Melbourne Sprint Weekend Day 3

Melbourne Sprint Weekend continued to deliver on its final day with two more memorable events. The morning’s race was at Royal Park, a surprisingly wild and challenging patch of forest nestled in next to Melbourne’s CBD. More traditional bush orienteering skills like compass work and fine navigation came into play but the variety of loops and route choices that Brodie Nankervis incorporated into his courses kept everyone guessing, especially with the head to head format.

In the afternoon we returned to the kind of area that MSW 2018 will be remembered for, compact school campuses with lots of direction changes and hard to pick route choices, at the Keilor Downs Schools. If people thought they’d got the hang of it by now, Clare Brownridge’s tricky courses made them think again and we’ll be posting solutions to some of the particularly interesting route choice legs on Facebook shortly.

With the NOL races over and fields a little smaller today, these events were more of a chance for the elites to have fun on some interesting courses although there was still a lot at stake for those focussing on the overall MSW titles. Liis Johanson and Krystal Neumann were the stage winners in W21E but Natasha Key managed consistent enough performances to ensure she took out her second MSW title. It was very close overnight between the two British boys but Pete Hodkinson won his match race with Will Gardner as well as afternoon’s event to ensure he took out the overall honours. Konsta Vanhanen just outsprinting his start partner, Bruce Arthur, was another highlight of the M21E race.

In the junior elites, there were some different names at the top of the field in Race 5 with the Tasmanians Rachel Allen and Jed Fleming winning ahead of two South Australians, Joanna George and Nicholas Congedi. While Allen also won the final race, Asha Steer’s second place was enough to ensure her overall win while in M20E, Aston Key returned to his winning ways to ensure that all the MSW elite titles went to Victorians.

Hannah Adams’ three first places and two seconds gave her the overall win in M/W Novice with second and third places tightly fought between Henry and Clementine Neylon. In M and W 12, Elye Dent and Sophie Arthur started the day off well to ensure they had maximum points in the best 5 out of 6 competition with Arthur then completed a clean sweep in the afternoon (while in the boys race, Luke Feuerherdt took out his first win of the weekend). It was a successful weekend for the Arthur family, with Sophie’s older brother Torren taking an overall victory in Junior Boys after some close tussles all weekend with Alvin Craig, Callum White and Toby Cazzolato. The Junior Girls race was similarly close, Sophie Taverna just edging ahead even though Justine Hobson beat her by 11 seconds in the head to head race this morning. In Senior Boys, David Stock’s 4 second victory over Jensen Key was enough for him to overtake overnight leader Mason Arthur in the overall rankings while in a Senior Girls field that was quite small due to many choosing to run up in Elites, Venla-Linnea Karjalainen was dominant.

The Masters categories featured some fascinating competition all weekend. Mathew Stocks and Cathy McComb scored maximum points in M and W40, as did the ever consistent Su Yan Tay in W50. Warren Key initially appeared too strong for the M50 field, starting with two conclusive wins but some late mispunches hurt his chances and Tim Hatley’s consistent running over the three days (when not on controlling duty) allowed him to grab overall victory. M60 was one of the tightest competitions where another British invader, Philip Eeles, tied on points with Ian Davis and Warwick Davis was only one point further back. The combination of course setting Race 1 and mispunching Race 4 took the main favourite in W60, Jenny Bourne, out of contention. This left Julia Prudhoe and Hilary Wood to fight it out and Prudhoe’s crucial second place (just one second ahead of Jacquie Rand) in the final race earned her an overall first position.

Judi Herkes also performed when it counted in the final race to sneak one point ahead of Kathy Liley in W70 and M70 also delivered tight races again and again. Tony Radford ended up taking out maximum points but Ross Barr and Peter Dalwood were often snapping at his heels throughout the weekend. In the Open races, Nick Maddock and Kathie Dent came out on top with these categories providing a great opportunity for people to get a run in on the top courses.

MSW 2018 will be a memorable carnival for many reasons. The mapping and course setting were some of the best we’ve ever seen for sprint orienteering in Australia. Some exciting formats were used and there were close races throughout the whole range of age categories. Many thanks must be given to all of the Victorians who volunteered to help run the weekend but particularly to the main organising team who put in so much time, energy and creative vision into creating these spectacular events.

Focus now shifts to the next major event on the national orienteering calendar, the Easter 3 Days to be held in Hobart in just a few short weeks. For Victorians who enjoyed this weekend, there’s plenty of excitement to come with the Autumn Series starting in two weeks’ time with the Eureka Challenge on the legendary Mt Beckworth map. Plus the National Orienteering League will be returning to Victoria later this year for the WOC trials round in May.

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