Experience tells as Ritchie wins British Dryslope Slalom title

Nicole Ritchie benefitted from her experience down Hillend as she held off the onslaught of some of the best dry slope racers from across Britain. Hillend provides racers with an unrivalled challenge and it takes experience to win down the steep hill. Ritchie took the win ahead of Jenny Davies with Holly McKey adding a British podium to her increasing haul of medals this summer. Lauren Vale and Eilidh Ryan rounded out the top five in the Women’s race.

The first run had been a close run affaire as Nicole Shering benefitted from the time she had spent learning about the intricacies of Hillend. Shering, winner of the British Ski Academy sponsored GBR Outdoor Series this summer, had come up to Scotland after winning the Welsh title and was looking to take her first British title. In her way were Nicole Ritchie, the most dominant racer down Hillend over the last seven years, as well as Lauren Vale, winner of the All England title earlier in September. Add the fast improving Holly McKey, the impressive Eilidh Ryan and a past winner down Hillend at the University races, Jenny Davies, and the British Championship race had an impressive strength in depth.

The two Nicole’s were separated by 0.16 after the first run, Ritchie leading Shering with Davies a further two hundredths back. These three had daylight between themselves and the rest.

An impressive second run by Lauren Vale saw her gain more experience and overhaul Ryan who had had a half second advantage. McKey then used the benefit of having spent time training at Hillend to post a time good enough to take the lead with three to go.

If McKey thought she would be challenging further up the leaderboard and would stay on the podium, Davies had other ideas and posted a time almost a second faster. The gauntlet was down for the remaining two racers.

Shering was first up and the Aldershot racer, gaining in belief with each run, attacked and looked like she would post a run leading time before disaster struck in the last few gates and she spectacularly crashed out. The gasps of disbelief were heard up the course.

This left Ritchie at the top. Davies was leading in the finish and while she had had a lead of 0.18 over Davies, Ritchie could not afford to make a mistake. Davies had caused gasps with the time she had posted. Ritchie then went almost three quarters of a second faster than the time Davies had posted. When the going gets tough, the tough get going: Ritchie had risen to the challenge set to take the win.

The age groups were won by Sophie Anderson (Under 14, 7th Overall); Holly McKey (Under 16, 3rd Overall); Lauren Vale (Under 18, 4th Overall); Eilidh Ryan (Under 21, 5th Overall) and Nicole Ritchie (Senior, British Champion)

Orlaith Shepherd took the win in the Under 12 race with Alice Bond taking the Under 10 win.

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