Thursday, December 31, 2009

Mason goes gold at Browns

Last nights excellent event at South Turramurra on the Browns Waterhole map, saw Rob Mason 'cement' victory with a strong 530 point run. Although correspondent Pork Pie didn't stay till lights out, Rob had ten over Mark Schaefer close to the end and they seemed the only two runners to break the 500 barrier. Many others pushed hard towards it, carding high 400's as they grappled with a much more bushy venue than has been the norm of late in the summer series. Lotty would have loved it!

So, 170 runners fronted the till (and about 200 when you count the group entries) on a beautiful evening at this long underused venue. Stuart McWilliam was in charge of proceedings, and had crafted a 'skirt' course neatly draped across this bushy suburb. With fire trails around three sides and a long slow drop to Browns, runners were always going to do a bit of puff work if they wanted to take home a hundred. Stu was obviously attracted to the perimeters, and organised a perfect U shape to east, south and west with a gaggle of controls across the top holding things together - much like a belt. Much discussion ensued as to the best route. For the Flash Harry's, the full skirt had to be tackled with the big ask being how to tie in 27 and 16 as they passed around the southern ankles. For the more senior competitors, perhaps still feeling a touch of Christmas pud on board, the question was to go east or west, not both, with the west seeming to hold more temptations.

A couple of routes are of interest. Mark Schaefer ran 580 leaving out #7 and 5 as he circled north, west, south and an interesting but perhaps not optimal- 17, 8, road to 16, 27, 18 and resuming the fire trail up the east side. Mark's watch ding donged 45 around #30 kicking in the afterburner for the dash home via 6 and 10 in six minutes over. Mark ruminated that it might have been better to have run 17, 27, 16 and 28 and ignore 18. Great running none the less.

Also of interest was the route of VM Larry 'The Wrestler' Weiss. His strong 450 points began up north with the usual suspects before turning back at #13 and dropping to 23, 14, 25 and the southern pots - up the skirt via 27 and 16 and as noted above (28, 9, 19, 29 and 20) before gliding home via #7, 10 and 5. Nice one Lazza.

Although the majority of runners seemed to go off via 24 to the tennis courts and a nice game of doubles, an alternate route taken by some was the gallop downhill via 10, 7, 16 and 27 before the western return and the uphill slog. This had its fans, especially those runners that would prefer to walk up a steep hill than try and run up a slow one (there are many of us!).

In summary, lots of good routes, with the hole in the middle making life difficult to link east and west. Hard to find the lonely pot, although I suspect not that many went to #6 and 30. Everything else seemed to be getting plenty of 2B twirling though, indicating good setting. And how good to be back running the bush tracks. Great stuff and a nice contrast to recent outings on the bitumen. We will be back!

Looking at some of the early scoring in addition to Rob and Mark, Mary Fein and Shane Henry posted 490's to lead their respective Masters classes in very strong runs. Brendan 'The Mad Hatter' also ran up 490 in OM to be a nose clear of Adrian White (480) and some strong nags across the line for 470 (Bray, Free and Fowler). I didn't notice any 460's, but scribbled in Weiss and Anthony 'The Window' Dowle at 450, from Joel Putnam 'Sandwich' 440, a length back to Steve Ryan, Mal Brad 'All', Lisa Grant and Chris Fielder with 430. I heard that Lisa had popped back from the Christmas 5 Days just to keep her SSS hand in! Good running LG, life IS good.

The Murphy clan were in court with Terry (330) being given ten years by Catherine (340), although he did manage to send Clare down for 40 dings of community service (290). The Legends appeared to be 'men only' with Ken Jacobson posting 310, well ahead of Mal Gledhill's 280, but out of range of a strong 390 from Ron Junghans. Not sure of Heiko's score, but I think Ron might have this one. The Super Vets saw Carol post 220, a modest score but enough to keep Sue Thommo's 190 as an 80 pointer on the progressive tally. The SVM had fun in the absence of Wazza Selby, with yours truly holding 390 ahead of Graeme Hill and Steve Dunlop's 370 odd. Graeme ran 430 but came unstuck with a wrong turn south from #29 (ending up near the river) and had to backtrack losing valuable time. Not sure of Steve's route, but it's a great score and he is running better than ever recently. Also not sure of late finisher Jim Merchants score (out via 24, home via 5) - could have been a goody, but the last pot (5) has the crowd guessing where the Field Marshall actually went to.

In the absence of Warwick, daughter Melissa put aside the truncheon and posted 350 in her first run this season - a touch in front of fellow OW runner, Vicki Stitt with 340. In the same class however, Deb Noble concluded her season with a tidy 380. Younger sister Rachel punted 320 in the juniors with dad on fire in the Vets for 410, a great score from our web miestro. Some other random scores noted, were Dan Redfern with an excellent 380, Matt Hackett with 350, Ernest preparing for new years eve with 300 neat round ones (as did Ian 'Mr IBM' Miller come to think of it!), Julian Ledger handing out 290 fresh towels and Davy 'Crocket' Gatwood working 280 racoons into his pen just to annoy Michael Roylance's 270.

Ex Garingal member Phil Helmore lives on the map and popped along for a refresher course - carding 250 for his troubles. Wiz was seen with 330, a touch in front of Mike Halmy's 320, but well clear of SVM Neil Hawthorn's 280. Neil has posted the odd ton on the faster maps but was bought undone here by a nice excursion between 14 and 23 - arriving by steam train (and somewhat discombobulated) at the dead end lookout many orienteers might remember as a feature of the map in this area. This is called getting value for money! I also note in closing Catherine Cox walking for 190, and a couple of classic tens. Kris Wright and Ruth Jacka both posting ten points to star at the other end of the score board. Great stuff from our juniors. Hopefully they, and the large number of groups and new competitors, enjoyed a great night.

Thanks Stuart it was a ripper.

And with the half way mark now passed, we start to drop the weaker scoring. As Dylan said on his classic track Mississippi, 'Things should start to get interesting right about now'. And interesting they continue to be. Next week sees us back at Primrose Park in Cremorne with orienteering star Michele Dawson working her pot magic. This is another great window on Sydney, with bush paths and harbour view many would not be familiar with. A touch of hill work might be on offer - as will a pint at the Oaks afterwards. Don't miss it!

Finally. Can we make a plea to return your pencil at the end of your run. Last night saw another significant defection as the little blighters ended up in competitors cars, rather than joining their chums in the pencil box. They cost money folks and we seem to be losing heaps. Please bring them back!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dent in Awesome Form at Balmoral

Australian elite orienteer, Julian Dent, completed a clean sweep of controls last night to post 600 points in 42.31 minutes - 40 points clear of his nearest rival. A fantastic result given the steep nature of the course. Julian is reported to have gone for a 30 minute warm up run before he started, and then jogged off afterwards to warm down! Pork Pie is lost in admiration.

So, event 12 last night had us beginning up the top at Georges Heights - in contrast to previous outings on this map - and without a single control point on the beach. At first glance, course setter Rob 'The Queens Pictures' Spry seemed to be offering a tight bunching that looked too compact, and well under Larry's 'hand print' optimal spread. That was before the penny dropped however, and you noticed the brown contour lines. Lots of upsey/downsey, with any decent score needing at least one significant slog home. As it turned out, most pre race attention was on just how to work a loop and minimise the climb. A very difficult conundrum - as the large crowd (180/190 or so it seems) failing to make quick starts attested.

Rob had used the new bits of the map to good effect, with a tempting 50 point fall to the south before a skirt along this magnificent harbour dress circle via 28 (what a view!) to 13, 12, 20 and some sort of plunge to 'parking meter heaven' and a home route uphill via the west. Many started this way, and were already buggered by #28! Oh dear. There was also some fun here for a few runners trying to find #30 - loosing time in not reading the detail correctly. Others saw a flatter route, beginning west via 1, 14, 27, 11, 21 etc before a northern flog and return. The way back for these nags was then either a circle that took in 23, dropping to 22, 7, 18 and the elevator ride home, or a flatter run via 23, 25, 5 etc. Both had their fans.

The lonely pot looked like #24 at first glance, but in all probability was #10. This would have a complete pain to include for the 'all pots' runners, as it was up high for the 22/7 runners and too low for the 25/5's. Maybe a way was to run 22, in/out 18, back to 7, up to 10 and then on to 25 and 5 (or visa versa). Mmmmm, dodgy stuff for all but the best.

So the, a good roll up, great weather, an intriguing course with lots of options and a fantastic new location. The first 1:5,000 map sprint series race here should be a cracker (January 4). And great to see so many orienteering stars out for a run. Grant Bluett and Shannon Jones (510/500) up from Canberra for Chrissie, as were Julian and Felicity (a great run for 510 from the 'Flicker'). Lets run the bloodshot eye over some of the other runners.

Powering up the Vets, Michael Burton carded an impressive 560, finding #8 where Glenn Horrocks (560 or is that 550) might cop ten here because he couldn't find it (reported a little away from the corner). Glenn, of course, collects all the butterflies, whereas MB dropped #9 and 10 and a couple of minutes. Both still amazing runs. Richard Green was a late starter and may have podiumed, but the perfumed lure of the Beuna had your reporter off before pack up, and the 'Grass' will have to be revealed at results posting time. I'd guess he'd be a 560/570 or so. Something nice and comfortable!

Other impressive results noted by The Piester were; Steve Ryan with 540 (whoo hoo - go the Private!), Mary Fein (MW) in a top outing for 530, Anthony Peterson, Pete 'The Bonfire' Fallows, Tim Rogers and Gill Fowler rolling out 520 (great run from Gill) and Richard Morris powering round for a strong 510. 500 points also had friends, with Michael Free and Tracy enjoying the half K. Lisa Grant was a half head back for 490, in front of Wazza for the Super Vets and Shane Henry (both 480 men), Chris 'Picture' Frane (470), Steve Flick (no pram for a great 460), Peter 'Wyatt Earp' Marshall and Mark Robbo (450's) and some nice tidy 440 yard work from Peter Annetts and Graeme McLeod.

The Prudhoe family were out with the picnic hamper, dad managing to upstage Julia (420/310) with the girls somewhere in between (The 'EP' record posting a tidy 370). Dale Thompson looked to be running better (340), Anne Powell 'Street Cable Car' pocketed 400 in front of Carolyn Haupt's 390. The Doc, Ian Cameron, was below par for 370, whereas Gordy nursed the fetlock round for 450 - and no worse for the experience we hope. In the Legends, Heiko was discombobulated at #14, losing valuable time and letting Ron slip through (390/360). The map at this point was not that well defined with several runners going past the fence corner before twigging. Mal Gledhill took home 350 to keep his LM credentials intact.

Janet Morris will cop the 100 for her 270 point LW run, well in front of Beverly 'Hills' Johnson's modest 90. Bev might have become transfixed by the view at #28 and decided to stay there. I'll certainly be back for another look. In the juniors, 14 year old Rachel Noble ran with the wind for 340 odd, and is looking a worthy successor to sister Deb (390) who is soon off to Spain for a year (but will no doubt still have the odd dreamy moment about the summer series amongst all the tapas, cervesas and hot chocolates). Aidan Dawson posted an impressive 340 in the JM's, with sister Michele going one hurdle better for 350. Young Sammy Rogers was also amongst the pots for 210, ahead of that most impressive group - Siobhan, Anna and Uncle David - with 170. Go Uncle! I should also mention a couple of first timers. Stephanie 'I'm a' Manning belted 320 on debut (and back 5" early!) in MW, with partner D. Stead going a couple better for 340. Excellent stuff from Steph and Mister D.

A couple of others before Pork Pie retires to the members bar. Good to see Mike 'Hula' Hooppell on the paddock (280), Greg 'My' Nibbs 'Broken' going one better for 290 (same as for Lee 'At' Lowe) and Neil Hawthorns daughter Lucy going the nibble for 270. Sue T had the Penguin Classic flapping nicely for 250, but probably will have to be content with silver behind Carol Jacobson in the super vets. Carol is in training for a touch of sandfly (Routeburn Track) and was seen going 'all out' in last nights dash for cash. Finally, the 350 club. Yes this is a worry, with Stuart the bike, Ian '100 years of IBM' Miller and superstar, Michael 'The Corgi' Roylance all taking home this nice well rounded number. Good running boys, 450 next year?

And so Christmas takes hold, and the Christmas 5 Days to many orienteers. For those staying in, Stuart McWilliam has a top course lined up for event 13 at South Turramurra next Wednesday. Expect a bit of bush track work in what will be for many, a new area (not been used for 8/10 years or so). Will be a goodie, and a great way to expunge the Christmas pud overhang!

Finally, a couple of small items about fair play. Please confine warm up running to the immediate start location, avoiding going near, or giving the appearance of going near, any close in control pots. Also, could runners wanting to run in a group or with a partner, but entering individually, consider not running together, or at least not starting together. There Summer Series rules require a distinction between the individual (scored) competition, and the group (non scored) categories. For the sake of fair play, if wanting to run with others, please enter as a group.

That's it for the (almost) first half. Best wishes for Christmas and the holiday period from all involved in the Summer Series. A great second half awaits. Cheers!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Top Roll Up at East Killara as Glenn goes Gold

Course officials were surprised at the large turn last night as 217 out of 220 maps were issued to enthusiastic punters. This must be the closest to 'getting the map numbers right' in the series so far. A great turn out, and our best at this interesting venue so far.

Those that know the Bushrangers Reserve area, understand that there is the suburban 'paw print' with its spread of housing schools and parks - and then there is the fire trail girdle below pretty much going right round the map. This gives us a nice sniff of sandstone rocks, cliff lines and bare rock (!) and Adrian deployed his pots (new babies with only one code) across most of these options. There was a touch of green for the unwary, and large areas of DNM. These cascade down rather steep hills, so no wonder.

At first glance, there was a concentration around the assembly area which was a 'must do'. This included two overlapping control sites (6/4) generally a no-no in course planning, but ok here as the sites were completely different. Maybe Adrian was trying to lure runners to the enigmatic control #11. Anyway, the northern cluster needed to be added to for the fast guys, so head scratching generally resulted in three options 'post north' - a dash south west to 25,10,15,14 24 and home for the time poor, a more ambitious extension across Koola Park to nail #19, 28 and 20 before the return, or the 'doozey', dropping to 30 and 9 before taking the marked route tramcar and chomping the rest. There was a little money on the bush avoiders, who stretched to #29 in preference to the western bushies - maybe remembering previous experience.

Not many asked #26 up for a dance, Michael Burton reporting a full five minute run to loop 14-26 and back to #6. Number 26 might well qualify for the lonely pot, with #11 my guess for a close second.

Returning to the start. Most ran 16, 1, 17, 21, 3 and then east to #22 (time lost on this 'feature' by many runners). 2, 12 and 27 followed, with a backtrack yielding 13 although Michael Halmy climbed the cliff from below to bag the unlucky number. Dropping to 23 and 18 made sense leaving #8 to doze off. The loop home via #7 then followed or the options already alluded to. Some good stretching, but 600 proving to be too big an ask.

And so, our leader board revealed another top spot to the sweeper. Glenn 'The Gas Canister' Horrocks bagged the lot, flogging the yellow T Shirt home in 52 minutes for an outstanding 530 points. At the time of my results collecting (and as the lure of the Resches was taking hold), Glenn had twenty points clear air, with Michael Burton 'And Mum' posting a strong 510 (520 but one minute over) as our next best. Mike dropped 8, 30, 9, 4 and 11 from his run, and I suspect this was a fairly common take on the course for the speedy ones.

Back a touch, Michael Free worked the grey T hard for 500 to keep fellow Masters in their place. Tim Rogers carded 490, with Kar-Soon (480), Shane (460) and David Bray 'Of Sunshine' holding on for 450. There weren't many nags over 450, but one who had heads turning was Lisa 'The Louvre' Grant streaking the Open class with her 490. A stunning run from the Portrait.

Some other scores to note, were Sue Login finding 430, Jim McLean using the toothbrush for 440, Warwick Selby accounting for his SV rivals with 430, and Gil and Robin taking home 410 in their respective O and V sacks. There were lots of high threes to report. David Noble's 380 looked a lot like the 380 carded by Jimmy Merchant 'Marine', Graeme Hill, Rosscoe and Mark 'Mrs' Robinson (on the rise in the Vets). Going one better at 390 points were Mark Von Huben 'T Nail', Neil Hawthorne and two Masters stirrers - Fergus 'Dicko' Dixon and Mary Fien. Mary was an early runner and blasted her way round in full heat. She looked spent at the finish.

In the older mares and stallions, we see Owen Sharp enjoying another run in the SV's for 270, Chippy warming up with 310, but conceeding the points to Ron on 340, a blinker in front of Ken 'Routeburn' Jacobson and Mal Gledhill - both with 330. Good to see Dale Thompson powering back for 360 (the D never missed a beat running uphill out of #18 to the main road - awesome leg work from this track star), and also to see Angela Murray back with more speed, collecting 270, Ian Miller 'Tary Barracks' racking 300 rifles and Jimmy Forbes 'Hotel' and Dave Lotty enjoying a bit of track stuff for 330 each. Nice to share things around lads!

In the junior ranks, Sammy Rogers chalked 270, a touch in front of Aidan Dawson's 260. And I note Joshua Delmore proudly posting 50 points in possibly his first series outing. Good one Josh. There were many other quiet ones of course, including a modest 130 from Andrew Lumsden. Andy seems to be still suffering the consequences of a fall last season(!) and is leaving the big scoring to Deb. Lets hope the Big Foot supremo gets that much loved white T Shirt on the fly soon.

So, round 11 is done. A top roll-up and a tough course to master. But, hey, what a way to spend a Wednesday! Thanks Adrian and the Wester & Hills crew.

And so on to #12 and our pre-Christmas special at Balmoral. Rob Spry will scatter his pots from a new high up vantage point this time, happily avoiding the parking meter conundrums at the beach. So it's down, down to start this year, leaving the puff stuff for the flog home. Don't forget to wear your best runners and designer wear, pink looks good, as we streak the passegiata at one of Sydney's favourite and most fashionable harbour spots. And join in for fish and chips on the beach (or up at the Beuna Vista) afterwards. A great way to end the first half of what looks like being a record Summer Series. Thanks for being part of it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Manly Boys make a splash at The Worm

A feature of last night's excellent event at Manly has to be the 'Manly Boys' - James, Ned, Luke and Finn - who went for a 15 minute swim at #27 in competition time, racing home for minus 80 points! Great stuff. They were one of several groups that fronted the green flag (Lisa 'The Lampost' piloted another group) at Ian 'The Sauce Bottle' Jessup's Manly/North Steyne outing, perhaps our biggest roll up of group runners and new kids. Fantastic to see so many young ones twirling the pencil.

Ian posed a 'clover leaf' challenge, with distinctive groupings north on the Queenscliff hill, south on the Havranek hill and west to the flatter area past the golf club. Maddeningly, there were controls that didn't neatly fit the circle dudes, demanding much cogitation and fiddling with the string. The Manly Lagoon cuts through the map, with only three crossing points, and a reputation for the 'nasties' (it was reported Glenn Horrocks waded 4-14, so we hope he had a good scrub down with the Dettol). This water feature was the main northern route choice decider, with Ian's cunningly placed #30 making many a non gambler open their wallets. To stay low for the 60 points, or to jog the high contours for the same score. A no brainer for the less fit of course.

Many runners heaved into action with a norwest exit to 24, 23 and up to 21. # 12 didn't compute for many, and was later reported stolen. Confusingly 12 was actually 13, and visa versa. Michael Free did the opposite, with an exit via 5 and the upsey to #15. Porkie passed the damp grey T shirt at #9, presumably after the M&M's had cleared the hill.

Several competitors liked the comfort of late points and went clockwise, aiming for the Havranek Hill bag on the way home. The sculpture (26) rewarded, and gave height to a nice route home via 25 and 15 - with 16 in the out tray. Others, puffing along with their beach bags after searching for #27 (a strange lonely sight when I arrived, just the pot sitting on the sand), dashed west to 16, encountering a surprise hill! Given that they were up a bit, they pushed on to power box at 25 - perhaps hoping for an infusion of electric therapy. It made for a good final loop, and many joined in the action.

Other points to note, were the splash to 17 (worth it) and the rock run to the wormhole tunnel. A fantastic feature that tempted young Sam Rogers (Tim's son) to run through it, negotiate the boulders on the Freshwater side before climbing the steep Queenscliff hill from the north for #19 - which he didn't find! The nice flat route via 2, 3, and 4 with the sculpture controls was a another nice touch.

Given the hill work required, it didn't look like 600 - although Richard Green (530) forgot to collect #24 as he ran past. This would have given him 560 big ones - a terrific score. It's reported we had a 540, but not sure whose legs these were. The Glenn chomped the lot for 530, 7 minutes over. Other toppies of note were The Bradle Paddle with 520, Mike Free's 510 and Anthony 'Pet Sounds' Petterson's neat 500. In the OW class, Mary Fein was once again all class for 490 - a sensational run and well clear of strong work from Deborah 'No Dad' Noble (400) and Carolyn Haupt's 380. Bronny Steele carded 350 in the same class.

Other speedster of note included Masters stars Kar Soon and David Bray (490/480), Mark 'S On Paper' Schaefer (480) and Tim 'Buck Too' Marshall (450) - both open nags - and a couple of excellent super vet runs, Warwick 'The Glove' Selby (480) and Ian McKenzie with 460 in the can, and no sign of the achilles flaring. Ian's looking dangerous folks! Eoin Rothery once again had the OAWA colours on the fly with 440, joining Tom Hutton, James Lithgow and Jamie 'Ted' Kennedy with these Chinese lucky numbers. Unusually, The Pork upset Steve Flick and Gordy with a slender 10 pointer, with that other SVM star, Neil 'The Brown Hoops' Hawthorne only posting a modest 380. Could be one of those scores waiting to go 'non-bold' after event 12.

In the more senior and sedate racing, Heiko had the wood on Ronny (430 to 340), with Mal cranking up the engine with 370. Robin Cameron punched 400 (hope she got her car keys back), a touch behind the 'racing lovebirds' Sue 'The Log' and Pete 'The Cupboard' Hibberd -420 each - and a great run from Rachel Best 'Practice' with 450 potty points. Sue Thomson might have had the SVW to herself, and made early work of 290 before being press ganged onto the start desk. I also noted Jimmy 'The Finger' Merchant stretching out after a lay off for 360, Larry carding 230, Andrew Lumsden 'Dy Cinema' making headlines with minus 40! And let's not forget Team Maple (110) and that great duo from Normanhurst, Viv and Robyn, holding hands for a tidy 240 - and hoping Gail might join in soon.

My take on the 'lonely pot' would have to be #1, but no doubt Dave's analysis will prove me wrong. This one didn't fit the loopy running, but may have been taken as stiff medicine by those, finding themselves at 30 (and confusingly joining in the training group there) with five minutes to go said 'Crikey', home James, but don't forget the cairn! I have to say, Ian's control locations were some of the most interesting and varied we have seen to date. Take note all you power pole setters!

Finally, I must report Wendy 'The Stevedore' Stevenson on the flog home from #25, ran uphill to the dead end at 'B'! You have to admit it does looks like an 8! Comiserations Wendy, I wonder how many other runners were distracted and puzzled by this strange Garingal club competition feature? The letters represented the Havranek and Jessup house locations it seems.

Next week sees us back at East Killara under instructions from the tube of White paint. Adrian has a bit more bush and fire trail action to play with up there, so we may get a little orienteering skill reward. He is sure to set a cracker at 'The Bushranger', so don't miss it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Out of Bounds!

An incident at last weeks Longueville event has once again highlighted the need to avoid running on out-of-bounds areas and private property. A couple of competitors jumped into private property near control #5 last Wednesday, and managed to break a sandstone bench. They have been captured on a security camera, but as far as I'm aware, did not report the damage to the event officials or the property owner. We are trying to find who was responsible, and hope they will identify themselves (please!). The Summer Series enjoys a lot of goodwill from councils and neighbours, and it can so easily be lost if we don't do the right thing.

For the record, areas shown with the diagonal red/magenta stripe on the map mean the specific area is out-of-bounds (as last weeks oval was), and must not be entered. It should go without saying that ALL private property is also out-of-bounds.

Pork Pie will revert to 'normal' race calling after tonights blast at The Steyne. Should be excellent.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Horrocks Headlines at Record Roll Up

On a perfect Sydney evening, a record 235 nags raced to summer series glory last night at Wendy's Butchers Block blast - with Glenn 'The Man from Uncle' Horrocks sweeping the lot in 47 for a spectacular 580 points. The 'yellow singlet' was joined with a 580 run from Richard 'Poison Ivy' Green, only to go solo in the photo after the judges disqualified the Green Man for running across the out-of-bounds oval. Incredible athleticism from these two, who had clear air to those that followed.

After the parking fun at The Pot last week, Kingsford Smith Oval was a pleasure to arrive at. Lots of shade, lots of grass and the Big Foot robot starting machine tuning up. Many came by bike - an increasing trend. Things looked promising, even more so on registering, with Wendy's course getting Michael Free all excited as a 'lot' run. As in 'get the lot', nothing to do with Lots wife, although salt is a factor in there somewhere. Compared to previous outings on this track, it did indeed look more interesting and compact, with a nice collection around harbourside Longueville (and yes, this included a bit of contour embracing) and no remote controls on the way to Perth as we have had in the past.

So far so good. Nosing in a bit more revealed the Butcher's circle was a 'must do' at 220 points with the stretch north and how far west the questions. Many began with 23, and then looped via 1, 19, 25, 22, 11, 21 and 8 before option time - others circled the other way (including the speedy Super Vet, Gordon 'The Priest' Wilson (taking home 470 Freddo Frogs for his troubles). The two north east pots (3 and 17) looked the lonely ones, with 29 also getting the no vote from many fancies. Neil 'The Umpire' Hawthorne reported taking three minutes to collect 3 and 17 - giving him a nil return for this late return excursion.

A nice loop involved a rat run up the middle (12,2,15) before checking off 13 and 26, and the sweep west and south. The pleasures of Tambourine Bay and the mangrove track awaited before the various track junctions checked speed and a final lung buster home via #9. Fitter runners headed north from 13 to collect 20 and 24, with Heiko, working the other way round, taking the commuter route from 20 to 15 - via the main road!

With many pots located at ground level, there were a couple of toughies that didn't please the runners. Warwick Selby dropped seven minutes at #21 trying to find the rock platform, with several others reporting lost time there. Number 25 in the bushes and pot 14 also had a few competitors ceasing motion and going the scratch. Despite this, the course was an enjoyable chew with some excellent scenic vistas, great bush track running and generally impressive results from our stars. Big thanks to Wendy and the Feet.

Now folks, lets look at the leader board.

After our headliners, Mark Schaefer's 560 looks solid in OM, as did Anthony Petterson's 520 and last weeks winner Steve Ryan for 510. Veteran Malcolm '& Brush' Bradley chomped 540 in a great solo run to lead his class without the attentions of Mike Burton - stargazing in Chile. Mel Cox and James Lithgow (in a rare appearance) pencilled 470 and 440 respectively, while Richard 'Curb Side' Lane (460) and Pete 'Old Mother' Hibberd (390) led the other veterans. The increasingly svelt Stu McWilliam is also worth a mention with an strong run for 380 in this class.

Other 500 pointers include our two equal leaders in OW, Lisa Grant and Gil Fowler (500 apiece), and Shane 'Ain't that a' Henry in the masters group for 510. Anything into the fives is always good copy, especially when Pork Pie has the 2B twirling. And in the fours Mary Fein continued her form with a strong 480 in the MW group. Also in this rarified air, we shouldn't forget the SV's Selby and Hill (400/410) giving Dave Lotty a bit of pud (Dave, with a northern exit to the bush - he loves the bush - carded 370) and Mark Robinson (maybe a season debut?) for a very impressive canter and 440 pennies. Jim 'Bo' Forbes (350) and Michael 'The Princess' Roylance (310) also kept the SV board ticking with good runs, although the 'Roy' needs to work on his fitness. As his former trainer once noted, Michael is capable this distance with less thinking and more running. Karin Hefftner looks to have pulled the VW's with 390, ahead of great rival Robyn Cameron's 380. Also great to see previous veteran star Sue Clark back on the flog in Sydney for 360. Sadly Caeser was not on the leash.

In the Super Vet Women, the Porkster noted Helen Murphy had paid up and got 280 points to take home to Terry, ahead of Angela Murray's 180. Ange is obviously still suffering from the celebrations at Murrayfield last week, but is warming the kilt. Bryony also carded 280 in the SV class, keeping Tim in check (220) and adding to the building tally of the Central Coast series star. Good to see Catherine Murphy on the paddock (an excellent 390 in OW), a shade ahead of Deb 'Potato' Noble's 370. In the legends, great to see Anne Stewart in action for 220, and chasing Janet Morris home (250). In the junior ranks, Matty Hill continues to impress the judges with a striking 430, while Em 'The Typographer' Prudhoe (still JW?) scored a tidy 350 (Dad, pretending to be injured, pushed the walking frame around for 290). At the other end of proceedings Siobhan 'Oscar' Wilde was on the board for 110. Go the 'Banshee' the crowd yelled!

And finally from the broadcast box, great to see Caitlyn Anderson back from mummy duties for her first season run. Her debut 350 an excellent result.

Before we move on to a preview of next week, It is worth reiterating that areas mapped 'out-of-bounds' need to be adhered to. The oval last night was specifically declared and mapped OOB (pink stripe) as a condition of the areas use by the council. We need to abide by rules if we are to continue to enjoy areas such as this. Everyone, please note (sorry Richard!).

Now, next week see us off to the beach and Ian 'Tomato' Jessup's new area at Manly/North Steyne. As well as the beach, the area boasts a sharp hill in the middle of the map with amazing sculptural lookout, a great cemetery, Manly Rugby Club grounds and a bit of lagoon side fun. The 'Chess Set' is bound to get us on the puff in fine style, so an enjoyable outing awaits. Note his previous points about parking, but don't forget to turn up. Glory awaits, and maybe a swim after.

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