Vallnord kicked off with fair conditions but the possibility of rain looming and threatening. For quite some time, promising young French rider Gaetan Vige held it down in the hot seat while rider after rider failed to topple him. Alex Marin was on a barn burner of a run and finally took Vige down by about 1.5 seconds right as the rain started picking up. Phil Atwill was on an incredible run, fighting for fractions of seconds but was .02 from taking out Marin.
Sam Blenkinsop looked incredible on track per usual, but failed to pull out a result. Young Irish pinner Jacob Dickson started off pinned but would go down on camera and throw his run away. UK national champ Greg Williamson seemed to have a couple of small mistakes up top, putting him a few seconds off quite early on.
With the rain fully at bay and sun out, Marcelo Gutierrez slipped split by split incrementally missing the hot seat by about 5 seconds. World Cup winner Alex Fayolle was riding the steeps incredibly well but still couldn’t touch Alex Marin at over 3 seconds back. Mark Wallace kept it consistent and picked up a touch of speed at every split and eventually overtook the hot seat from Marin. Connor Fearon was on an absolutely incredible run, up about a couple of seconds at one split, riding completely wild and unglued but would eventually succumb to a corner that he pushed too hard in.
Getting into more risk taking, Amaury Pierron was up at his first two splits but eventually crashed about halfway down the track. George Brannigan would hook his rear wheel on a tree…huge scorpion. Jack Moir was up by two seconds like so many others, succumbed to a crash that looked quite nasty. As Luca Shaw failed to appear on camera in due time, we eventually found that he had flatted.
Danny Hart was absolutely electrifying, rolling the dice and taking bat shit crazy lines the whole way down the track, dusting Mark Wallace by over 5 seconds. Bruni’s run looked like slo-mo compared to Hart’s with his calm, composed riding style. He was just 3 hundredths off of Danny’s time. Gwin would start out around 1.5 seconds behind Hart but grab back most of the time to only lose .15…
Loris Vergier didn’t appear to have any major issues on camera, but was just back at every split, despite taking some creative lines. Minnaar’s run was simply jaw dropping, down up top constantly seeking back bits of time and grabbing loads of time at over 2 seconds up on Danny Hart. Troy’s run was a complete nail biter. He started out up on Minnaar, lost time and then grabbed it back to win by just two hundredths of a second. This was the best race of the year…without question.
Morgan Charre was unfortunately hospitalized but by all reports she’s doing OK. Tracey Hannah crashed and would finish a ways back in 9th, giving Nicole Myriam her first win in quite some time. Being that it was on home turf must have made it extra sweet.
In men’s juniors, Finn Iles simply smashed it, winning by almost 5 seconds with a run that would have put him in 8th place in the Senior men’s category. He’ll definitely be one to watch over the years.
In women’s juniors, Megan James continued on with a win in finals after taking the top time in qualifying.