BREAKTHROUGH SEASON FOR ELLIOTT BENNETT

The 2016-17 season for Elliott is without a doubt his best to date.  We started off at the Ambition Champs in Hinterreit, Austria where 2 x slalom and 2 x GS races were to be contested.  Across the 4 separate slalom races Elliott picked up three 1st positions (one being joint with Jack Upton) and one 2nd place.  Very respectable results against a tough field!  Following the good form in the slalom races he then raced in the GS championships over the next 2 days. The first run did not go to plan and he finished 6th.  With nothing to lose on the second run he stepped up his game and moved into 3rd!  Confidence was gained from this and in the next races he finished 3rd and 2nd!  A lot was learnt from these races which was then taken onto the next set of races.

After the Ambition Champs he travelled to Reiteralm, Austria to compete in the Evo Speed Series consisting of 2 x Super G races and one Alpine Combined.  With limited training in the speed disciplines pre-season he did not know what to expect, so the game plan was to go flat out and see what happened.  This worked well for him and he placed 2nd in both Super G races and then used his slalom skills to take the overall win in the Alpine Combined.  A great start to the season, showing us the hard work he put in on Kandahar’s Summer and October camps was paying off.

Following on from the race in Austria, Elliott then travelled over to Bansko for a training block with his coach Dan Poth and Dad Russ.  The purpose of this trip was to rest for a bit, ski the mountain (and the 1 metre of powder it gave us) and then move back into training gates and drills.  8 days in he received a phone call telling him he had been selected to represent GBR in Andorra at international level due to his recent results!  This was great for him as it meant that people were recognising his results and improvement.  We managed to fit in a solid block of training slalom/GS before the international event with the ULEN Bansko ski team which was ideal.

As this was Elliott’s first competition at international level he went there not really knowing what to expect, which worked in his favour.  He skied well over the week and picked up some very consistent results.  Elliott finished 10th in GS, 6th in slalom, 7th in Alpine Combined and 6th in the Super G.  What was great about this week was that as a team GBR finished 2nd in the overall table, a great achievement from everyone.

Next up was the English Championships held in Bormio, Italy.  Elliott was lucky to fit in another training block before this event which was great as he was able to train on the race hill and back with his Kandahar team mates.  First race up was the slalom – due to a mistake on the first run which meant he had to hike, he placed 15th.  Although he was gutted, he pulled himself together on the second run to take the win!  Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough and he placed 11th overall.  The GS Championships was the following event and on the first run he placed 2nd, 0.04 behind his mate Ted Slade.  He believed he could take win so went flat out second run and took the overall GS English Championships by 0.10 seconds.  This was definitely the highlight of the season so far!!!  The final event was the SG and he placed 4th, narrowly missing the podium.  Due to the fairly consistent results during the week Elliott finished 2nd overall with all the events combined, a great end to a quality week.

Looking back at the season so far, we couldn’t ask for much more from Elliott.  He has used the quality training that he had in Norway in the Summer and Saas Fee in October and has put the skiing down when he needs to on race days.  There is still a lot of work to be done technically, but we are looking forward to seeing how he performs at the British Championships in Tignes at the end of the season.

Congratulations Ell on a great start, this is just the beginning!

By Dan Poth.

Pat Shepherd