It may have still been August but it was a busy weekend for British competitive snowsport at the weekend. Whilst James ‘Woodsy’ Woods was celebrating winning gold in the first World Cup competition of 15-16 in New Zealand the 40th All England Dry Ski Slope Ski Racing Championships took place at Sunderland’s Silksworth Sports Complex and Ski Slope and the British Indoor Snowboard Cross Championships were staged in Manchester.
Having placed 2nd in the English Indoor Championships a few weeks ago Paul Moralee was looking to go one better and grab gold British Indoor Snowboard Cross Championships at Chill Factore – and he succeeded.
The day started with an open practise on the track where all the athletes get to inspect and test the course before moving into timed runs. The track was very quick including several different types of features including, big banked turns, jumps and rollers.
After the practise runs the competition moved on to timed qualifying runs to determine the seeds for the knock out races. In Paul’s first of two qualifying runs (quickest time being taken) didn’t go quite as planned as he lost control on a banked corner losing precious time. This then added more pressure on Paul’s second and final qualifying run as he wanted to get a good time on the board but had to make sure not to make another mistake. He cruised his second run making sure he completed the course. With a time of 14.09 seconds this place him in sixth place as he moved forward to the one-on-one races.
The races came down to the last 16 athletes, but as Paul qualified sixth so any opponent that he came up against with a higher ranking would get first selection of the start gate order. In the last 16 race Paul started well and cruised down the course, checked over his shoulder to check his opponent wasn’t going to pass him. Paul then drew the 5th seed in the quarter finals and had the worse of the two start gates, as the other allowed for a better racing line into the first banked corner. The race started and Moralee pulled out of the start gate brilliantly and come over the first big roller session and into the banked corner ahead of his opponent. From start to finish Paul’s racing line was near perfect and took the win and a spot in the semi finals.
In the semis Paul was up against the top seed and the quickest snowboarder of the day. Like the previous race he had the outside lane and knew he had to pull ahead early to have any chance of winning. Paul flew out of the start gate taking the lead from the start. The race was one of the closest of the days with his opponent just behind him. As they both came over the last jump toward the finish line it was still close but Paul managed to hold him off and take his place in the final.
In the final he was up against the second seed and fellow Team GB rider, Bradley Gaulter. It all came down to the start, Paul had won the quarter and semis from the same gate and knew he could do it. Like the previous rounds he started excellently and took the lead over the rollers. He seemed at ease in the middle of the course, navigating tight bends and jumps. You could see Paul checking behind him as his competitor was close behind. As Paul came off the last jump towards the finish line he tucked and took the win by a boards length.
Paul will start training and competing with the Great Britain Snowboard Cross Team from October and will be racing this winter across Europe.
After winning Paul said, “I’m delighted to have won and can’t wait to head out with the GB boarder cross team in October”.
Meanwhile at the 40th All England Dry Ski Slope Ski Racing Championships taking place at Sunderland’s Silksworth Sports Complex and Ski Slope there were impressive performances from all age groups, as the top ski racers from across the country battled it out for supremacy.
The All England Championships Slalom kicked off the action on Saturday, with Aldershot’s Jenny Davies taking the top position for the girls, followed by sisters Millie and Lois Jackson taking second and third, both from the local Ravens Ski Club.
For the men, Chris Corr just managed to hold onto his lead following the first run to take the title of All England Champion, beating Declan Huppach into second. Harry Hornsby, who was lying in fourth after the first run, took third place ahead of Ashley Hill after a speedy second run.
In the Under 10s and Under 12s races, Charlotte Holmes from Pendle took the title in the girl’s special Slalom, with Jolie Hoffman-Little in second and Amy Stokoe in third. For the boys, Jack Upton from Midland Ski Club took the top spot with Kieran Woolley, also from Midland Ski Club in second and Charlie Deem from Telford in third.
Sunday saw the Inter-Club Parallel Team Event and Open Parallel Team Event take place. Taking the honours in both races was the team from Loughborough University – Loughborough Sno.
The Championships, organised by Snowsport England and sponsored by Ski Racing Supplies and Dynastar, not only showcased the rising talents of skiing in the UK, it also ran GO SKI GO BOARD ‘TRY’ taster sessions which sold out ahead of the event.
As part of Snowsport England’s national participation campaign, 40 skiers and 16 snowboarders took part in the GO SKI GO BOARD sessions and they will now benefit from an on-the-day offer which will see them get four hours of ‘GET’ skiing or snowboarding courses for half price (£35).
Other presentations made at the event included the Ann Bates Memorial Cup, which was presented by Brian Bates. The Cup was awarded to Jess Anderson as the most improved Junior Girl (U21, U18, U16,U14).
The Atomic Trophy, which was presented by Konrad Bartelski was awarded to Alicja Krahelski as the most improved skier (U14 or U16).
Tim Reader Memorial Trophy presented by the Reader Family was won by Charlie Raposo as the most improved Junior boy (U18 or U21 category).
These three awards were for last winter and this summer season, and two other awards were made for performances over this summer’s artificial slope season.
The Calvert Cup, which is awarded to the best club following Club Nationals was won by Aldershot Ski Racing Club, and the Arrows Millenium Cup, went to Tom Hales and Sarah Landon, as racers with lowest seed points over the summer.
This is the first time in over 10 years that Silksworth Sports Complex and Ski Slope, which is managed by sports and leisure operator Everyone Active, in partnership with Sunderland City Council, has hosted the event.