Thursday, September 30, 2010

Minoprio Lays Down Gauntlet to Richard

Photo Credit Loris von Siebenthal
London – 30 September – Reigning ISAF Match Racing World Champion Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing has stepped up the pressure on series leader Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team, declaring he is now within striking distance of overhauling his French rival in the run in for the 2010 Championship. The World Match Racing Tour moves onto Bermuda next week (5-10 October) for the Argo Group Gold Cup, the penultimate round of the Championship, and after his stunning victory in Denmark earlier this month Minoprio lies just 17 points behind the season pacesetter, Richard.

Richard will have cause for concern with Minoprio’s young Kiwi team having launched a devastating end of season run last year which saw them take second in Bermuda before capturing victory in the season finale, the Monsoon Cup in Malaysia, to lift the title for the first time and announce their arrival on the world stage of match racing.

A confident Minoprio laid down the gauntlet to Richard, declaring, “At the moment we are close enough to Mathieu Richard to have a really good crack at winning the World Match Racing Tour. At Bermuda we will be completely focused on improving our points score and putting more pressure on Mathieu before The Monsoon Cup”.

With both skippers so evenly matched they will be looking for any small advantage they can establish over one another. While Minoprio can point to having defeated Richard in Bermuda last year in the Quarters, Richard can draw on the fact that he is a previous winner at the Argo Group Gold Cup. The Frenchman has also proved himself to be more consistent and resilient than ever before this season as he aims to win his first ever ISAF Match Racing World Championship title.

However, both Richard and Minoprio will need to make sure they don’t take their eye off the chasing pack. Both two-time World Champion Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar sponsored by Argo Group and Australia’s Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team are hot on Minoprio’s heels and still in with a fighting chance of winning the Tour.

With a possible 24 teams taking to the water in Hamilton Harbour, The Argo Group Gold Cup represents one of the toughest challenges of the year for the teams and a potential banana skin for the big name skippers. The opening rounds will see teams compete in three groups of eight with only two going through to the next round and leaving the six ‘fastest losers’ to battle it out in the repecharge for the final two quarterfinal places.

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