Wednesday was a bloody epic day out here at the Brits. Not only was there not a single cloud in the sky and some incredible powder to be had (that we definitely made the most of...), but the Battle at the Brits was won on the playing fields of Tignes by a youthful squad of British footsoldiers, who emerged victorious against a formidable French regiment.
The setup was a simple but effective one: a square down rail at the top of the course with a choice of three mellow boxes at the bottom - a long picnic bench was the most popular, with a wavy box and battleship (fitting eh?) style box also available to hit.
Like in many of history's best battles, the tactics involved were straightforward: after an open jam session, two nominated captains would select a team of four riders to fight for their nation and would pick which of their riders to pitch against opposing riders once they had watched their runs. Each rider would have one run in each of the two rounds. In the first round the Frenchies dropped first giving British Master General Andy Nudds the opportunity to choose which of his riders to pair up to challenge them. In the second round it was the other way round with the Brits setting the standard.
Flying the flag for the team UK under captain Andy Nudds were Will Gilmore, Fin Bremner, Becky Menday and Jake Binnee who took on Maco, Sam, Tom, Mia and by far the best named chap in the bunch - Yo. The first round of hits couldn't have gone any better for the Brits with 10 year old Will Gilmore wowing the assembled crowd and easily beating his older, and much bigger, French counterpart with a bolts 270 on, 270 off on the down rail.
Jake Binnee tried to mix things up by unstrapping his back foot and although he stomped his one-foot boardslide, couldn't quite control his speed on the run out and wiped out. Becky Menday also put down a super clean run and when the dust had settled after the first round the judges had awarded the Brits with 3 wins over the Frenchies 2. One of the French riders apparently said that Becky was the best female rail rider he'd ever seen - quite the compliment!
The second round was an equally exciting affair with Fin Bremner getting super tech with a front blunt, switch up, 270 out on the down rail and Nuddsy double hand-dragging across the picnic bench. The French riders knew they had to step up their game to compete and started pulling some big tricks out of their proverbial (camo) bags. Because he'd been riding so well all afternoon, captain Nudds opted to let young Will Gilmore drop in last for team UK. And in true British style, he failed to disappoint, putting down a picture perfect backside lipslide on the rail.
Although we had a hunch that the Brits had done enough to clench the win, we had to wait with baited breath for the final result. And the final score? Brits 6, Frenchies 4. A fookin' incredible result!
While the French could have called foul play owing to the fact that both judges were British, anyone watching the competition (regardless of allegiance) would have agreed that the young Brits were riding more cleanly and stomping more tricks. In other words, the right team definitely won. Would've been rubbish for the Brits to get schooled at their own rail jam eh?
Despite losing out, the Frenchies were great sports and it was smiles all round for team UK who all picked up brand new Penny skateboards on top of a bunch of Whitelines stash. It was rad seeing such a young team out-perform older riders who have so much incredible terrain right on their doorstep - it really is a testament to how talented our young rail riders are.
And while we had to applaud the French riders for giving it their all, we couldn't help but have a wee chuckle amongst ourselves. It's always nice to beat the French eh?
Nice one team UK, you done Wellington proud.