I became the inaugural English Snowboardcross Champion on the 23rd of June!
After making the trip down from Edinburgh to Manchester on the train, I stayed at my good friend and former British Snowboardcross Team rider Myles place. We feasted on homemade pizza, which Myles had made from scratch! So we catched up and indulged in a lot of tasty carbohydrates for the long day head!
Thankfully Myles lives only round the corner from Chill Factore, so we could enjoy a nice sleep, then get up, get ready and hop in the car. We turned up and the place was buzzing! Over 100 competitors had turned up for the first English Ski & Snowboard Cross Championships! We got signed up, said ‘Hi’ to organisers and catched up with a lot of friends from the scene, made some new ones too.
We had plenty of time to practice which was great, not often do you get to practice so long on a snowboardcross track, especially in the UK! The course was well made considering the obvious limitations of an indoor slope, it was technical and fast. Plenty of places to get caught out!
I managed to get plenty of practice, I may have snuck in a few more runs than most, but you learn to become sneaky after competing for a while! We then had qualification runs, we all had two attempts to see who would get down the course the fastest for each catergory and determine the seedings of the heats. I was in Open Men’s, so we were at the end of the snowboarders.
My first qualification run went well and I managed to complete the course in 14.85 Seconds, noone had broken the 15 second barrier. So I decided to sit out my second run and save my energy for the races.
Like I had hoped noone beat my qualification time so I was going into the heats ranked 1st. based upon the performance in timed runs, I’d have the easiest route to the final on paper, having gate choice in every race. Myles qualified 2nd, followed by TOM FARROW MY FELLOW BRITISH SNOWBOARDCROSS TEAM TEAMMATE
In my first race I won comfortably against one of the many keen university students, it was brilliant to see such a good turnout from them! The scene is showing great vibrancy and many are giving Snowboardcross a shot! I then had to wait quite a while till my next races as there was so many to be completed in order to have the finals at the same time, to make it good viewing for the spectators.
Rather than staying on the slopes and wasting energy on trying to stay warm I stayed inside a lot watching the races from the restaurant until it got closer to my race. There was some good racing and it was an exciting event for spectators!
My Semi-final came around where I was up against Charlie Bullock from Durham University. Charlie has spent the whole season cleaning up the British BUSC University competitions in the UK, so I knew he wasn’t to be taken too lightly, especially as he’s a lot bigger than me! I made sure I got a good start, pumped the rollers as hard as I could and made it into the first berm first, which as it turned out was more than often the key to winning the race as there were few other overtaking opportunities. After that I stayed on my feet and rode to the bottom winning.
In the other semi-final Myles had been beaten by Tom Farrow, so i would face Tom in the final. Tom has quickly progressed since joining the team 2 years ago to becoming one of the best riders on the circuit. After hanging around trying to keep warm for quite a while, we were ready to race.
I knew again it would be vital to get a good start again to get ahead and I made sure again. I got into the berm first and rode the rest of the course to the bottom winning, followed by Tom later. I’d become English Champion!
A total of 10 new English Champions were made on the day ranging from Kids to Masters! it was a brilliant event for all ages and it’s a brilliant step towards growing a grassroots competitive series for Snowboardcross in the UK! It is something that is really missing, we need more Olympians like Zoe Gillings that is for sure! I’ll be back again next year!
For more pictures of the event go to The ENGLISH SKI & SNOWBOARD CROSS CHAMPIONSHIPS Facebook Page.
All picture credit goes to Brandon Griffiths