British Champion!

On April the 1st I won the British Snowboard Cross Championships at The Brits in Tignes, France! No April fools, it’s snow joke, it really happened, so very happy to finally win the prestigious title after being a runner up on the podium the last two years.

Here’s is a little account of the day!

Finish line

I travelled from my base in Morzine, France to the British Championships (a.k.a The Brits) in Tignes, France to compete in the snowboard cross event. We started early and picked our bibs up, making our way up to the track.

It was a pretty simple track, which was suitable for all levels, however it still had some challenging bits of terrain, such as the the roller section about halfway down the track and a tight S turn at the bottom which caught out plenty of people.

I got about 3 training runs down before our qualifying runs and felt confident. It was a scorcher of a day and I ended up getting sunburnt, despite putting on a couple of layers of suncream and sticking to the shade where possible.

  • Waiting at the top ready to go Waiting at the top ready to go (c) Laurie Baker/www.the-brits.com
  • Hiding in the shade! Hiding in the shade! (c) Laurie Baker/www.the-brits.com
  • Training Training (c) Derek Osborne
  • Training with Tom Training with Tom (c) Derek Osborne
  • Simon breaking a sweat preparing all our boards to run fast Simon breaking a sweat preparing all our boards to run fast (c) Sam McMahon
     

 

We got two qualifying runs, my second run was the faster, putting in me in 1st place by over a second from my nearest rival. This gave me gate of choice, so I could pick the gate I wanted to start from in each race. The top 16 raced in 4 by 4 heats, top two would progress through each round.

As I had qualified 1st, I got the ‘easiest’ route to the final, avoiding those ranked 2nd and 3rd, my British team mates who compete with me at a high level around Europe. The quarter and semi final were relatively easy, and after getting ahead after the start section, I could then cruise the rest of the way to the bottom and take it easy on the tricky parts of the course.

 

  • Start of Quarter Final Start of Quarter Final (c) Laurie Baker/www.the-brits.com
  • Over the first table top, suck it up! Over the first table top, suck it up! (c) Laurie Baker/www.the-brits.com
  • Leading my Quarter Final Leading my Quarter Final (c) Derek Osborne
  • Over the rollers Over the rollers (c) Derek Osborne
  • Quarter Final Heat Quarter Final Heat (c) Derek Osborne
  • Squashing the first table top, stay on the ground for speed! Squashing the first table top, stay on the ground for speed! (c) Laurie Baker/www.the-brits.com
  • Semi Final Semi Final (c) Derek Osborne
  • Semi Final leading into the fun rollers Semi Final leading into the fun rollers (c) Derek Osborne
  • Preparing for the pumping! Preparing for the pumping! (c) Laurie Baker/www.the-brits.com
  • Squatting the rollers Squatting the rollers (c) Laurie Baker/www.the-brits.com
     

The final was much more of a showdown, I was up against my biggest rivals who both really wanted to win the championships too. I feel I wanted it more though, my season had been so tough with financial setbacks and my appendix bursting and putting me out of competition for two months. I really wanted a good result to turn the season into a positive one.

I was preparing as best as I could, I was making sure my board was prepped with the right wax before the rest so I could get on with my other preparations. I ate some food to keep my energy levels up and drank some water to keep hydrated, I found all the shade I could and kept cool, whilst warming my muscles up with various exercise. I had the start and course visualised in my head, I knew which gate I was using, against much to the debate of my coach and I was ready. I knew if I had done everything I could to prepare for this final I wouldn’t be upset with the outcome, as I had done everything I could do to win.

The others were much more relaxed, although I’m good friends with them I kept myself to myself to stay focused. As we got in the start gates the others were getting pumped up to ride, I was silently amped and ready to pounce out of the start gate. The others were psyching themselves up loudly, but I stood poised and waited gritting my teeth. After waiting quite a while for the organisers for the start, we were ready.

At the start I burst out the gate even with the others and on the first jump soon after I started to edge ahead, on the rollers I managed to get a board length on them and took the line I wanted cutting across ahead the others for the first corner. From thereon I picked the lines I wanted, being a bit more tight and defensive than usual but pushing as hard as I could, I looked back once about halfway and could see them close on my tail so I kept pushing. It wasn’t until I got past the difficult S turn at the bottom I looked back and I was far ahead. I shouted ‘yes’ and cruised to the finish line punching the air.

  • Neck and neck start! Neck and neck start! Laurie Baker/www.the-brits.com
  • Snuck ahead after the first two corners Snuck ahead after the first two corners (c) Derek Osborne
  • The start of the big pump The start of the big pump (c) Derek Osborne
  • Generating speed, no looking back! Generating speed, no looking back! (c) Derek Osborne
  • Don't wanna get bucked by these big rollers! Don't wanna get bucked by these big rollers! Laurie Baker/www.the-brits.com
  • Tricky tabletop after this Tricky tabletop after this (c) Derek Osborne
  • After looking back a second time I was clear enough ahead to relax (and Celebrate!) After looking back a second time I was clear enough ahead to relax (and Celebrate!) (c) Sam McMahon
     

It was a strange feeling, I was still so focused and was ready to go for another race. Whilst the others cheered in jubilation I was silently coming to terms with becoming British Champion. The season had been so hard and it crossed my mind many times that I wasn’t as fit as I could be or in the right mental state to win.

I took the lift back up to collect my things at the top of the course and started contacting my friends and family who have been supporting me over the years, thanking them and I got a bit emotional, it was nice to finally be known as a British Champion after all the hard work.

It wasn’t until I was stood on the podium a few hours later spraying champagne until I could really celebrate, it was my first champagne shower and a proud moment, hopefully it won’t be my last!

  • Champion! Champion! (c) Sam McMahon
  • Had a little shred after the race with Norfolk boy and event MC James Thorne Had a little shred after the race with Norfolk boy and event MC James Thorne
  • 1st - Me, 2nd - Tom Farrow, 3rd - Max Thidling 1st - Me, 2nd - Tom Farrow, 3rd - Max Thidling (c) Laurie Baker/www.the-brits.com
  • All of the Pro Snowboard Coaching Team with our SBX medals, clean sweep! All of the Pro Snowboard Coaching Team with our SBX medals, clean sweep!
     

I’m now English, British and British Indoor Champion!

Thanks to all those that supported me through the year: Mum & Dad, Heriot-Watt Sports UnionSnowfit Revolutionzmy Travel CashVölkl Snowboards21 ProVitaminJFitnessNorfolk Snowsports ClubLangley School & Crowdfunder!

The media exposure that the win has brought me has been great, check out below some of the coverage I’ve had, click the pictures for the full stories.

  • Whitelines event report Whitelines event report
  • Eastern Daily Press Eastern Daily Press Wise crowned British snowboardcross king Print and Online
  • Snowboard Club UK (SCUK) Report Snowboard Club UK (SCUK) Report
  • In The Snow report In The Snow report
  • World Snowboard Guide World Snowboard Guide
  • Edinburgh Evening News Edinburgh Evening News Kyle Wise Nets British Title
  • Brits official PR Brits official PR
  • Norwich Evening News Norwich Evening News Print and Online
  • Norwich Advertiser Norwich Advertiser Print and Online
  • Watton & Swaffham Watton & Swaffham Print and Online
  • Stupid Clothing Blog Stupid Clothing Blog