Dan’s the Man at MK

 

And so after the six previous races in the series had taken us the length and breadth of our green and pleasant land, the final race of the 2009 Snowsport England Grand Prix series took place in Milton Keynes, smack bang in the centre of the county, home of concrete cows, stolen football teams and the first snow centre in the UK to come close to replicating 160 metres of Alpine fun.

 

With much still to play for in most categories and many of the traditional summer plastic race fraternity somewhat out of their hexagonal dendix comfort zone there were plenty of opportunities available for racers to climb the category rankings and ski themselves into overall contention or score a morale boosting result right at the mid point between the last and next winter’s racing.

 

In the girls event Lucy Peel stamped an immediate authority upon the race, posting a first run 17.03s time that only Florence Bell & Charlotte Davies looked anywhere capable of matching. Indeed had Davies not lost 0.26 seconds on the first run she may have been able to capitalise on her storming 2nd run that not only overhauled Bell into the runners up spot but also threatened to claim the event victory that would have also jumped her into the runners up spot in the overall series. Peel, however, had other ideas and a 2nd run time of 14.85 seconds proved to be enough to ensure that the final race of 2009 was hers.

 

Unlike the ladies race the first run of the male event left us with probably more questions than we were likely to get answers for. Had Gerard Flahive’s first run blaster provided him with enough of a buffer to hold Georgie Hunt and the rest of the male field at bay? Did Georgie have enough in the tank to rectify a first run defeat? And could Dan Evans or James Greenwood overturn their small deficits to rattle a few reputations right at the front of the field?

 

Time – and an overly worn course - eventually provided us with the answers however and with Greenwood & Evans producing outstanding times the screw had been turned sufficiently tightly for Hunt to fail to negotiate his way through Ross Green’s course, exiting the race early and leaving the proverbial hen house door open for the cunning fox we all know as Gerard Flahive. Strangely however a subdued 2nd run time, around two tenths of a second off the pace, proved to be just short of what was required and in a blink of an eye Daniel Evans had sneaked in, sent feathers flying and captured his first ever overall Grand Prix victory.    

 

In the categories Abby Clifford’s unusually disappointing 1st run time forced her to settle for 3rd spot behind Peel & Davies. Caroline Powell claimed 1st in Junior 1 with Claire Brown in 2nd and the elder Bell sister, Victoria in 3rd. Fifth place overall proved enough for Lottie Mayer to claim 2nd behind Florence Bell in Children 2 category with Nia Jenkins claiming 3rd. In Children 1 Jessica Anderson’s first run blast proved the decisive factor in her win over runner up Megan Jenkins who in turn leapfrogged 3rd placed Yasmin Cooper on run 2.

 

In the seniors Stuart Riches proved too good for 2nd place Andrew Crawford with Christopher Crowther 3rd. Gerard Flahive’s overall runners up spot was one place too far for runner up James Greenwood in Junior 2 whilst 5th placed overall James Knock claimed 3rd. Samuel Fairburn’s 6th overall was enough to claim the runners up berth in Jun 1 behind race winner Dan Evans with Giacomo Ghislanzoni in 3rd. In the children’s categories Daniel Poth proved too good for his contempories, scoring a fine win whilst Barney Lewis overturned a small first run deficit to squeeze into 2nd with Ashley Breese in 3rd. In Children 1 Robert Poth made it a family double nudging Jordan Fellows into the runners up spot with Benjamin Smith in 3rd.  

 

The day however belonged to a young man who over the years has suggested that there were a number of Grand Prix victories in his young and highly talented feet. Always competitive, always smiling, always flat out and never one to scrub speed – you always know where you are with young Mr Evans, and at the final GP event of 2009 Dan proved very much that he was indeed the man.