Field Blown Away As Adcock and Crawford Prevail
So, on the longest weekend of the year, the 2008 summer ski circus descended upon a windswept North Eastern Coastline as Sunderland’s Silksworth complex played host to Round 3 of the Inghams sponsored Snowsport England Grand Prix series.
With course setters Pierre Mahon & Lee Bennett doing an excellent job of providing contrasting courses that tested all aspects of the racers abilities and a wind sharper than the edges on the racers skis it was clear that those who were to eventually prevail would need to utilise both the talent in their legs and the nous in their brains in equal measures.
Play it too safe and you’d find yourself marooned down the field, go gung-ho and an early finish or slide along the matting awaited. Experience was going to be key.
And so it proved in both categories as senior stalwarts Rachael Adcock and Andrew Crawford prevailed over their younger competitors whilst simultaneously confirming the old adage that there is still no substitute for experience.
Adcock, in particular, impressed with her complete domination of the female race. In posting a first run time that none of her competitors could get anywhere close to she provided herself with the relative comfort of knowing she could afford a mistake on her afternoon run and still hang on to the win. A mistake that never actually arrived as the Arrows racer clinically dissected a brute of a second course with surgeon-like precision to leave the chasing pack scrambling for the remaining podium places.
In second place, and a shade faster than Adcock on run 2, finished Emily Evans. The Chatham racer’s welcome return from injury providing the only genuine competition for the top podium position and at the same time issued a warning to her rivals that not only was she back but, if anything, she’s now even faster. In third place Jeni Thomas prevailed from a second run three way scrap denying Rowan Vernon and Georgia Hood respectively.
In the categories Alice Thelwell completed the senior podium behind Adcock and Vernon, Heidi Parker claimed the honours in Jun 2 with Lauren Elliot and Melanie Wilcockson just behind and Alessia Thomas-Jackson (3rd) joined Thomas and Hood on the Jun 1 podium. In the Children’s categories Nia Jenkins claimed 2nd in chi 2 behind Emily Evans with Louise Bain claiming 3rd whilst Kelly Greenbank produced the two fastest times to claim the honours in chi 1 followed home by Katie Allan in 2nd and Klara Hommel 3rd.
In the male race decimated by dnf & dsq’s Andrew Crawford’s blistering second run proved that there was indeed a racing line amongst slalom poles that often leaned in the wind like isolated trees on a links golf course. With seven racers ahead of him after run 1 Crawford was left to watch as one by one their challenges faded amid a battery of errors on a course that punished the smallest mistake to maximum effect.
In second place 0.07s behind Crawford finished Pendle racer Brad Morgan. Morgan’s 2nd run time eclipsed all but the breath taking Crawford and whilst he will be disappointed to have come out on the wrong side of the photo finish he can be delighted to have leapfrogged co Jun 2 athlete Andrew Watson onto the middle tier of the podium. Watson’s combined time of 26.94 proving 0.06s slower than Morgan and 0.13s outside the efforts of Crawford. Senior category runner up Colin Armstrong placed 4th overall and Michael Molloy continued this seasons excellent form with a well deserved 5th place overall.
In the categories Andrew Richardson completed the triumberate of seniors in 3rd place, whilst 6th placed overall racer Marcus Orrell closed out the podium in Jun 2. Following closely behind Norfolk’s Molloy in Jun 1 finished Benjamin Potter (2nd) and Dan Evans signalled his return from injury in taking 3rd place. Children 2 saw a Pendle 1-2 with Richard Leeson (1st) and Jake Morgan (2nd) being joined on the podium by Samual Fairbairn (3rd) and in Chi 1 category Chris Yates, an impressive 15th overall claimed victory ahead of Telford’s Jordan Fellows (2nd) with Daniel Poth (3rd).
By the end of the race it was clear that we’d witnessed another superb race in 2008 and the race officials deserve immense credit for somehow keeping control amongst the very worst that Mother Nature could hurl at them.
The penultimate race of the series takes us down to the incredibly picturesque setting of Suffolk Ski Centre in Ipswich. The competition is still wide open and all is still to battle for. As usual, the action on the hill is sure to be red hot but, after 4 hours of trying to avoid being blown off my feet, I’d settle for just being warm.