KEITH GETS SILVER AT FRENCH NATIONALS
Hourtin near Bordeaux was the venue of the 2005 French Formula National Championships. Following a weeks training in the south of France, Keith Atkinson moved up to lake Hourtin for his first European event of the year. He was joined by fellow team-mates from the RYA Olympic squad including Nick Dempsey, the Olympic Bronze Medallist.
The first day of racing of the three-day event was a good start for Keith, his consistent results placed him in third place overnight and ahead of Nick Dempsey in fourth place.
Day two produced miserable conditions, cold and rainy with stronger winds. Keith was gaining his form with a first place and two second places, narrowing the points between him and overall second position. After sustaining a neck injury, which was giving him problems, he was uncertain of his ability to perform at this crucial stage of the competition. However the final day dawned with light winds, which Keith favours. He was really fired up and finished the competition off in style with two 1st places which was enough to secure a 2nd place overall in the championship event.
Interviewed following the awards ceremony Keith said, “I am very happy to have achieved a 2nd place. Florent Renard was in 2nd place and had a 7-point lead over me after the first day and I knew I had to pull something out of the bag if I wanted to get a higher podium position. Right now I’m going faster than ever before. My Neilpryde RS5’s are the best Formula sails ever produced bar none and they compliment my Starboard 159 perfectly”. Thanks to the training I put in over the winter I have been able to tune the kit to perfection. Nick Dempsey, who finished in 5th place, was my main British threat at this event with him being at peak fitness after four years of Olympic training”