Charlotte Bankes and Huw Nightingale took home the first World Championships gold medal in Snowboard Cross Mixed Team history for Team Great Britain. Team Austria wins silver and Team France gets bronze.
It was a thrilling, close and wet competition on Thursday, March 2, 2023 at the Lesser Caucasus Mountains in Bakuriani, Georgia. As the single event on Wednesday also the mixed team event had to take place two days earlier, as the weather forecast for Friday and Saturday didn’t look too promising.
Unfortunately, the weather on Thursday wasn’t so good either and the athletes had to handle a mix between rain and snow. Gladly the slope was still good enough to race and everyone is more than happy that we saw two amazing days of racing here in Georgia.
Mixed Team events are always something special and emotional for the athletes as it provides a unique opportunity for them to compete in a team event as they usually focus on their individual results.
Amends for Bankes
In Thursday’s big final we saw Chloe Trespeuch and Merlin Surget representing Team France in red, Team Austria with Pia Zerkhold and winner of the previous day which means current World Champion Jakob Dusek in green, Beijing 2022 Olympic Champion Team Event, Team USA with previous day bronze medal winner Lindsey Jacobellis and Nick Baumgartner in blue and in yellow Charlotte Bankes and Huw Nightingale representing Great Britain.
21-year-old Nightingale was leading the first part of the course, followed by Surget, Dusek and Baumgartner. Dusek gained so much speed in the roller section in the middle of the course, that he managed to not only overtook Surget but also Nightingale. Right before the finish line the young Great Britain also got passed by Surget. The three men were so close to each other that their female teammates almost started simultaneously with only 0,04 and 0,07 seconds behind the Austrian.
The only one who had to start with the maximum penalty time of four seconds was Olympic champion Jacobellis, because of a crash of her teammate Baumgartner.
Bankes and Trespeuch had the fastest reaction and rode into the first bank head-to-head. Bankes who took the inside line in the upcoming bank gained more speed and took over the lead.
Zerkhold managed to get into Trespeuch’s slipstream where she gained enough speed to overtake her in the roller section, but Trespeuch didn’t give up and fought back her second place right before the last turn. From here on it was an back and forth for team France and Austria, which Zerkold could win in the end.
After a dark day for Bankes in the single event, where she didn’t even reach the finals, she couldn’t believe, that together with her teammate Nightingale she can now call World Champion in the Snowboard Cross team event. She was so happy that she didn’t even know if she was more happy after she won the World championships title on her own two years ago in Idre Fjäll (SWE) or to win it together with her teammate.
Following the gold medal of Dusek in the single event on Wednesday, Team Austria can celebrate again with a silver medal in the team event.
Team France who had no medal so far won bronze and reigning olympic champion in this discipline team USA got fourth in the end.
Thank you to the organisers of the Bakuriani 2023 FIS Freestyle Ski, Snowboard and Freeski World Championships for their endless efforts. The snowboard cross circuit will fly back to Europe the next days to recharge their batteries before the next world cup will go down in Sierra Nevada (ESP) from 10 – 12