So it seems that young Mr Nicholls’ impressive training at the Red Bull performance camp has paid off in spades – Jamie just finished 10th at the Burton New Zealand Open! Get in son. Despite the fact that the weather decided not to play ball, Jamie held it together to post a score of 69.8, beating the likes of Iouri Podlatchikov and Sebastien Toutant in the process.
On the day of the competition (which was today – the kiwis are nearly 12 hours ahead remember?) thick fog and rain descended on Cardrona. This made the course nigh-on impossible to ride and forced the organisers to change the format of the finals. Apparently the weather was so bad that Jamie had to wipe his goggles between hits, just to be able to see what was coming up! Of course, cos he’s from Yorkshire, we’d like to think Jamie’s used to that kind of thing…
In these shit-house conditions Burton’s very own Christian Haller held on impressively to end up as the best rider of the day. He threw down a run that consisted of a switch backside 720, Cab 900 and a frontside 7 tailgrab to take the first major TTR title of his career. Norwegian Gjermund Braaten finished up in second, which moved him up to the number one spot in the TTR rankings, while his countryman Mikkel Bang rounded out the top three.
In the women’s slopestyle, Jamie Anderson powered through the worsening conditions like a trooper, throwing down a run which included a boardslide-to-tailpress on the down bar, a switch backside 180, and a backside 360 mute. This was enough to put her in first place and take her top the top of the TTR leaderboard. Local hero Shelly Gotleib finished in second, with Kjersti Buaas claiming the third podium spot.
As well as being the biggest competition in the Southern Hemisphere, the New Zealand Open kicks off the annual battle for TTR ranking points, making it an important part of any serious contender’s calendar. The fact that Jamie Nicholls has posted such an good result (improving on his already impressive 13th at last year’s Burton European Open) bodes well for the rest of his season. If he continues with his current form, I think we can safely say we’ll be seeing Mr Nicholls standing on a podium at a major TTR event pretty soon. Let’s hope so!