Thursday, January 12, 2012


On a perfect Sydney summer evening, and at a perfect harbourside park location, cunning running fans from all points of the compass went the ten bob tango in large numbers, very large numbers. However, without any current data, Pork Pie is nosing the trough for leads, but will probably have to move into porcine fiction mode in compiling this report.

But let's begin by saying it was a great evening with a very big roll up - possibly a record. Dr Matt and the Uringa crew pitched camp in the delightful Mort Bay Park, where one Lotty, D was soon dispensing maps with both hands - such was the pressure from intending SSS addicts. Early arrivals grabbed the parking with those later on the scene having to circle, and circle again - the Tedster being one of those working the Subaru into ever dizzying orbits. The early arrivers however, were thwarted in their plans for a quick despatch of the pots and subsequent delivery into the hands of Dr Resch, by the late arrival of the clue sheets, and final setting up of the beeping bunny rabbits.

The Doc soon appeared though, and by five we were in business. So much so, that an hour later the 220 pre printed maps had all sold! This must be some sort of record in speedy selling, although The Lottery Ticket reported a large number of group entries that bought multiple maps, hence the quick depletion and need for the later 'used map' registration queue. I'm sure we would have had at least 250 nags on the paddock, the place was swarming with non smokers eager to do their bit of inserting for the sake of the nations health. Given the weather and this attractive destination, it's probably not a suprise that we have gone big, after all, what else on the Sydney Festival programme can compete with this. Cunning running in historic Balmain - what a blast.

Many of you might have noticed your correspondent in unusual guise and of hobbling gate. Running full pelt into a metal fence at Monday's Sprint Series event rendered the Porkface a mere bystander yesterday, although he managed to accompany Gail and grandson Toby into a nice 190 point circle - so has some flavour of the event to report. And a map of course, recycled via Neil 'The Mountain' Hawthorne. So, as mentioned, not much on the results front to analyse, with no print outs that I saw. No matter, let's look at the 'MP's' course and what confronted the many ponies at MBP.

First impression is a much better 'scatter' than last year. This is the second outing here, and Matty worked in the southern areas of Balmain this time, presumably keeping the classic Ballast Point Park material for the Sprint event here in a couple of weeks. The distribution was fully across the area, and would have been a toughie except for one thing - the map was 1:7500 scale. This made things much more do-able, and I am thinking it might have gone 600 for the flash types. Or very close to it.

Darling Street almost cut the map, and the points, in half - with 220 on offer north of the Govenor and good collections to the east and to the south. The western circuit had a nice arc of thirty's, but was more spread and probably didn't get the visitation the east and south did. Apart from the inner trio of 5,6 and 26, there was a ring of no scoring residential that had to be worked through. Admiring the many classic old houses helped pass the time while on your way through this dead zone, although many late running returnees seemed to be in overdrive hereabouts and probably didn't see a thing. Funny that!

Discussions in the Dry Dock later on revealed almost a universal clockwise flog, with the starting line up (9,10,15,16) being as rote inspired as the two times table. Mid four scorers went the full monty to Darling Street wharf, turned west at 30, wondered about the chimney at 18, ripped past the Water Police bagging 28, paused to admire the about-to-be-demolished large white shed on the way to 'The Copse' (love that word) and the graffiti enclosure at 27, pushed on south (much as Robert Falcon Scott had done) to the old container depot, now apartments, at 13, bagging 24 and 3 before catching the return tram. Some good variations worked here, with high threes pulling up at 27 and climbing home via 25 and a nice flat white at The Little Marionette.

I note a trio of Supers, arriving on the 433 - and leaving with 460. Wazza, Gordy and Eoin are our SV's in question, and I think all ran the same eastern loop. Warwick discarded #5 as he pushed home via 12,4,25,26 and 6 in 44.39, whereas,' The Beecroft Bandit' pencilled #5 but ran three over to be twenty back from his peers. Jim 'Jim Falls' Merchant might have taken another ton with 420 in the Legends (to Ron's 370 and four minutes early??!!), and might have been one of the few to work the west. The 'Jumbo' began 26,6,5, pushed out the old right turn bus indicator (with a clank), worked the Leyland up to 23, 2 and 21 (somehow missing #1 in the process), popped in for tea at young Duncan's before taking the level route to 11 and 25, dropping to 12,3,24, reversing the trolley pole and (in notch one) coaxing the R1 class tram to a loop home via 27, 28 and the old Colgate factory. An excellent circle.

I don't have many scores, although Wendy put up 500. She ran all except #22, but was caught wide on the turn by a Hong Kong mare and took the photo seven minutes late. The confused location/description of #11 not helping our bus conductor (along with many others I gather). Malcolm Bradley did a Glenn, working the full thirty pots in fifty two for a 530 claim. Not sure of his route though. With 'The Shopping' Mal on 530, I would have thought Andy or the king might have gone close to a full card, but maybe just short - in which case, what superb setting! All will no doubt be revealed when chief Uringa 'pooter guru, Ronny 'Buckingham' Pallas, moves the results from A to B by royal coach. Watch this space.

Not sure how I might suggest a lonely pot. 22 needed commitment and might qualify, as just about all other worked in a series of loops and probably had multiple visitations (rather like Ron in the vegie patch, when he heard a mysterious calling..."come unto me my bean"). Yep, lets give the nod to number 22, with maybe #1 as the other outlier.

So, despite not feeling the personal bite of the road and lane, the snarl of the traffic, the envy of the sandstone or the sensational views on offer, I think it looked a cracker. Good scatter, good looping, plenty to see - and best of all, The "Dry Dock Hotel" adjacent to #6 with Reschs on tap. Very, very acceptable said the patron ordering a weak shandie.

A big thank you to Matt and the UR crew, who will soon be reprising things with the Monday Sprint hereabouts. One not to miss.

With SSS event 15 behind us, we now move back to the northside and another favourite for the view and history buffs. The delightful Banjo Patterson Park is a bonza spot to work the string line as we eye off the multiple delights of Gladesville Hospital and its old sandstone walls and buildings. No doubt Aidan and Graeme Dawson (our setters) will pull on an east/west stretch in addition to the hospital work, to allow jockeys to deploy a bit of whip work on the slower ponies. Plenty for all speeds of course, including our elusive club of negative scorers. Who was it this week? Who will it be next week? Head on over to the Banjo on Wednesday the 18th to find out. Another 'must see' venue of course - this time with lots of parking!

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