Stoke Ski Centre 8 & 9th October
The 2011 ESSKIA season began with the regional races on 17th/18th September in some late summer sunshine. In stark contrast, the domestic races concluded at a grey and wet Stoke. Most of the regions were over-subscribed and a few schools had to travel further then they would have liked but such is the enthusiasm for these races that the number of schools and teams competing remain at an all time high.
The regional race organisers did a fantastic job and deserve high praise. They administered a new registration system and took on more autonomy for their races whilst dealing with the large number of schools and racers.
The finals at Stoke were very busy; especially Saturday where the morning and afternoon sessions had over 180 and 150 racers respectively. Not even the weather or the Rugby World Cup could dampen the spirits of the racers and I was delighted to see a large number of vocally supportive parents braving the roads and the weather to attend. The Open Championships on Sunday had a drier time of things and there was a rumour that the sun actually came out for a few moments….but this is just a rumour!
I would like to express my thanks to all the parents, teachers and helpers who made it possible for the races to take place. Without your input and support it would be impossible to run the event. As it was, the racers adapted well to the conditions and the challenges of the courses set by James Gilyead and James Greenwood which gave them the chance to show their ability. I hope that the races were enjoyed by new and experienced racers and young and not so young racers alike. There was some outstanding talent on display and some awesome individual performances. The future of English ski racing certainly looks bright!
On the results front, Alton College were the pick of the mixed teams, whilst Danes Hill – in their first finals took both U12 titles. A strong Cranmore team added to an impressive number of wins in the U14 boys with Ipswich HS, improving on their 2nd place of 2010 claiming top spot for the U14 girls. Richard Challoner school and the three Deighton boys won the U16 whilst the U16 Surbiton HS for girls took an unprecedented 6th consecutive title. The Surbiton girls also took the U19 title with Reed’s retaining the U19 boys crown.
In the Open Championships, honours went to the Surbiton girls and the Reed’s boys – although the latter only just squeezed out an excellent Berkhamsted team by 8 one hundredths of a second in a nail biting competition that went all the way down to the last racer. That last run saw James Sieber clinch both the individual title and the team title for Reed’s with Beth Widdup from Cltheroe RGS and the Ambition Racing team taking the girls individual title.
I look forward to next season and hope that we can match the highs from 2011.