We are back racing! Festival Park in Stoke sets the way forward

It has taken a lot of work but Saturday 29 August sees the first race of the 2020 summer dry slope season. This was a weekend that should have seen the biggest dry slope race of the summer taking place, the All England Championships. Instead the summer of 2020 has seen Covid-19 take a control on what the human race can and cannot do.

Stoke held the English Open and the British Championships in 2019 as well as two club nationals earlier in the season. The slope has seen a lot of renovation over the last few years with a new freestyle park nearing completion as the latest development. From one slope, Stoke now has three to cater for more customers and make things more commercially viable. It is a constant attention to what the market wants that is making Stoke a leading player in the dry slope market.

So what of the racing? How will it work? With the traditional format of a Club National race on dry slopes being three runs with there first two runs being run in number order, covid-19 health requirements mean that there is a requirement for social distancing and as a result, the 110 racers on the start list are limited to those with over 80 BARTS points.

The race will be split into groups with each group having a scheduled time for arrival, bib collection, open practice, course inspection and then their three runs on the course as per a traditional Club National. Once they have done their three runs, they will have to leave the venue so that the next group can have their allowed time.

While this is a fun race and not a bona fide Club National, the winner of the race will be decided by the quickest one run time in each age group.

It has been noticeable this summer how much racers have missed their racing. Training sessions have started again across the country and also back out in Europe. The quarantine restrictions that are coming into force across Europe are making training opportunities harder to undertake.

There is a lot riding on the success of this event and while support of Ski Racing Supplies, Ski Bartlett’s, Team Evolution, who have just finished a camp in Stoke and Racer Ready, many will be watching to see if this is a viable option for more racing to happen this summer. For this to happen, racers, their fans and families, will all need to adhere to the rules set out. Failure to adhere will see the racer disqualified from the event.

Stoke and David Hanlon have put in a lot of work to get the race up and running, Let’s go racing!

Click here for the start list

Click here for the invitation

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