Victory for the Swedish at the JPMorgan Asset Management Winter Challenge Series 17/1/06
Sweden’s Bjorn Hansen secured a place in the JPMorgan Asset Management Winter Match Race Challenge and became the first non-British national to earn a slot in the much anticipated final (10-12 March). Racing at the Queen Mary Reservoir, Staines, Hansen and his team will join Ian Williams, Mark Campbell-James, Andrew Cornah and Iain Percy at the Grade 2 final in March.
Bjorn Hansen (SWE), ranked 12th in the world and the highest ranked competitor at the event, joined teams from Poland, Italy, Switzerland and the UK to match race in the RYA’s J/80 fleet. Hansen started strongly by winning all his matches on the first day. Andrew Cornah (GBR) was also able to finish the first day of racing undefeated with Mark Campbell-James (GBR) and Rasmus Viltoft (DEN) finishing not far behind.
Sunday brought slightly stronger winds and some excellent racing. Hansen and his team seemed to struggle through their first few races, losing matches against Przemek Tarnacki (POL), Campbell-James and Cornah. With Cornah posting only one loss, Cornah and his team won the round-robin with Campbell-James in second, Hansen in third and Viltoft in fourth. The top four went through to the semi-finals leaving Nick Cherry (GBR) and Roberto Ferrarese (ITA) to battle it out for fifth place.
With a best of three races established for the semi-finals, competitors geared up for a fast and furious series. Cornah seemed to comfortably win his semi-final against Viltoft. Next on the water were Campbell-James and Hansen. In the first match Campbell-James won the start, then Hansen broke through only to see Campbell-James scramble back on the final down wind leg and win the first match. In match two Hansen gave Campbell-James a penalty in the pre-start and got quickly off the line, going on to win. After taking the second match, Hansen confidently took the third earning a place for his team in the final against Cornah.
The finals, again a best of three format, kicked off with Cornah executing a cracking start at full speed giving him a lead throughout the race and a win. In race two Hansen remained focused, fought hard and pulled in back to one race all. The third and final race saw the two teams go neck and neck on the way to the leeward mark. Hansen got the better of Cornah and sailed him past the mark where in a twist of fate Cornah’s spinnaker got caught in the forestay and Hansen slipped away to take the victory.
The series continues with the next qualifying weekend to be held on 28-29 January 2006.
1 Bjorn Hansen, Carl Kjerstadius, Mathias Bredin, Anders Jonsson (SWE)
2 Andrew Cornah, Andrew Bryson, Guy Brearey, Rob Miller, Simon Morris (GBR)
3 Mark Campbell-James, Dave Mason, Andrew Yates and Andy Clark
4 Rasmus Viltoft (DEN)
5 Nick Cherry (GBR)
6 Roberto Ferrarese (ITA)
7 Alistair Hall (GBR)
8 Przemek Tarnacki (POL)
9 Marcel Walser (SUI)