The campus at Deakin Burwood is the largest and most technical of this year’s races. Course setter Simon Rouse certainly exploited the multiple levels, and the nooks and crannies. Getting the map and courses sorted in time was a huge job as the Uni was undertaking construction works which kept changing every day – Ted was out there almost every day in the final week, and even on Friday night we didn’t know which roads would be closed off. Such is the dedication of the Sprint Into Spring team!
Courses had a benign start along the creek, and the sprint leg came very early – which simply meant our brains were starved of oxygen just as we headed into the complex stuff. On Mo there was a really tough route choice decision at that point, and on Sally, I wasn’t the only one heard bemoaning their split time on leg 3-4. From there it was dizzying tour – a lot of short legs with many changes of direction and level before the final dash through the car park and into the finish. Quite a lot of people missed seeing the narrow path into the carpark, and wasted a lot of time running round either end – brains fading after so much concentration (I am happy to say that this was one of the few legs I got right!). It pays to check the map detail even on what looks like a simple leg.
Brodie Nankervis and Kerrin Rattray, both absent last week, were back and racing hard on the Mo course. Brodie claimed victory in 15:54 and Kerrin settled for second. Patrick Jaffe managed to edge out Bruce Arthur by a second, and in doing so kept the Yellow jersey, which he now holds outright by one point. In the womens class, Belinda Lawford had her first win of the series (19:01), beating Tash Key by just 8 seconds, with Liis Johansson and Noora Koskinen hard on their heels, both within 30 seconds of Belinda – a close race indeed! Tash keeps Yellow but Liis is closing in.
The sprint leg was a long straight run that rewarded those who could keep up the pace for the whole leg. Peter Collins, in his first race this series, was fastest, followed by Green jersey holder Shane Mallia and Geoff McLean – both very handy “A” course regulars at Park and Street events. A mispunch took Mel Gangemi out of contention this week, with Liis, Tash, and Cassy Dutton the quickest women. Mel still has the Green jersey but there is nothing in it with Tash and Liis right behind in the points tally.
Our hill climb this week was from the bottom of a set of stairs to the top. Matt van der Peet was the winner on this leg, followed by Shane, and our Live Results man Jim Russell (who is no stranger to climbing hills). Shane leads the Polkadot points tally but because he has the Green jersey, this one is now held by Matt. Liis won the womens climb from Clare Brownridge and Cassy, and she retains the Jersey.
Over on Sally Pearson, we saw a costly mispunch for Jensen Key. Mason Arthur was the winner in 13:41, a minute clear of Brody McCarthy, with Geoff Armstrong just edging out Callum White for third. Brody took the Yellow jersey from Jensen, and Mason moved to second. Jenny Bourne had a strong win in the womens class, holding off Jenny Mitchell and Carola Ray. Jenny reclaimed the Yellow jersey and is now 2 points clear of Heather O’Donnell. Brody won the sprint leg from Steven O’Connell and Rod Phillips; he has a big lead in the points tally, but Steven holds the jersey. Kate Francis made it 3 sprint leg wins from 4 races, with Heather and Carola the next quickest. Kate is 1.5 points clear of Heather. On the hill climb, Steven was fastest ahead of Will Davey and Campbell James, but Will has a very solid lead in the Polkadot points tally. Julie Francis shared the womens hill climb win with Kate, and she keeps the jersey.
On Usain Bolt, we saw Ashley White notch up his second win in 18:11, from Peter Beggs and Michael Byrne. Reynah Tang won the womens, ahead of Claire Adams and Pat Mews. Ashley and Pat have both Yellow jerseys again this week. Ashley also won the sprint and hill climb legs and is leading those tallies, but the jerseys go to the second highest points scorers – Daniel Kaman for the Green and Peter Beggs for the Polkadot. Claire Adams held off Eleanor Williams to win the womens sprint, and they tied on the hill climb. Paula Davey holds the Green jersey, and Luca Bogdanovits has taken over the Polkadot jersey.
We have one more Melbourne race, at Newport Lakes next Saturday. Another park map, this one is generally gentler than Ruffey, except in the east. Here there is a lake system in a former quarry with a myriad of access paths, ranging from gentle to very steep climb. There is also a stepping stone bridge across the main lake, marked with the rock symbol, which could be a route choice on the day.
The Jersey competitions will be decided on the final weekend in Bendigo – with the best 6 of 7 scores to count, you can’t afford to miss Races 6 or 7 – and of course there are the Vic Champs the following day – what a fantastic way to wrap up Sprint Into Spring! Don’t forget to enter the Champs on Eventor, before Tuesday November 22nd. All the info about the Sprint Bendigo weekend is here.