 2 to obliterate the opposition with a truly
superb effort that found her almost two seconds faster than any of the other
females with the exception of overall runner up Emily Goddard. Third position
overall was claimed by Lucy Peel who fought off a valiant effort from 4th
placed Katie Adams, pipping her rival to the podium by 0.02 seconds, with Louise
Bain finishing 5th.
In the categories 4rd
place overall was enough for Katie Adams to claim the spoils in Junior 2 with
Lauren Elliott (2nd) and Melanie Wilcockson (3rd) completing
the podium. In Junior 1 Lucy Peel proved too good for her rivals despite fine
efforts from Jasmine Taylor in 2nd & the ever improving Claire
Brown in 3rd. Louise Bainís excellent 5th overall was
enough to claim top spot in Chi 2 category, despite excellent top-ten overall
finishes for Stephanie Davies (2nd) & Bethany Widdup (3rd).
In the younger children category Emma Peters took the honours on her Grand Prix
debut, followed home by Kelly Greenbank 2nd and Georgia Hallett 3rd.
In the male race Nick
Robinson continued his fine early season form by claiming overall victory. With
two extremely demanding courses accounting for a number of his rivals challenges
Robinson not only survived where others perished but also managed to produce the
fastest run on each course in deservedly collecting overall top spot.
In Alex Jeal, Robinson found his sternest and most durable
rival. As the challenges of Stuart Riches, Benn Hall plus home slope
heavyweights Andy Roose & Bradley Morganís all ended in any manner of
directions Jeal maintained his challenge with a trademark brace of clean and
powerful runs to claim 2nd Place both overall and in the Junior 2 category. Dan
Wyatt ensured Pendle representation on the podium following home in 3rd
in front of Marcus Orrell in 4th with Michael Molloy extending his
impressive start to the season with 5th.
With Molloy also taking the honours in Junior 1, Andrew
Davies posted 2nd in category closely followed home by Charles
Richardson in 3rd whilst in Children 2 Samuel Fairburn justified the
huge trek up from Southampton to claim top spot followed by James Gibb (2nd)
and Michael Knowles (3rd). In Children 1 Daniel Poth again underlined
his fine recent form with a hugely impressive brace of runs to claim an
excellent 8th overall and 1st in category, with Ashley
Breeseís 9th overall good enough for the category runners up spot
and Robert Pothís 11th overall guaranteeing him a category 3rd.
As ever, Pendle Hill had provided the ultimate test for
competitors young and old alike. Yet again the Carnoustie of the dry slope
skiing world sorted the wheat from the chaff and provided us with, in Adcock and
Robinson, a pair of truly worthy winners.
Four weeks from now the North East coastline awaits as the rollers of Sunderland prepare to pit themselves against the cream of British skiing. The series is wide open, everything is still up for grabs. Whoíll prevail at Sunderland is anyoneís guess. The only certainty is that youíd be a fool to give it a miss.
photographs courtesy of Racer Ready