Maj Paul Chishick, Chairman Cresta
2020 was a fairly landmark season for Services Cresta. We had some very competitive racing on Interservices Day, with the Army taking the Prince Philip Trophy for the second year running. Snowy conditions meant that the ice was more forgiving than normal, but challenging for the faster riders to get their best times. The Army, however, were in a strong position from the start and consolidated over the subsequent two courses. Captain Tom Wythe won the Lord Trenchard (individual race) and the Auty Speed Cup with a time of 55.88 – impressive given the conditions, followed by Surg Cdr Potter and the author, in second and third places respectively. The Army took first place in the team competition with the RAF taking second place for the first time in some years, after a very close battle between with the Navy team, in the end with less than one second between the two teams over the three courses.
Services Ladies riding continues to go from strength to strength. In the Services’ Ladies race, the Army again took the individual prize, with 2Lt Kinny Evans, winning the junction individual race. Leading Naval Nurse Belcher, one of the Navy’s novice riders this year, was the first lady to ride from Top in her first season (potentially the first ever) – an extremely impressive achievement. This put her and the Navy ladies’ team clearly in first place, followed by the Army and the RAF, again with less than a second between second and third places.
After many years of campaigning, Cresta has now been granted Category 2 Sport status, which is a considerable help to the sport and will help bring parity to the personal contributions of participants in Cresta and other ice sports. Sadly, the same year that this came about was the year of COVID-19, meaning that we will have to wait until 2021 to make the most of this new opportunity. We remain hugely grateful to the chairman and trustees of the UKAFWSA for their support in this long-running campaign, as well as the St Moritz Tobogganing Club for the leaps forward it has taken in the last few years.
It has been a highly competitive season in all races on the Cresta and I must pass on our thanks to all of the Services’ very generous sponsors, for their continued support.
This coming season was looking to be highly promising, and we had a novel plan that had been approved by the club, to try to increase riding for all services and increase the number of novices, gaining more time on the ice for all. However, sadly this will have to be postponed to the 2021/22 season. We look forward to a strong season next year and to see increased participation on the Run.