17th May, 2008
Pendle Club National
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 can’t see the valley below then it’s probably raining and if you can see the valley base then it’ll probably be raining soon. On a good day a blustery oasis of sheep, sunshine and ski slope. Not the place you want to be chasing the game with a final all or nothing blast. Indeed almost every do or die run I’ve ever seen on this hill inevitably ends on the wrong side of the equation and a metaphoric moments silence follows the winced oooooh’s of the watching crowd as your run descends into at best dnf territory or, at worst, a hefty trip onto camouflaged matting.
So this wasn’t exactly the best day for the representatives of Team Telford to leave their best form in Shropshire and venture deeply into the realms of catch up ski racing.
In the minis William Lucas at least proved that one Telford racer had bought an ounce worth of form with him producing possibly his best club national performance of a fledgling career in claiming a well deserved 5th place. An unusually ragged Nathan Breese however failed to adapt his style to the idiosyncratic contours the Pendle hill provides and ended up having to settle for 3rd place on the podium.
In the Girls, the latest chapter in the Gould / Brown head to header saw Claire claim the honours with a career high 2nd place in Jun 1 with Charlotte having to settle for 4th in the same category. In Children 2 Charlotte Shrimpton also struggled to adapt to the challenge of the slope posting 8th in category mainly built around of a much cleaner and more aggressive afternoon run. A feat mirrored by George Gould, whose 3rd run time sliced 1½ seconds off her opening effort and placed her 12th in the same category.
An then there was Kelly Greenbank. Three years since she abandoned plastic racing and with only the practice session the night before to re-find her feet Kelly produced a impressive day of improving times to place an excellent 2nd in Children 1.
In the males Josh Mills & Marco Furio again stole the show from their more experienced team mates. Josh, in his second race, produced possibly the gutsiest run of the day from a Telford racer placing 21st in the traditionally most competitive category of children 2. A position that was bettered by Marco, again making light of his relative inexperience, to place 14th in category and drop below 160 BARTS points in one swoop.
In Children 1 Ashley and Jordan failed to finish run 3, both abandoning and semblance of self preservation in the quest for 3rd round speed and a leap up the final standings. Jordan’s inside edge snagged just beyond midway of a decent looking run and Ashley perished one gate later in a blaze of kung fu kicking glory leaving the matting by a full 2 feet before symbolically crashing back down to earth with a hell of a thump. Both went gung ho and finished with nothing to show.
18th May, 2008
NWSA Grand Prix
And so to the following day’s grand prix. Again Claire Brown claimed Team Telford honours this time producing an absolute sizzler of a first run that forced Charlotte Gould to throw caution to the wind on an unforgiving 2nd run course. Pressure that told on Charlotte who stretched herself on ounce or two too far and ended up with a dnf. Credit has to go however to her younger sibling George and Charlotte Shrimpton who both kept their head amongst the carnage of run 2 and profited with career best 7th and 4th place category placings respectively. A feat mirrored by Kelly Greenbank who placed a fine 2nd in Children 1
In the boys Jordan completed a miserable weekend by surviving the tight fast turns at the top of run 2 and then relaxed a little too much on the bottom section and paid the ultimate price with a trip to the matting and Ashley regained a little pride for both himself and his team with an excellent 2nd run to finish 2nd in category and 9th overall.
Yet again the witches of Pendle Hill had cast their spells and one or two Telford racers will be spending the next week looking for a princess (or handsome prince) to kiss and end the spell. The last thing I need is another frog in my shed!