Darebin Parklands offered quite a different sprint experience from VUSA, with sections of forest, fewer man made features, and a great deal more contours! We had a huge turnout with over 70 people entering on the day, along with all the pre-entries, keeping the registration team very busy. Entertainment was provided by the medieval cosplay group, battling it out nearby with mock swords. It seemed best to give them a wide berth!
The “up and over” terrain between map pickup and the start triangle was a portent of things to come. Course setter Patrick Jaffe started out with a series of short legs and multiple directional changes, before sending us over the creek. While spoilt for choice when it came to the Hill Climb leg, in the end he chose the classic long slog up the track from the foot bridge. Back over the creek (and wet feet for some), then another scramble to get onto the southwestern plateau section with its lakes and mounds offering route choice. The sprint leg cleverly brought everyone back within sight of the finish before turning us around for a final loop.
All eyes were on the big screens as we waited to see who would emerge on top. Course 1 was again headed by the Brits, but this time Peter Bray turned the tables on Ralph Street, covering the 2.9 km course in 16:05. Ralph was a mere 4 seconds behind. Third place went to Aston Key in 16:41. Bruce Arthur was fourth in 16:55, and another UK orienteer Tim Gomersall took fifth in 17:03. This result means we have a tie for the Mens Yellow Jersey – Peter and Ralph are equal on points and countback. Meanwhile Shane Mallia showed his versatility by winning both the Hill Climb and the Sprint legs. This kept Shane in Green for another week (tied with Ralph on the points table), while Max Dalheim claimed the Polkadot Jersey after placing third on the climb.
Tash Key is in fine form and will be tough to beat again this year, after winning the Womens race on Course 1 in 19:05 – ninth overall. Liis Johanson was second in 19:52, and Clare Brownridge was third in 21:58. Tash has an iron grip on the Yellow. She didn’t have it all her own way though, with Sonia Lawrie taking out the Sprint and Clare Brownridge once again winning the Hill Climb. Claire retained the Polkadot Jersey, while Mel Gangemi’s third place on the Sprint was enough to see her snatch the Green.
Course 2 was again dominated by the juniors, with Torren Arthur taking first place in 15:44, ahead of brother Mason in 16:08. Jensen Key was only three seconds behind in third, and Brody McCarthy was fourth in 16:36. Bill Vandendool had the honour of being the fastest over-21, in 18:27. Mason is now the Yellow Jersey wearer. Jensen’s consistency on the Sprint leg has handed him the Green Jersey, while Brody McCarthy’s win on the Hill Climb has put him in the lead for the Polkadot Jersey by half a point.
Meanwhile the girls were staging their own contest. The win went to Philippa Lohmeyer-Collins who finished 11th overall, in 22:44. Margi Freemantle was second in 23:50, and Ruth Goddard third in 24:05. Philippa claimed the Yellow Jersey. Cassy Dutton was a clear winner on the Sprint leg, but Debbie Dodd’s second place was enough to see her in Green again. Anne Robinson took victory, and the Polkadot Jersey, on the Hill Climb.
It was fantastic to see so many kids tackle Course 3, adding lots of new names to the Jersey Points tally. Callum White was first male in 19:42, ahead of big improver Will Davey in 20:09, and experienced campaigner Ian Baker in 28:20. Callum kept the Yellow Jersey. Will won the Sprint, and now holds the Green Jersey on countback – tied with Peter Beggs. Will also took out the Hill Climb and leads the points tally, but under the “One Jersey at a Time” rule, the Polkadot Jersey goes to Peter.
The first two places overall went to the women on course 3, with Heather O’Donnell winning in 17:50, from Alice Moon in 18:07, and Jess Law in 23:05. Claire Adams again focused on the Sprint leg, which she won, retaining her Green Jersey. Heather was fastest on the Hill Climb, but the jersey goes to Ros King.
We take a break next weekend, then return with a bang on for Race 3 on Saturday November 7 at new venue Eltham College, in Research. The whole school is on a slope (as you would expect out there). The built area is compact but complicated, and course setter Aston Key will be certain to take full advantage. Longer courses can expect to venture north to the sports fields, abutted by open forest. Online entries close the preceding Wednesday November 4. It’s a huge help to us if you enter online, as we can predict map numbers more accurately – and it saves you 20% on your entry fee as well.
Race 3 will also feature our first free coaching session with top Brits Ralph and Peter – judging by their results so far, they certainly know how to sprint, and they’re prepared to share some tips with everyone. More details will be available on this website soon. See you there!