Snowboarders from around the globe descended on Hotham today for race one of the FIS Australia New Zealand Continental Cup SBX. Competitors from Japan, the US, Korea and Australia rode head-to-head in thrilling knockout finals as they competed for valuable Continental Cup points.
After winning his heat in effortless style, it appeared to be only a formality for Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin to capture his eighth national title but experimentation with a different race strategy, combined with the unpredictability of snowboard cross racing changed everything.
Race one of the series was won by American Chris Mahaney, followed by Australian young gun and Hotham rider, Cam Bolton and Japan’s Shinya Momono in third place. Cam Bolton from Melbourne qualified fastest for the finals.
“Looking at it from my prospective, it would have been better to be in front but at the same time these sorts of races are an option for me to test difference race strategies,” Pullin said.
“Racing on a smaller course (compared to World Cup events) there is a much higher chance of contact. It was a risky move and something where you rely on the other riders as well.
“You might say why would you not race in front all the time but the fact is that there are times and courses like the X Games in Aspen (USA) where you need to know how to play the drafting game.
“In some cases when you are in front on a bigger course competitors will draft straight past you and you will go from first to last in 20 metres.”
Pullin has an opportunity to turn his fortunes around when he lines up against his rivals from five nations at Hotham tomorrow for the second leg of the series.
In the women's final, Australian riders captured a clean sweep of all podium places, with Hotham athlete Alexandra Lockie crossing the line ahead of Belle Brockhoff and Anabel Tudhope.
Click here for the results of today's FIS Australia New Zealand Continental Cup SBX Race 1
Image - Alex 'Chumpy' Pullin ripping it up.
06 August 2011