Mathieu Richard will join the fifth stage of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour as a wildcard at the St. Moritz Match Race, an event that he has won two times previously. With Bjorn Hansen battling with Ian Williams for top spot on the overall Tour leaderboard, there is much at stake as the world’s top match racers begin their battle to become ‘King of the Mountain’ tomorrow.
Mathieu Richard (FRA) Loire Atlantique Sailing Team won the St. Moritz Match Race in 2008 as well as in the 2010 season, which ultimately saw him take a second place overall on the Tour behind Ben Ainslie (GBR). Richard recognises that he will need to get up to speed quickly to achieve his goal of a third title in Switzerland, saying: “It is strange for us to come to this event without having had a lot of match racing competition. In previous years I’ve been a Tour Card Holder, so would be used to racing these guys on the circuit.
“I’ve only competed at the French Match Racing Championship so far this year, winning a competitive event against other Tour-experienced skippers Pierre-Antoine Movan and Damien Iehl. It feels less pressurised for my team this year but we won’t know until tomorrow what sort of form we’re in.
“I’m hoping that we are at a good level when we get on the water because it would be great to come back to the Tour at an event that we really enjoy and take the win. We finished second overall in the Tour in 2007 and in 2010 so i think we have the ability to challenge these guys.”
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar will renew his battle with Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team, the pair having become early favourites in the race for the 2012 Tour title. Williams, said: “This is my eigth time at the St. Moritz Match Race and i’ve managed the podium five times so it is an event I really enjoy both on and off of the water.
“The main goal has to be to beat Bjorn [Hansen] at this event and reach the podium ourselves. Having said that, I’d love to take a victory as I’ve not won in St. Moritz since 2007. We have the same team as last year so that consistency should be a real benefit out on the water.
“There is a lot of new blood on the Tour this year and I’ve sailed with all of these guys apart from Josh Junior. It’s great for the sport that these young skippers are coming through and are able to compete at the top level.”
Bjorn Hansen also arrives in Switzerland for what will be his fifth event on Lake St. Moritz and in the form of his life, currently sitting second in the ISAF Match Racing World Rankings. He said: “We like the conditions in St. Moritz and we’re hoping for some tough weather, which would suit the environment we are used to in Sweden.
“We’ve sailed well every year at the St. Moritz Match Race except one. There aren’t any specific objectives and expectations so we will just concentrate on going as far as we can in the event.
“I’ve never come to the event ranked so high but past results dont count for anything at the start of a regatta. It’s impossible for us to controll Ian Willams throughout the event so the focus is just on sailing as well as we can and we’ll see what result we come out with on Sunday.”
– PR –