Club news - 12/5/8
By Alastair Dargie, Team Coach
Both Andrew Musgrave (18) and Andrew Young (16) gained world cup qualification - something no one from Britain has done since 1995 and they where the best performances in terms of FIS points since 1994. Here is the latest report from the team
Following the change of dates and venues for the Junior World Championships from Poland to Italy the final race camp for the junior team originally scheduled for Poland had to be altered to an extra race camp organised at short notice. The Hiihto Cup in Finland was selected as the final race camp of the season, with the races right on the border of Sweden and Finland just on the edge of the Arctic Circle. It was going to be a tough long weekend with 4 races on 4 consecutive days, at 4 separate venues with considerable distances to travel between. The team arrived 2 days before and in the first 2 days did reconnaissance trips to each of the venues, trying to learn the course profiles and any technical corners. The team also managed to find time to fit in a trip to visit one of the stunning ice hotels.
The first race on 20th of March in Tornio was not only the first race for the Youth team members, but was also the first time the team had raced at sea level. The snow conditions for all of the races was good with constant cold weather, temperatures overnight below -20 and during the day hovering around -10. The cold snow conditions made a pleasant change from the wet snow the team has been racing on for most of the winter in central Europe. The first race course was the flattest and least technical of the courses, however the competition was going to be tough with the seniors competing. These included Sami Jauhojaervi (ranked 23rd in the world and fresh from 5th place in the world cup finals in Bormio), Jaak Mae (ranked 31st in the world and fresh from 2nd place in the Estonian World Cup), along with the reigning Olympic Classic champion Andrus Veerpalu. Not to mention almost a dozen other skiers with World cup starts under their belts.
Fiona Hughes started off a strong weekend of performancesd finishing 17th Junior and 20.68% off the senior winner, gaining 260.68 points. In the men's races Callum Smith and Simon Spencer had a great opening race finishing 21.66 and 22.42 percent behind the senior winner and scoring 195.38 and 201.46 points respectively. However the first astounding results of the weekend came from Andrew Musgrave and Andrew Young finishing 9.3 and 12.23% off the winner. This meant Andrew Musgrave not only smashed the 120 FIS points required for World cup selection, but cruised under the 100 point mark with 96.51 FIS points. Equally amazing was Andrew Young’s performance at the tender age of just 16 in his first ever FIS race just scraping under the qualification bar with 119.94 FIS points.
Following the excitement of the previous evening the team refocused for the races in Pello, a more testing track than the first day just inside the Arctic Circle. Keen to build on the previous days results Fiona Hughes improved her percent behind the winner to 18.98% and got better FIS points of 242.32. Callum Smith and Simon Spencer had slightly better performances to the previous day coming 19.02 and 20.34% behind the senior winner and gaining 223.78 and 234.91 points. The two Andrews continued their good form with slightly worse percentages behind the winner, but still highly respectable with Musgrave finishing 10.29 and Young 13.75% behind the winner. Andrew Musgrave’s result gained another world cup qualifier of 104.96 with Andrew Young a little outside with 132.67points.
After a good nights sleep the team was rejuvenated for the final race at Ylitornio where the team had been staying for the week. Fiona Hughes upped her game to finish 18.94% off the winner and gained her best FIS points of the season in a skate race with 226.17 points. Callum and Simon confirmed their form for the week with finishes 19.34 and 20.54% behind the winner gaining 195.98 and 205.62 points. For a change Andrew Musgrave had to fight to be Britain’s first finisher, with Andrew Young challenging for the position finishing just 9 seconds behind Andrew Musgrave. Had it not been for a fall by Young the result would probably have been the other way round. Amazingly after 3 days of intense racing they both managed to have their best performances of the season.
Andrew Musgrave finished just 6.44% off the winner gaining 92.82 points again scoring under the 120 point qualification.
•Support to the athletes has increased by 4 times from what had been available in the past years.
The team, coaches and supporters can look back on this season with a very large smile! This year has seen many challenges and many lessons that need to be learned. Next year the support offered will once again be increased. We can look forward next year to a good season full of major championships and high level competition. The team would like to express its thanks and appreciation to its sponsors Nexen, Mcintosh plant Hire, Swix, Fischer skis, Rab clothing, Polar, High5 and Craft for their sponsorship and support during the year.