Argo Group Gold Cup is the seventh stage of the World Match Racing Tour and is being held between 4th and 9th of October at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.
As the World Match Racing Tour heads into the penultimate event the race to become ISAF Match Racing World Champion is as competitive as ever. Following the cancellation of the 2011 Danish Open, a points system has been incorporated to award points for that event which could yet add a twist to the season.
Those points will come into effect after the Argo Group Gold Cup when all nine Tour Card Holders will have competed in all of their allocated events. The WMRT caught up with Tour Director, Craig Mitchell to find out how the points system works and what the possible ramifications are for the Championship race.
WMRT: Following the cancellation of the 2011 Danish Open is there a points system in place for the Tour Card Holders that were allocated that event? Is it standard ISAF practice if an event is cancelled and can you explain how the system works?
CM: The Tour Card Holders who chose Denmark as one of their six allocated events (everyone except Francesco Bruni) will receive an average points score based on their other five allocated events. If that average is one of their best 5 scores this season it will count towards their Championship total.
I'm not sure it's standard ISAF practice as the points system is created by the World Match Racing Tour management team, but the average points system was introduced a few years ago in case this eventuality occurred.
WMRT: Do any teams stand to gain or lose from the cancellation of the 2011 Danish Open?
CM: For sure most Tour Card Holder teams will gain from this system, some more than others if they have currently included a very low scoring event in their top five scores which combine to make up their total Championship points. Amongst the Tour Card Holders, it’s only Francesco Bruni whose score won’t change either way as he didn’t select Denmark as one of his six allocated events. Equally, as Bjorn Hansen is not a Tour Card Holder, his score won’t change either.
The potential gain ranges from plus three points for Mathieu Richard to plus 16 points for Ian Williams. As it stands Williams would benefit the most as he could replace the tenth place (two points) he scored at Match Race France with his average which is high at 18 points because he has two firsts and two third places to his name. That would give him a 16 point advantage over his current total score of 90.
WMRT: When do these points changes come into effect?
CM: These points changes will come into effect after next month’s Argo Group Gold Cup because there are two Tour Card Holders, Johnie Bertnsson and Phil Robertson, who selected that event as one of their six allocated events. We won’t know their average until they have a score for that event. That said we can obviously do the calculations for all the other Tour Card Holders now.
WMRT: So will the current standings in the World Championship race remain the same?
CM: I'm pretty sure there will be some interesting shifts. If we put the average points in right now Ian Williams would maintain his overall lead and actually increase the gap between him and second, from one point to 17. Torvar Mirsky would pull almost level with Francesco Bruni in second on 89 points. Damien Iehl would overtake Bjorn Hansen by moving into fourth behind Peter Gilmour and Jesper Radich would leapfrog Mathieu Richard into sixth. It would remain close though with only 23 points separating seventh and second.
All this is conjecture of course as things will change when the points are re-calculated after the Argo Group Gold Cup where all the Tour Card Holders are in action. It’s clear though that Ian Williams’s Team GAC Pindar will be the team everyone will want to beat in Bermuda so they can stay within overtaking distance going into the finale in Malaysia.
WMRT: Ian Williams is leading the Tour now and there will be plenty of pressure on him to maintain that lead and win his third World Championship. Do you think he will or will the pressure get the better of him?
CM: Ian Williams is a double World Champion and has experienced the pressure that will inevitably come his way going into the Monsoon Cup so he’ll be prepared I’m sure. He also has a very experienced crew. Everyone is fallible though and the hunger of the chasing pack combined with the attention from the world’s media could easily get under his skin. We saw that last year with Mathieu Richard who led the Championship right from the start only to fall at the last hurdle in Malaysia. In match racing, it’s important to be able to get inside your opponents head but even more important to not let them get inside yours! Argo Group Gold Cup website WMRT website