Saturday, 27 June 2009

WMRT: Minoprio extends his Tour lead, but Marstrand lies ahead

by Yvonne Reid

In having achieved a runner-up performance to Troia Portugal Match Cup winner Torvar Mirsky (AUS), Adam Minoprio (NZL) and his Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch team have earned 20 points for their standing on the World Match Racing Tour leader board. This extends what was a shaky one-point lead to twelve points over a new runner-up, reigning match race World Champion Ian Williams (GBR) and his Bahrain Team Pindar, who finished 3rd in Troia.

But Williams does not enjoy the same buffer to his closest rivals, as only one point separates him from Mathieu Richard (FRA) and his French Match Racing Team in third, and Mirsky is only 3 points behind in fourth.

This is a race which now is looking more promising for the reigning World Champion, who has gotten off to a slow start this year. And having Richard only one point back is reminiscent of two years ago when Richard and Williams were neck-and-neck all season going right into the final event in Malaysia at the Monsoon Cup.

But the ascendancy of fresh new talent in Minoprio and Mirsky has put tremendous pressure on these and other Tour veterans this season. It is remarkable to consider these two teams, with an average crew age in their 20’s, are meeting and beating the world’s best, who have twice as much or more experience on both the World Tour and the America’s Cup.

“The Young Guns have definitely come out blazing this year,” says World Tour Director Craig Mitchell. “Minoprio in Marseille, and now Mirsky in Troia – it’s a testament to their training, focus, and talent to see them doing this well.”

But next week’s Match Cup Sweden, the fifth stage in the 2009 World Tour, may bring surprises for these teams, as some of the same faces seen in Troia will be back to challenge them, this time in the DS 37’s used in this event. There will also be Scandinavian-based teams who are experts in these boats there to provide some spectacular match race action on the Marstrand fiord.

Tour Standings
(After 4 of 10 events)
1.Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch 61 Points
2.Ian Williams (GBR) Bahrain Team Pindar 49 Points
3.Mathieu Richard (FRA), French Match Racing Team 48 Points
4.Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team 46 Points
5.Ben Ainslie, (GBR) Team Origin 40 Points
6.Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team 32 Points
7.Paolo Cian (ITA) Shosholoza Team 31 Points
8.Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing 31 Points

World Match Racing Tour

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