The St. Moritz Match Race will get underway on the 30 August and there are two Swiss teams that will be looking to shake things up on the World Match Racing Tour as they join the world’s top match racers in Switzerland. The event will take place until September 4.
Event veteran Eric Monnin and rising Swiss star Jérôme Clerc will take on eight Tour Card Holders plus several wildcard entries on home waters next week at St. Moritz Match Race, the sixth stage of the world’s premier match racing series.
Monnin has targeted reaching the final of the event – and plans to take down some big names on the way. With a string of good results from Grade 1 events around Europe, Monnin says he and his team can go far at St. Moritz Match Race.
'We have been training hard and finished third at two Grade 1 events this year, in Pornichet, France and Sopot, Poland,' he said. 'We also raced the European match race championship. We are outsiders at this event and are happy with that status. If we are on form, we know we can go far. We have raced the semi-finals in St. Moritz before and it goes without saying that our goal is to do better.'
Jérôme Clerc’s Société Nautique de Genève team won their place at St. Moritz Match Race after being crowned Swiss national match racing champions at the Volvo Match Race Cup. Clerc has never won a race against any of the top ten teams – but plans to rectify that this year.
'Last year we came to learn about the World Match Race Tour and at the time we ranked lower than 200th in the world,' said Clerc. 'This year we have got a bit more experience. We currently rank among the top 100 crews in the world and winning the Swiss Championship against the Monnin brothers helped boost our confidence. We have never won a match against one of the top ten teams, but we will be aiming to this year. We feel a little bit like a low ranked tennis player facing a Masters tournament... A sizeable and motivating challenge. We can't wait.'
As the Tour heads towards its climax the pressure is on for the Tour Card Holders to come away from St. Moritz with a good result. For several key players such as Mathieu Richard’s and Damien Iehl’s (FRA) French Match Racing Teams, currently seventh and eighth on the scoreboard, as well as Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team, lying in tenth place overall on his debut season as a Tour Card Holder, a good result at St. Moritz Match Race is vital to their progression up the World Match Racing Tour standings.
At the head of the rankings is Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing, but snapping at his heels is Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar who heads to St. Moritz Match Race on a winning streak with two consecutive wins at the last two stages of the Tour. Second-placed Peter Gilmour misses St. Moritz Match Race, opening the door for the chasing pack to occupy the number two spot.
Although it is the first time he has competed at St. Moritz Match Race, Danish skipper Jesper Radich, currently ranked fourth, said he’s not fazed by the prospect of racing at the event. He said: 'My current goal is to get back into match racing. This will be my first St. Moritz Match Race so the guys that know the boats well will have a small advantage over us, but that doesn't worry me.'
Swedish match racer Johnie Berntsson is also highly motivated going into the St. Moritz stage, and will be looking to remedy a disappointing first half to the season. 'We have raced St. Moritz before and we are delighted to be back,' he said. 'We hope to get some good results.'
As has become the norm in St. Moritz, spectators will have privileged access to the racing and to competitors and can enjoy a ringside view of the fight for the title of King of the Mountain and a share of the 150,000 Swiss franc prize purse. Entry list for St. Moritz Match Race 2011
Francesco Bruni (ITA), Pierluigi de Felice, Tom Burmhan, Matteo Auguadro
Ian Williams (GBR), Bill Hardesty, Gerry Mitchell, Matt Cassidy
Torvar Mirsky (AUS), Kyle Langford, Graeme Spence, Kinley Fowler
Jepser Radich (DEN), Rasmus Kostner, David Swete, Nick Black
Damien Iehl (FRA), Fred Guilmin, Devan Le Bihan,Francois Verdier
Bjorn Hansen (SWE), Andres Jönssen, Philip Kai Guhle, Mathias Bredin
Mathieu Richard (FRA), Greg Evrard, Olivier Herledant, TBA
Phil Robertson (NZL), Garth Ellingham, Sam Bell, TBA
Johnie Berntsson (SWE), Johan Berne, Oscar Angervall, Anders Dahlsjö
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA), Cédric Chateau, Mathieu Renault, Steven Liorzou
Eric Monnin (SUI), Marc Monnin, Jean-Claude Monnin, Julien Falxa
Jerome Clerc (SUI), Denis Girardet, Elodie Mettraux, Bryan Mettraux 2011 ISAF World Match Race Tour – ranking after five stages
1 Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing – 81pts
2 Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing – 74pts
3 Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar – 71pts
4 Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners – 59pts
5 Torvar Mirsky (AUS) The Wave Muscat – 59pts
6 Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team – 57pts
7 Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team – 57pts
8 Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team – 53pts
9 Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing – 39pts
10 Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team – 34pts St. Moritz Match Race website World Match Racing Tour website