The Deakin campus at Burwood features many irregular buildings at quirky angles. It is multi level, with a myriad of stairs. Add a bunch of construction zones, and a plethora of olive green garden beds, and you have a real navigational challenge, especially when trying to maintain speed. Our course setter was Brodie Nankervis, no stranger to high level sprint orienteering. He threw us straight into it, with no let-up until near the end of the course. Even the sprint leg required map reading. Great fun from start to finish!
The course presented little difficulty for winner Ralph Street in a sizzling time of 13:27 – though he did make some small errors, I’m told. Peter Bray was second in 14:36, and Bruce Arthur third in 15:07. There was an unusual dead heat for fifth between Angus Robinson and Patrick Jaffe. Peter keeps the jersey, but a win to Ralph next week will seal the deal for him. However if Peter wins and Ralph is second, it’s a tie, and we go to a countback. The final determining factor will be km rate.
Tash Key once again took a top 10 spot, continuing her unbeaten streak in the Womens class, in a time of 16:43. Jas Neve closed the gap a little, finishing in 17:40. Clare Brownridge was third in 19:05. Tash has a perfect score of 50 and has earned herself a Yellow with one week to go.
As I mentioned, the Sprint leg this week was not a simple case of sighting the flag and running flat out – there were a couple of small thickets and a track bend to negotiate, and the distraction of the nearby Finish. You needed to have a clear head and fresh legs – not so easy at the back end of the course. Ralph tied with Shane Mallia for first and second, and Peter tied with Todd Neve for third and fourth. Shane has a firm grip on the Green Jersey. For the women, it’s not so clear cut – Tash of course cannot claim Green, so it’s down to a fight between Sonia Lawrie and Mel Gangemi, who are only half a point apart – with two wins to Mel’s one, Sonia has the edge.
The Hill Climb was short and sharp (but be warned, I’ve heard the Climb at Brimbank is going to be a monster!) Peter Collins took it out, but Glenn James keeps the Polkadot Jersey this week. The final outcome is anyone’s guess – Peter Bray, Glenn, Peter Collins and Max Dalheim are all in with a chance. Clare Brownridge dropped half a point this week after a tie with Emily Wood, but the Jersey is hers to keep.
Course 2 has been super competitive this year. Mason Arthur and Jensen Key have been at the forefront, and Mason claimed victory this week in 13:51. Jensen finished in 14:12, with Torren Arthur third in 16:32. Jensen is still in Yellow, but it will all come down to next week’s result
The fastest female was Rachel Johnson (18:38), followed by sister Janet (19:34), both putting in their best performance this season. Cassy Dutton was third in 19:37, just three seconds behind. Philippa is clinging to her Yellow Jersey but it’s under serious threat from any of the top six.
Again there was a tie on the Sprint leg, between Steven O’Connell and Brody McCarthy. It’s hard to see Steve losing his Green Jersey from here unless he makes an error next week and opens the door for Jensen or Brody. For the Women, I can see the Green Jersey disappearing fast, under assault from Cassy and Rachel.
The Polkadot Jersey on course 2 is a nailbiter, with Brody just half a point in front of Torren, all to be decided on the savage hills of Brimbank, after they tied for the win this week. Another tie between Philippa and Anne Robinson has Anne in the Jersey, but if Philippa loses the Yellow next week she is looking like claiming the Polkadot.
It’s been great to see a bunch of younger juniors emerging on course 3. Callum White won in 17:59, ahead of Felix Corcoran in 20:04, and Will Davey in 20:27. Callum has earned his Yellow Jersey. For the women, Alice Moon was first in 21:05, next was Heather O’Donnell in 23:51, and Eleanor Snow took third in 26:31. Heather holds the Yellow although Alice could potentially win it.
Callum took out the Sprint, but Will’s second gave him the Green Jersey. Alice was fastest female on the Sprint, but the Jersey is held by Claire Adams who is almost certain to keep it. Will won the Climb, but the battle for the Jersey will be staged between Felix and Peter Beggs, who are currently equal on points. In a great day for Alice, she won the Climb, and almost certainly the Jersey.
So plenty of action on offer at Brimbank next Saturday, and of course we have the all important Sprint Champs the next day, at RMIT. Some will be saving themselves while others put it all on the line! The stage is set for a fantastic conclusion to Sprint Into Spring.