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8 February 2007, 12:11 pm
WILLIAMS And RICHARD Lead The Fight
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JPMorgan Asset Management Winter Challenge 2006-2007
Staines, Great Britain

A battle royale is expected to ensue over three days at the ISAF Grade 2 Round 6 of the JPMorgan Asset Management Winter Challenge Series. With a strong international field, including rivals and world #2 and #3 Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) and Frenchman Mathieu RICHARD (GBR), who will be hoping to secure their place in the grand final at Queen Mary Sailing Club, Staines.
Expectations will be high for British match racer WILLIAMS, who has dominated his qualifiers to date and has already secured his place for the grand final in March.

WILLIAMS will go head-to-head with long-time rival RICHARD, who has a World Ranking of #3, one behind WILLIAMS and is second seed at this event. WILLIAMS and RICHARD have begun an epic battle on the international match racing circuit, coming up against each other several times in the past year and will continue to fight it out at the Winter Challenge event.

With the score 2-1 in WILLIAMS favour - WILLIAMS beat Richard in the final of the Bermuda-based ISAF Grade WC King Edward II Gold Cup, RICHARD beat WILLIAMS in the semi-final of the ISAF Grade WC Monsoon Cup, Malaysia and WILLIAMS beat RICHARD again at the semi-final of the ISAF Grade 1 Auckland Match Racing Cup - RICHARD will be pulling out all the stops to even the score.

Other Strong Contenders

Strong contenders this weekend will also include Briton and finalist, Mark CAMPBELL-JAMES. Also in contention and hoping to secure the two remaining places in the final is world #10 Staffan LINDBERG (FIN). Another potential finalist includes Peter WIBROE (DEN), who has shown consistent top five finishes throughout the circuit this year.

The remaining international field includes, Johnie BERNTSSON (SWE), eighth in last year's final, Rasmus VILTOFT (DEN), Jure OREL (SLO), Eric MONNIN (SUI) and British sailor Christian HAMILTON, looking to make his mark this weekend after losing out in the earlier rounds of this series.

With four Britons, WILLIAMS, Andy GREEN, CAMPBELL-JAMES and John GREENLAND, already booked in for the final, it should be a strong weekend of racing as the remaining European contingent aims to secure the last two spots in the final.

The series continues on the following dates:

Women's Winter Challenge: 23-25 February 2007, ISAF Grade 2
Winter Challenge Final: 9-11 March 2007, ISAF Grade 2

Myrrh Walker (As Amended By ISAF). Image, World #3 Mathieu RICHARD will be in Staines for round 6:© Ivor Wilkins/Offshore Images
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