Victorian Sprint Champs 2020

The Victorian Sprint Orienteering Championships at Kensington was a fantastic way to wrap up the main 2020 orienteering season! The weather was warm but the competition across the age classes was even hotter, with many tight finishes. Guest course setter, Mikkel Kaae-Nielsen from Denmark, set some challenging courses that caught many out – especially given the long break since the last sprint event in Victoria, which left many competitors feeling a bit rusty.

There were tricky decision to be made as soon as we turned over our maps and we were soon plunged into a series of short, technical controls amongst the maze of old fences, with constant changes of direction. The longer courses then had to face some longer legs in the hillier part of the map, before returning to the irregular network of laneways for the final part of the race.

There were plenty of outstanding performances, some of which even caught the course setter by surprise by beating the expected winning times (although most agreed that it was a good thing that the courses were slightly shorter rather than longer, given the hot weather). Some notable wins went to Sophie Taverna in W16, Heather O’Donnell in W35, Judi Herkes in W75, Chris Millard in M35 and a rapid Tim Hatley in M60. It was a double win for the Key family in the M/W20 classes with Jensen about a minute clear of a tightly bunched Junior Men’s field and Milla running up an age class to take the victory in W20.

The family dominance continued in W21 with Natasha Key taking another Cavill Cup title by 18 seconds from Liis Johanson. It wasn’t quite to be a clean sweep for the Keys though – in M21, Aston Key and Patrick Jaffe were tied for the lead at the last control but Jaffe took a single second out of Key in the finish chute to win the Men’s Cavill Cup. The much hyped return to orienteering from Troy de Haas didn’t quite end up as predicted, with Troy’s old coach, Jim Russell, proudly getting bragging rights over the former Australian WOC star.

The overall feedback from the event was that people loved the feeling of fast-paced racing, after a disrupted year of events. Thank you to Melbourne Forest Racers for putting on the championships and a particular thanks to Mikkel, Blair Trewin (Event Controller) and Ian Lawford (control placement) for going above and beyond in their roles.

If you enjoyed this event, or wished you could’ve been part of it, the good news that we’ll be bringing you more similar events very soon – with the MFR Sprints coming in February 2021! Podium place getters from the Vic Champs will also be soon receiving discount vouches for entries to these events so we look forward to seeing our newly crowned champions in action again soon!

The Results and Splits from the event are now available.

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