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World Champ Aussie Pullin sets sights on eighth national title at Hotham
Sunday, 7 August 2011
Australia’s reigning snowboard cross world champion, Alex “Chumpy” Pullin, will headline a field of internationals competing at Victoria’s Hotham Alpine Resort this weekend as part of the coveted Suzuki National Snowsport Championships.
After creating snowboard history by winning his first world championship in Spain earlier this year and then two months later finishing the 2010/2011 World Cup season on top of the points tally to snatch the prized Crystal Globe Trophy, the Australian Institute of Sport scholarship holder is a hot favourite to win his eighth national title.
But the world’s number one ranked snowboard cross athlete knows only too well just how unpredictable his sport can be and one minute mistake could see the title slip from his grasp.
Waiting to pounce will be Argentinian Franco Ruffini, Australians Andy Fischer and Cam Bolton or any of the other 19 talented boarders from five nations, including the USA, Japan and Korea, all wanting to get their hands on the Suzuki National Snowsport Championships trophy.
Ben Wordsworth, head coach of Australia’s snowboard team, said that Pullin is approaching this weekend with his normal commitment and determination and is leaving nothing to chance.
“Make no mistake Chumpy is out to win this weekend,” Wordsworth said.
“Everytime he competes, Chumpy wants to win. It doesn’t matter where he races, what stage of the season it is or who he is competing against, a win is a win. He is a great competitor.”
This weekend will be the first time Pullin has raced since he edged out his closest friend on the tour, Frenchman Pierre Vaultier, to win the World Cup. Hotham will also provide the only chance Australian fans will have to see Pullin race on home snow this year.
Pullin has spent the last two months preparing for the Suzuki series and the upcoming World Cup tour. As he is now the man to beat every time he competes anywhere in the world, this year’s pre-season training needed to be even more intense than ever before.
The national snowboard cross championship, which has been held at Hotham for the last four years, will be contested on a course designed by Wordsworth.
He describes it as a technical layout, offering a challenging range of burms, jumps and features. The course is expected to take about one minute from the gate to the finish line.
The course was built by Hotham staff, under Wordsworth’s guidance, and took a week to complete. The weekend’s action will consist of practice, time trials, heats and a final on both Saturday and Sunday and will also form the first two legs of the three stop Australia/New Zealand Cup, which heads to Cardrona, NZ, on August 19.