The Under-16’s entered the fray and NJR on Stella Alpina meant plenty of medals as the English Alpine Championships continued to enthral on day two. A spellbinding floodlight team parallel drew the curtain on a topsy-turvy day of racing across Stella Alpina and Stelvio with Team Ambition the big winners. Marc Telling’s outfit claimed victory in the night parallel, with outstanding individual displays from Katie Stuart, Lois Jackson and Sophie Foster making it a day to remember for those in light blue. Ambition’s A team, consisting of Foster, Arthur Bartlett, Ryan Pye, Gregor Munro and Kaylan Huisman took the spoils in three hours of head-to-head drama in the team event.
Stella was in all of her glory in the early morning, course-setters performing their magic on the powder to allow U18 and U21 racers to let go of the shackles in the giant slalom. Sarah Woodward made hay before the sun rose with an opening-run 53.75s, but the Hampshire racer sadly didn’t finish her second run after a tantalising taste of her talent. It was instead left to Ambition colleague Katie Stuart to take the honour of top Brit, recovering from the loss of her skis on opening day for overall 11th in a combined 1:53.68. “It’s my fourth time in Bormio – I’ve always liked the hills here, it’s always sunny and the atmosphere is great,” said the Scot. “I think my target this week would be just to improve on previous years and keep totting up my points, getting closer to the leaders all the time.”
Lois Jackson scooped the honour of first English in the under-18’s with a particularly impressive first run that saw her swoop into sixth from bib 18. “I came into sixth and I was quite surprised by that. My second run I was skiing really well too,” said the 17-year-old, closely followed by Ciorstaidh Struthers. “I came into the bottom and got caught on the back seat, that struck a lot of speed, but I was pleased. I think I just skied well – I think I was clean and went for it.” Suffolk’s Kath Bailey grabbed first English in the under-21s, where Elsa Powell-Dooley and Cerys Gorringe also excelled to finish second and third on the rostrum.
Among the men Leonidas Karavasili roared over Stella, skiing clean and underscoring his giant slalom reputation by claiming overall third in the NJR. The Team Evolution racer, first English at U21, upgraded an opening-day finish of 21st with times of 50.92s first up and then 51.44s. “I was just trying to ski clean because I made some costly mistakes on Sunday,” he said. “I was just trying not to get in any trouble and I pulled it off.”
Owen Vinter was Mr. Consistent in clocking 51.95s and 51.42s for 17th, first British at U18 with Tom Hudson first English in that age bracket. The 16’s is a fiercely contested field this year, replete with GB racers and the standard of competition was commensurately high on Stelvio. British team-mates Elliott Bennett and Ted Slade led out the field with a one-two in the opening rubber, but the Championships race went to the impressive Scott Johns.
It was Foster who stole the show on Stelvio, however, 58.03s in the afternoon’s Championship race representing a towering effort after disqualification in the morning race. “I’m so happy, I didn’t think I could pull it out of the bag, with the nerves and worrying about whether I would crash again,” said Foster. “Super-G is one of my favourites, with the adrenalin and the fear, but I love all the events so I’m so excited for the rest of the week.”