Race 2 - ERSA Grand Prix
Sunday 17rd May, 2009
The doom & gloom merchants continually tell me that plastic racing is on its last legs, that indoor dome racing is the future and that plastic will be finished in 3 years. There is no investment in plastic slopes apparently. Well, as slopes disappear faster than Ferraris with their keys left in the ignition it is often to argue against this point of view.
That is of course until you pull up on the car park at Norfolk Ski Club and witness first hand what is the very best ski facility on this wonderful island of ours. For me, plastic will always have a future so long as the guardians and administrators of our sport retain similar foresight and commitment to those at the Trowse based club. So with somewhat poor numbers attending the first Grand Prix of the summer Norfolk was probably the most appropriate venue to kick start SSE’s premier race series.
With two testing courses set racers were clearly going to blend attrition into the regular mix of speed and talent. Many would find them tough and many would fail to finish but Grand Prix courses are there to test racers – and these were certainly going to do that.
In the ladies race Caroline Powell kept her nerve, balance and line to chalk up what will surely be the first of a number of Grand Prix wins over the next few years. In producing two mistake free runs the Brentwood Park racer’s consistency proved too much for the rest of the field to match and when the timing sheets were published it was clear that Powell had created a comfortable buffer of daylight between her time and those of her piers.
Behind Powell, Emily Evans had to settle for the runners up spot after a big mistake on run 2 wiped out the comfortable lead built up after the morning run with Beth Widdup claiming 3rd overall.
The men’s race proved to be a real heavyweight tussle as Junior 2 category racers dominated proceedings. With 0.03s separating the top 3 after run 1 it was very much a case of waiting to see who blinked first on the afternoon’s course. 3rd placed after run 1 Michael Molloy had the perfect opportunity to nail a time and insert a bit of pressure on the racers marginally in front of him and this looked entirely probable right up until a last gate error resulted in elimination for the Norfolk based racer.
Penultimate racer Andrew Watson then nailed run 2, maintaining the gap back to Brad Morgan and so with the ‘luxury’ of a 0.01s lead after run 1 only Nicholas Robinson could deny Watson back to back Grand Prix wins. To his enormous credit Robinson reacted to Watson’s efforts magnificently and in posting the fastest run of the afternoon added his name to the competition won by his elder brother 12 months earlier.
In the categories David Hatcher claimed victory in the seniors with Ben Clark 2nd and Alexander Abbott in 3rd. Jun 2 saw Nick Robinson, Andrew Wason & Brad Morgan replicate the overall standings for 1-2-3 and in Jun 1 Daniel Evans prevailed over James Grant in 2nd and Daniel Molloy in 3rd. In the children’s categories Shaun Blyth returned to the winners step on the podium in fine style claiming victory by a clear 2 second margin from runner up George Davis and third placed Max Moss. In the younger category William Wheeler’s 2nd run was enough to squeeze Matthew Davis in 2nd with Nicholas Phelps in 3rd.
In the female categories Hannah Parker claimed top spot with Emily Goddard 2nd & Lesley Mearns 3rd. In Jun 1 Claire Brown claimed 3rd behind Caroline Powell & Emily Evans whilst in chi 2 Sarah Lambden in 2nd and Stephanie Davise in 3rd finished behind Beth Widdup. In chi 1 Jazmine Butcher’s 1st run proved the decisive factor in her victory with Emma Peters in 2nd and Beatrice Martin-Harrington in 3rd.
As ever the location and quality of facility in Norwich proved that there very much is still life in dendix both as a training and race surface. In Nick Robinson the day also proved that if you’re good enough you can still compete at the very highest level on any surface. Indeed combine a good quality mat with imaginative and testing courses and you will almost certainly end the day with the right winner. Take a bow Mr Robinson.