Thursday, January 19, 2012


On a warm sunny evening, over 250 Summer Series tragics fronted the Banjo. Many were clutching pages of rhyming verse, others with dog eared drafts of intending first novels; only to be swooned by a public reading of Mulga Bill's Bycycle - or more likely unnerved by Graeme 'The Man From Ironbark' Dawson's compelling and challenging course. This novella being a single sided A4 sheet, colourful but silent, and allowing the reader to ponder - and then to chew the stub at the poetic lesson ahead.

And so dear reader, another big rollup to Rosscoe's incoherent mix of literature and health - otherwise known as the Sydney Summer Series! 222 actual entries is the count, with a large contingent of Groupies and an incredible 54 e-stick hires. Brisk and busy business at this classic SSS location ensued, and, with our Open stars Andy Hill and Steve Ryan both suffering recent running/biking accidents (hand injuries), Glenn 'The Horror Movie' Horrocks shot through to claim on an evening where route choice mattered less than sheer fitness and speed.

Great weather for the second week in a row, something to crow about as competitor numbers build and the age group competition starts getting serious. Let's have a look at what 'The Door' put up and how the punters fared.

First impressions are always illuminating, and Graeme had a suprise in store with a distinct westerly take on proceedings - and only minimal involvement with the NSW Department of Health. So, we got a stretch all the way to Morrisons Bay from the neglected pool, and a dose of in-out work to annoy the loopsters along the way (rather like catching the Central West Mail and doing a bit of pick up shunting at Bathurst and Tumulla sidings). This was a big hand print at 1:10 scale and looked a toughie. Probably too tough, with the two westerly potteroonies (14,28) and maybe even #22, being quickly eliminated from the majority of string twirling calculations. The top score of 520 gives this first reading currency.

Graeme and Aidan had set an impressive course from the eastern side of the hospital grounds a couple of season ago, so it's a natural to want to change the offer. Punters who have enjoyed the fine quality feed within the hospital walls will also get another go here when Jim Merchant 'Of Venice' produces a Shakespearan sprint course from this very spot in a couple of weeks time. Monday Sprints? also classsic fun in the sun, and not to be missed - but I digress.

So a big wallop to the west, but a tight 150 in the hospital that probably had to be factored. The exit routes looked easy enough, with the main two being well trod (21,20 etc in the east, with 10 added initially by some - and 6,15,24 in the west). There was the odd western route of '15 first' also noted. Interestingly, of the easterners (or Victorian racing nags), most worked a 21,20,8,23 collect before taking their leave via 13 - ignoring the recently cleared fence corner at 11. This latter twenty pointer probably didn't compute for those intent on building an impressive CV in the west, although Open Women super star Gill 'Manuel' Fowler, bagged the poolie in her healthy night on duty and 500 biggies.

There was a natural route on hospital exit up to the (about to be closed off) bottle-O #27, on to 4 and then a laundry bag of goodies in the 28,12,19 area. Many went 27,4,30 to get access to 25 and 29 and friends, before the return and nervous clock watching. The 'Larry's' mentioned (ie. 9,17,26 15) not helping the smooth transition of: intention, electric signal to muscles, deep breathing, and subsequent forward and back leg motions in the Dunlop Volleys. If getting caught short by diverting to 9 (never go off line for a Tenner says Gordy) or 17 was bad enough, think of that fatal glance at the Accelator when well committed to 22, and only two or three to go. Oh whoa is me!

I think the immediate west and the mid west worked very well, with large numbers posting similar scores. The small differentiators so desperately sought, proved just too out of reach, with #1, #7 and #3 well qualifying for our lonely pot awards. I'd probably go #1 as the winner, because those on premium fuel could work a 30,3,25 loop if time was easy and the hard jubes were tasty. But then again, what about #7? Jeez, this is a lonely bugger if ever there was one. Splits will reveal all of course, but all these babies had at least one 'ping' - The Glenny passing in a blurr of yellow (why am I thinking Donovan all of a sudden!).

Runners familiar with the hospital grounds will have noted a bit of clearing - especially approaching #8 from the north, and the aforementioned pool. The ruins at #20 are also much more open now than in the past, but still quite evocative, as are all the walls and history here. History lessons on the run. That's the Summer Series!

Enough of the course, how about the punters. As many will already know, results and splits are airborne already, so all can be revealed by a little screen time. As mentioned, our 'all stations' runner Glenn Horrocks ran the 600 in 52.55 to win outright from a couple of strong 500's (Gill 'Bo' Fowler in OW, 'On Your' Mark Schaefer in OM and Mal Bradley 'Harvey Oswald' in VM). Mal pips the mighty Burton M here (a 470 claim after carding an unusually high plus six), Michael running early in the heat and leaving the scene of the crime for a 'strategy session'. Mmmm.

Some good high fours to note. Lisa Grant losing forty from her 510, Pete 'Of London' Annetts holding 470 hair dryers, as did the fast finishing MW mare, Barbara Hill (a westerly circuit for 480 and a 19 second penalty). One 480 to note is that of Lorenzo 'Olive' Calabro, one of Australia's great young orienteers down from Queensland and working an 11 free easterly start. Good to see the 'Oil Man' doing a bit of time at the site of an old oil factory (Meggits Ltd, for those interested, had their edible oil factory on this site, sheds, wharfs etc. Hard to believe now). Patrik 'Russian Iron' Gunnerson and Jeremy 'Vitreous Enamel' Fowler also are noted with 480's - matt and glossy results respectively!

In the junior ages, I note exceptional 460's from Dan Hill and Adam Halmy. I noticed Daniel chasing mum Barbara during the event, Danny taking a ten less though so as not to cause family tensions. Adam's equally speedy sister Bethany, looked 340 in the JW eye and may have gone gold. I noted Sophie 'The Grocer' Jones on a tidy 280 with Rachael Noble, our early leader, unsighted this outing (sister Deb played 'four of a kind' in OW though - a nice reward from one of our greatest). Going back to significant leg hair and body eruption territory, some good super vet and legend scoring. Wazza pulled off a win over 'The Bren Gun' (450/440) with the old dude home three early and Eoin over by 24 seconds. An upset to be sure - as they licked their pints. Terry 'The Sanitorium' Bluett, Jimmy and Ken 'Done' Jacobson pencilled (more likely, colour penciled) 380's, while Ronny went ten better after pondering 'bean' theory and the strange feeling of early arrival. The big news in the Legend Men however, is John 'Stobie Pole' Anderson's sensation 420 point win in this competitive class. John has speed to burn of course, with legs well concealed in secret weapon trousers rather like a James Bond accessory from 'M'. His route mirrored Warwick's (21,20,8,23, to the west, and home via 28,19,9,17,24,15,6) except The Pole ran right passed 28! His mind was on this South Australian state feature no doubt, hence the 30 point lapse - but an exceptional run from JA despite this. He grabs 100 and stirs the pot. The Pork is still injured (and walking like some sort of retired dance instructor) and Heiko saving himself for a late flog - this is a wide open run. Great stuff amongst the pensioners indeed.

Bry Nylon looks to have posted 100 over Sue in LW, with Janet Morris piloting grandchild (Richard's?) for a modest post in the same revered category. I also note Carol Jacobson taking more silk with a 340 ticker in SVW. CJ seems to have this one almost won, and should podium. Last weeks (excellent) course setter, Matt 'St' Peters, seems to be off leash lately with a sensational and very handy 460 in VM. 'The Railway Station' has definitely picked up pace and could medal at his rate. Go Matty.

Lastly, the Zero award; to Linda & Madelynne Chan this week, for an unselfish 90 points and nine minutes late! I also celebrate Sandra 'The Tank Engine' Thomas, once again our longest in the field contestant, with her 69.21 minute outing shrinking a tidy 280 by 250. Sometimes, the Sydney Summer Series has this effect - a mystery rather like 'night starvation' - something the children of the 50's will never forget.

So, in wrapping event 16, another grand roll up and some good scoring. The spread was probably a little wide but we'll take 520 and the Chicken & Chips at The Hunters Hill ($12.50) any day. Thanks Graeme and the Dawsons, and particularly Ross Duker for working the scoring lappie. The download desk was a busy affair (with lots of new records to enter) and there is always pressure here. The Door and The Duke did a great job. And if you like 'fry's with that', how about the last parking spot across the road from Banjo's Cottage, being taken by Rodney Parkin! Sydney Summer Series? Horoscopes on the run are just the beginning!

Next week sees us back at another favourite - Pottery Green in Lane Cove. This has been the venue of some very large turnouts in the past, and some excellent setting. The 'Slatts' is putting aside the willow and commentary duties, and will work the flannels and pots in winning manner. We get highway running, shopping centre malingering, a few rounds with the 7 iron, and some nice cool bush/creek material. Parking here is always at a premium, especially with the busy adjacent pool use, so take a bus, or be prepared for a little on the pins prior. Also don't forget the Loungeville Hotel (also adjacent) for a post race download and dinner. Sounds like a plan to me.

Robin Hood asked me to also mention the Metrogaine coming up shortly. This is always great stuff and worth the long restorative bath afterwards. Details from the Rogaining NSW web site. And finally, the Monday Sprints, now well underway - and classy racing stuff that is a nice contrast to the SSS - and the Western Summer Series events each Sunday. More 45 minute floggeroonies out west with many new maps. Why wouldn't you?

Many other excellent scores across the board

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