Driving down the slopes

THIS quintet of Suffolk men could be about to earn themselves cult status on the ski slopes of Austria as they prepare to launch a real-life English version of the hit film Cool Runnings.

Stuart Watson

THIS quintet of Suffolk men could be about to earn themselves cult status on the ski slopes of Austria as they prepare to launch a real-life English version of the hit film Cool Runnings.

Following in the footsteps of the 1993 movie - which saw four Jamaicans launch an hilarious bid to enter a bobsleigh team into the 1988 Winter Olympics - this group of skiing amateurs will be racing against some of the sport's world greats in an international giant slalom competition.

However, the exploits of England A - comprising David Marr, Kristian Day, Jerry Proctor, Matt Gissing and Lee Dinmore - are not quite as ridiculous as they first sound because they stand a very good chance of winning.


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The reason is that, in addition to their slalom race times, scores for the competition are also derived from two rounds of golf - and the Suffolk team all play off low, single-figure handicaps.

England A team leader David Marr explains how they came about entering the Ski & Golf World Championships, which begin in Austria's renowned Zell am See resort on May 14.

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He said: “My wife and I have been going to the resort for skiing holidays for the past 20 years. Last year I was introduced to this guy at a birthday party in the neighbouring resort of Kaprun who happened to be the organiser for this event. He asked me if I played golf and when I said yes he told me about the competition and suddenly I was entering a team.”

Although Marr is an experienced skier, at 52 years old he does not have age on his side when it comes to competing against a field that will contain a number of Winter Olympians, including current Alpine Skiing World Cup champion Bode Miller. In Jerry Proctor the team does have a former ski instructor, while Dinmore is a fairly advanced holiday skier. However youngsters Day and Gissing have literally only tried the sport a handful of times.

But, just like the Jamaican bobsleigh team, England A will have an expert coach to get them up to scratch in the form of Hans Brucker, the man who coached Hermann Maier, four-time world champion.

Marr said: “It could be a little bit like Cool Runnings and I'm sure some people will be expecting us to dribble down the slope.Our hearts will be in our mouths once we get to the start gate. However, what we've got to remember is that some of the skiers will probably be feeling the same come the first tee.”

The competition format will see the four best slalom times for each team combined and multiplied by four to give them a par for two rounds of golf. As a result, every second slower the Suffolk team completes the ski course in effectively gives them four more shots to make up on their opponents over 36 holes.

stuart.watson@archant.co.uk

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