Smiley Watson takes the money in the Da$h 4 Ca$h in Gloucester

Andrew Watson wore the biggest smile on his face after battling through to win the third Dash 4 Cash sponsored by Wintersport Foundation, Rossignol and Ski Bartlett. Watson managed to beat TJ Baldwin in the final with Nicole Shering and Jack Upton taking the prizes for the fastest female and fastest Under 16 racers.

The increasingly popular dual slalom knockout formula is something that will award an Olympic medal in the 2022 Winter Olympics and has grown in popularity over the last few seasons on the World Cup. As with all new events it is still finding its feet but the speed of the event and the ability of the spectator to see who has one there and then are key ingredients to its success.

Chris Corr posted the fastest time on the first qualifying run and like Andrew Watson and TJ Baldwin, did not do the second qualifying run, choosing to preserve their skis and energy for the later rounds. With 30 racers battling it out for the three prizes, intelligence and tactics came to play.

Qualifying saw Lauren Vale post the fastest female time in taking ninth spot, just ahead of Shering with Chris Corr in blistering form to be a quarter of a second faster than Watson who was over half a second in turn, faster than Rob Holmes. Then it got tasty as Holmes, Baldwin and Sam Gaskin were just five hundredths apart. Seeds six and seven, Joshua Price and Jack Feneley were just a hundredth apart.

The shock of the first round saw Feneley crash out and this opened up the draw for Shering. With the prize for the fastest women being decided on who went furthest in the draw, Shering would now have an easier draw providing she won her opening race against Joely Side. Shering duly achieved the win and then took on Grace Laws who had benefitted from Feneley crashing in the opening round.

By the time the quarter finals had been decided, Chris Corr would take on Adam Lee (who had dispatched Lauren Vale by just 0.05 seconds); TJ Baldwin (who had beaten his girlfriend, Georgia hallett in the second round) faced up to Sam Gaskin (who had won the rematch against Remy van Breugel after a gate had been out on their original race); Watson took on Shering and Rob Holmes took on Jack Upton.

The first round also saw a dead heat as Isabel Evans and Sam Dix managed to tie with Evans battling through in the rematch before losing to Holmes.

With Corr and Baldwin winning through to the top half semi final and Watson and Holmes in the bottom half of the draw, the two run semi finals looked to be an exciting match up.

Corr won the first race against Baldwin but with Baldwin taking the red course, slightly quicker it was deemed, for the return race, the small lead Corr held over Baldwin meant the latter had a good chance to progress.

In the other semi final, Holmes crashed out on the first run giving Watson a half second advantage. Surely this would be too much and Holmes would face a third semi final elimination?

Baldwin took the battle to Corr in the first semi final and while Corr was ragged, Baldwin knew he had to make up for the time lost in the first leg. The ex British team and World Cup racer crossed the line with a 0.49 second advantage and progressed to the final.

Holmes could not make up the deficit in the second semi and it would be one of Britains best racers on snow over the last decade against one of the best dry slope racers of all time in the Final.

Sadly for Baldwin while Watson has not been a regular on the matting over the last two years, he still oozes class and had the measure of Baldwin to take both legs comfortably!

Great support from Rossignol and Ski Bartlett for the Women and Under 16 prizes and Winter Sports Foundation for the main event was hugely appreciated. With a little tinkering in terms of timing and programme and the event will surely grow further. Team Evolution have a great event here and organise it well. Next stop on the Da$h 4 Ca$h tour this summer is Stoke the night before the British Championship weekend. It is open to all and a great fun evening!

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