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DRAMA AT THE BRITS - Jane Peel, Laax, Switzerland
Wednesday April 5, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

The Slopestyle and Big Air specialist Billy Morgan caused an upset by racing his way to the title of British Snowboard Cross Champion on Day Two at The British Snowboard and Freeski Championships. NEW

Morgan's win over GB team SBX racer Bradley Gaulter on Wednesday was by the closest margin imaginable - less than the length of his hand.

In the tightest finish ever seen at The Brits, the title had to be decided by a photo.

The rules of the governing body, FIS, were consulted.  They say the winner is the person who crosses the line first with any part of the equipment OR body.

Gaulter's snowboard crossed the line before Morgan's, but Morgan -  a  veteran of the World Cup circuit, though not in SBX - thrust his hand forward just at the right time.

To those watching the finish was just a blur and no one but the judges who viewed the footage knew who had won until the prize giving a few hours later.

This is how 28-year-old Morgan did it:

In a further show of force by athletes more used to throwing tricks than racing, Morgan's fellow World Cup Slopestyler Matt McCormick, also made the podium, taking the bronze medal.

SBX Overall podium The Brits 2017Gaulter, Morgan and McCormick
















When asked if he was considering a change of disciplines after the win, Morgan joked:  "I'm pretty done with slopestyle, I'm there", adding,  "I'm actually over the moon, and to be up there on the podium with my main man Matt McCormick."

Billy Morgan & Matt McCormickRacers for a day - Morgan and McCormick
















The Snowboard Cross also saw the Ski Sunday presenter and ex-pro Ed Leigh retain his title of champion in the Masters category for the over 30s.

Masters SBX podium Brits 2017Victorious Master Ed Leigh
















The entire Leigh family - his wife Sian, 10-year-old daughter Suki, and son Oscar, who's 8 - took part in the competition, though only Ed made it onto the podium.

Ed & Oscar LeighEd & Oscar Leigh
















 .Snowboard Cross at The Brits 2017Billy Morgan leads in his semi-final















Snowboard Cross The Brits 2017Snowboard Cross
















There were impressive displays from the youngest competitors.

Two phenomenal 10-year-olds Mia Brookes and Charlie Lane took the gold medals in the girls' and boys' under-12 competition, their times in qualification rivalling many of the adult racers. 

Both had also been victorious in their age group in the Snowboard Slopestyle discipline on Tuesday.

Mia BrookesMia Brookes, aged 10



















For the first time at the Brits, three athletes from the British Parasnowsport team joined the racing on the Laax cross course.

Owen Pick, James Barnes-Miller and Darren Swift all competed to a high level in the Open and Masters competitions

Pick became the first Brits adaptive gold medallist.  Barnes-Miller picked up the silver and Swift the bronze

For all the results in the SBX competition click here.

The Ski Slopestyle contest almost fell victim to the weather for the second year in a row, with dense cloud forcing a delayed start and then disrupting the competition.

In the end, only one run was possible, with Olympian Katie Summerhayes and her fellow GB Park & Pipe elite squad member Cal Sandieson taking the Overall titles of British Champion.

Katie SummerhayesKatie Summerhayes - photo Bluebird Photography














Cal Sandieson Brits 2017 Overall Ski Slopestyle championCal Sandieson - photo Bluebird Photography















Cal Sandieson was joined on the podium by Mike Rowlands (silver) and Chris McCormick (bronze).

Summerhayes shared the Women's Overall podium with the young siblings 12-year-old Kirsty Muir (silver) and Fiona Muir,  who's just 10 (bronze). 

Have a look at our report from last October when Kirsty was identified as one to watch.

Overall Ski Slopestyle Brits 2017Katie Summerhayes & the Muir sisters
















Katie Summerhayes said she was stoked to retain her Slopestyle title.

"It was a tricky day with the clouds, but we managed to get the comp done and I was happy to put a run down. It is so good to have the young riders coming through and see them throw down their tricks."

All the results in the Ski Slopestyle are available here.

Read our report of Day One at The Brits.

On Day Three of competition on Thursday, the skiers will be taking on the biggest half-pipe in the world, while the snowboarders will compete in the Big Air.

PlanetSKI will bring you all the action from our prime slopeside spot.

The BRITS is supported by partners: LAAX, Picture Organic Clothing, Swiss International Airlines, Swiss Travel System, Switzerland Tourism and British Ski & Snowboard (BSS).

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.

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