TORQUAY Alpine Ski Club racer Cameron Thomas put on a brave performance in the final races of the winter season in France despite a high-speed crash in Super-G training.
Thomas, 15, from Brixham College, had a promising start to the week at the Scottish Ecosse races in Courchevel, finishing fifth overall after the first run in the U16 slalom in poor weather conditions. Unfortunately, an error on the second run put paid to an overall top-five position. Day two proved better for Thomas, with a solid first run time in the 26-gate giant slalom, as conditions on the World Cup piste improved.
Lying in fifth overall after the first run, a podium was in reach for Thomas, but he had left a bit too much time to make up. Thomas was still able to put in a fast second run time, maintaining fifth overall.
The following day saw a move to Meribel for the Delancey British National Alpine Ski Championships, with more than 100 top racers competing. The Championships started with Super-G training – one run only down the course, reaching speeds of 60-70 mph. This event saw some of the most spectacular crashes of the championships, including Thomas, who landed on his back and was fortunate not to have done some serious damage. The weather had again deteriorated and the race was delayed for several hours due to fog.
“You could barely see one or two gates in front of you and officials were close to cancelling the race”, said Thomas.
“Nothing quite prepares you for a crash at high-speed, but in ski-racing, you have to live dangerously.
“It shook me up for sure and this was reflected in my race result the following day.
“Having watched a video of the crash, it is pretty chilling!”
Thomas remained undeterred for the remaining races, as he produced a good first run down the 37-gate slalom course.
Lying in seventh place overall after the first run, a big mistake on the second run cost him dearly, pushing him back down.
The final day of giant slalom was make or break for Thomas, who was determined to secure a top-10 place. This he did, after second run which placed him seventh.
“It has been a week of mixed fortunes”, said Thomas, who now moves to the junior category and FIS races next year.
“I am pleased to have managed some top-five and top-10 positions, especially after not training or racing as much this year due to a knee injury.
“I went over to France in mid-February for the first time this season, which was quite late, but I had to be patient to ensure my knee was fully recovered.
“My pre-race training had gone better than my race results show.
“I felt fast and consistent, but I now need to work on converting this on race days.
“Overall though, I’m really happy with my results in the children’s category over the past few years and feel that I am maintaining my ranking across all disciplines as I move to juniors.”