Wednesday, March 27, 2013


All of a sudden, we are at the end of season 22 - and in for a steamy finale at Mars Creek (aka Macquarie Uni). And what a season it has been. With around 5,300 actual entries from nearly 800 wallets with legs, we are down a touch on actual individual numbers this season (mainly in the Open classes), but up in participation - with the old nags in particular fronting like there is no tomorrow. Not bad, not bad at all, muses Pork Pie (sipping a tasty Pimms and dabbing his beaded brow with a large white and suitable monogrammed 'kerchief).

Because of his absence last week in leafy Toowoomba, PP missed Marina's apparently excellent flog at Parriwi. Scores looked nice high ones, rather like the siting of controls #25, 22 and 12 - a course with points and views to boot. With the sensible decision to remain east of Spit Road, the Bennelong Queen engineered a cracker that reprised some upsey Balmoral work of prior seasons - and even a bit of 'The Blue Engine's' recent master work from December 19. South looked the go, with air show like loops and weaves needed to secure the lollies. The lighthouse got a workout I see, and the Parriwi peninsular cliff fortress again failed to tempt - at least from where I'm sitting. Still, great scoring looked on for those that like elevation, and the subsequent 'elation' that comes from the hilltop 'about turn' in the pike position.

Tonight we have John 'The Lamb Shank' Brayan and Garingal crew working the Mac Uni Sports Complex again, and will no doubt cower in awe of the full coloured A4 sheet. I'm expecting JB to give us a final flog that will send us mad with 'If only's'. It will also give the 21 placegettings still to be decided, a proper final poser. Particularly, watch the Open and Masters Men contests that hang on tonight's run for the winners! Classic stuff from the series that stops the nation.

Also tonight, we have the NSW minister of Sport & Recreation, Graham Annesley, with us to present the Sydney Summer Series Cup. A first for the SSS, and big thanks to Barbara Hill for chasing this. We hope everyone can hang about as we celebrate the winners and bend the ear of the minister.

Because the Easter Orienteering carnival looms this coming Friday, many/most of us are hitting the highway early Thursday on the dash to Bendigo - and some classic old gold working cunning running. A consequence of this very early Easter, is Porkie once again going AWOL. If the man in the ugh boots gets a chance, a wrap of another excellent season (and the final) will appear in this very spot. It might take a few Carlton's to get him going however. In the meantime, thanks to all for being part of the action and enjoyment of Australia's premier navigation-on-the-run series. We will be back!

Thursday, March 14, 2013


These stirring and emotional scenes come straight to you from the set of Ian 'Titanic' Cameron's latest period drama - 'The Wilds of Lovers Jump' - where Steve 'Mr D'Arcy' Ryan and his leading lady Gill 'Miss Bennett' Fowler, and a cast of 170, are filming the final scenes in this classic Sydney Summer Series production. And what a scene it is. Gentlemen in finely pressed frock coats, the ladies in running vests and bonnets, and elderly dowagers without speaking parts walking back and forth on the course and hoping for a line or two in the Spit Junction sequel.

Mr 'D' and Miss 'B' are of course our winners last night, and what a couple they make. Both only just holding onto their appointments though - with Steve's wet shirt test scene only just holding off that of fellow OM champ Andy Hill, and Gill's portrayal of the deft deflection of the fawning minister just outpointing Catherine Murphy's reading. Great running and great acting from our Open stars, and a nice way to lead into an appraisal of SSS event 25 - as Pork Pie finds the unlikely links between Barbara Cartland and Jane Austin the perfect vehicle for such evaluation.

For the dramatic final SSS scenes, director Cameron has chosen North Wahroonga, where the rugged cliff tops, tors, and plunging creeks, and the nearby mansions and gardens, allow the crew to fully capture the action in both the indoor and outdoor locations. Where the original script indicated the majority of filming would take place amongst the rock and scrub (with fog machine at the ready), there was a late rewrite to include expanded work amongst the lawn and tea party scenes that gave runners a simpler choice - the offer of points without plunge. The movie was taking on a more genteel air.

So, let's look closely at the script and how the days filming unfolded.

The original novel "Lovers Jump", was set at (Heath) Cliff Reserve and included serious work amongst the rocks and cliffs. It was a major drama in the 11/12 theatre season, with comments from critic Mr T B Scouthall being well remembered. For the 12/13 season, Ian moved the set further east to Golden Jubilee and added 'The Wilds' to the title. Queen Victoria was also bought in to advise, and it seems QV might have been responsible for the shift from cliff to canap├ęs in much of the course. For, upon arrival on set and in collecting their day's cast sheets, actors quickly saw a serious offering south in the streets that might well minimise their bush work requirement - of recent and scratchy memory. Shirts and cuffs of superior cloth replaced the anticipated tat, as the props department worked overtime to dress the cast.

The spread was a wide one, an inverted 'L', with a full width bush offer in the north, and a dangling loop south. Where runners had been expecting their scenes to be shot amongst the cliff lines and tracks, they now had parts to consider in the streets - parts that would get them noticed on the results board, and with the Arts Council. It was easy to see why working down to 21 and friends was popular, with many beginning 24,23,14 before sweeping through the bottom 130 points and an optional track/street return. Despite this lure, several 'bushies' eschewed the macadam, thinking the bush is what an event at Lovers Jump should be all about, and plunged off in a sort of mad embrace of Contour Kate and her mate on set, Mr Sydney Sandstone. Almost as soon as these loopsters had begun, they knew it was going to be a page two result - especially after going north to #13, and wondering why it took so long to read twenty lines.

The bush pots were spread across the three ridges, but the western offer was very meagre indeed (three @ten, plus a 20 for a fifty total). I'm almost certain Glenn would have been the only person in the cast to have read these parts. Perhaps if Ian had moved (say) 21 here it might have had a different effect. The middle ridge offered good rewards, although the low link to the main film set ridge involved some fearsome down and up work (The Pants loved this apparently). Running west to 19 along the road, and then 26 in-out,18,8,27,25 was a good western link to the home points for those with puff, with 14,15,25 and back appealing to actors with greater girths, and more need for sitting roles. There were many slow workers in the north, with time lost in the loopy (30,3) track and cliff 'fear' playing it's part. Working up from #28 above LJ Creek apparently worked for many, with 28,17,22,11etc giving a better result than running 28,6,22 and having to backtrack to add #17.

Interesting to see Steve Ryan and Mark Schaefer worked north first (5,13,30,3 - Mark going 13,5), where Andrew Hill went south (24,17,16,21). Andrew had the up the cliff finish from #4 which might have cost him, where 'Mr D'Arcy' ripped along with a fast 23,16,17,24 final run in. All three leading men signed on for a 540 point performance, with their various curtain call delays accounting for the scoring difference. Mark Schaefer's minus forty seeming to indicate the audience wouldn't let him go! Another beginning of interest is from Mike Burton, who went green flag, 28,3,30,5,13,29 etc, before finishing via 22,17,24. Bertie Germ was a couple of minutes late in doing this, but wasn't everyone? 

The complete outsider in the streets was pot number one, presumably intended for Glenn - who's agent might be lodging a complaint with Actors Equity. This could also be the lonely pot, although I think the three western tenners probably could share the award - maybe lets plum for number ten - a mound too far in anyones language. I liked the four east/west linkages (low track, high track#4, road at #23 and road at #14) as they allowed good out/back looping and short cuts if the bell was ringing for your stage call. Working around Judy Hay's place from 4 to 24 was a struggle if you missed the cliff line gap (as PP did - ending up in the green stuff. Tim Cox also in trouble here I'm told), but an excellent link if you snapped it. As an addendum to the main script, one runner, ignoring the lessons of the original play, decided a 'quick' 30 by dropping below the scout hall to #26 and back was 'on'. Many might remember the hard-to-find track here from last season. A pity your correspondent didn't - taking well over the earning rate in his struggle, but enjoying the rock climbing. An actor who does his own stunts it seems!

That'll do for the summation. A balance between the genteel and the dramatic, the pant and the pantaloon. Tea on the swings at #11, or a dangerous liaison with Miss Tree at #25, it had it all - but cops a 'Mature Audience' rating for the bad language scripted for players below twenty nine with one minute to go.

Let's have a look through the cast sheet, and what takes the eye.

I've already mentioned our open winners, but like to note the scoring. In OM, Steve's 520 to Andrew's 510 to Mark's 500 are the only scores over 500. Tough stuff indeed. Tommy and 'The Christmas Carol' plugged 480's and were twenty on from 'The Paint Tube'. Gill's 470 won OW from Catherine's 450, with Claire well back on 400, and Lisa - Lisa! - on set for a staggering 59.07 minutes, and a modest 280 reward for all the work. No sub or junior women parts this week, although there were a couple of small roles for the boys (Aidan being noted for the clarity of his 410 point audition).

The two classes with the biggest winning margins (by 70 points), were MW and WaW - with Alison Curtin's 410 to Sarah Walter's 340 in MW, a very stylish leading performance. 'The River Po' was similarly impressive over Ruth Jacka in the walkers, and is rumoured to be considering a running role in Gone With The Wind. I note Pete Fallows claiming, just, in MM, with his 420 points a tenner ahead of the three tenors, and twenty on from 'The Steam Engine', 'The Morris Minor' and Glenny. This is an unusual place to find the Garingal star, who also nearly got the longest-on-course award for a performance 'above & beyond'. His 64.03 post was a long time on stage without a coffee break, but not quite long enough - just losing this honour to Rowena Clark and her outstanding 75.51 minute speech. Well done Miss 'Wallace', our Gold Logie star.

Good wins last night to Kaj (JM), Robin Cameron (VW), Warwick Selby (SVM), John Anderson (LM), Bryony (LW) and June Stanley (IW), with a couple of winning ties also noted - Dale and Karin in SVW, and Malcolm and Bruce in IM. Good to see 'In The Middle' claim in IM, and for Bruce to also feel the red carpet. Heiko was a no show this week, probably after his long and exhausting role in a recent western 'Gunfight on the Six Foot Track'. I should also note Jim 'WMOC' Merchant taking ten off Mel in the walking blokes - and going home with a tidy 100pts for his trouble. Jim's 290 was a good result here, and in good company, with over half of the actors on set falling below the half way mark. Quite a telling stat - as is the late back brigade, with over two thirds of the cast arriving back late from lunch, SSS Productions chief executive Rosscoe 'The Weinsteins' Barr, is thinking of involving Mickey Arthur in a little finger wagging - and banning the Reschs.

Surprising defeats? Steve Flick going down to Ando in LM (320/360) is one, with 'The Stevedore' seemingly discombobulated at checkpoint #14 and not making the best of the opportunities - and being home early! Neil Hawthorne is another leading man to take on a more minor role last night, probably after working the chaps and spurs too hard in the Six Foot western mentioned above, Neil's 310 is well off Wazza's excellent 400. 'Tearaway' Ted Mulherin would also be unhappy to drop ten from Malcolm and Bruce in IM, with the probable difference occurring at the thirty point car wreck (#30). I gather Ted found another one there! And Sue Thomson, only off by ten as per Teddy, with it all happening at the sloping rockface in the easement track going 23-home that Sue couldn't climb! Sue lost several minutes here until someone helped her up. It was also an awkward one for the less agile going downhill. Several actors used stand ins during filming here.

Good to see Nick Dent down from the Central Coast, and also good to see Don Burnett and the Darvo's on the boards again. Anne was a well known lead in former days, with her modest 160 belying a very talented past. And Don, a stunning leading man over many appearances, once again out with us as the director called action. Great stuff. 

No close shaves this week, with Emmanuelle the only .01 over - although at 44.01 not quite the angst of a 45.01, and tears in the trailer. Our most popular score is a suprising 310, with nine runners posting this - among them we find 'The Vegie Patch' (LM), Peter 'The Butcher' Day (VM), Amy 'I Mean You No' Harmer (OW) and Michael Ridley-Smith (another Vet). Chris 'The She Oak' Cunningham (VM) and 'The Hawk' (SVM) both copped big time penalties in earning their 310's, with Neil's 65.48 doing to his total what Chop Suey did to grandma. Good scoring at 310 none-the-less - and above the 'mean'. 

So to wrap. Another low scoring day on set, but with some excellent work from our stars. Great to be back with a sniff of the eucalypt and sandstone - especially given the two State League events coming up this weekend, it was the right event at the right time. The Director and all of the Garingal crew deserve much praise, as do the weather gods, as they hand over the reins to a new crew, and a new location. Yes, next Wednesday sees the action at The Spit under the watchful direction of Marina & Fedor Iskhakov and the Bennelong road crew. This is another second outing map, with advice that all the filming will be on the eastern side of Spit Road, and no need for those actor-in-traffic dramas from last year. Going further south, rather than over to the west, will link in the northern parts of Balmoral to Chinamans, which should make for a very pleasant experience. The sniff of salt spray and the whiff of a martini. Mmmm, sounds kinda good, so make it a date. This is the penultimate SSS event for the 12/13 season, and almost your last chance to flash the fiver at the judges. A couple of classes still to be decided - including the fantastic competition in OM. What a blast! In two weeks we return to Macquarie Uni sports fields, where the Three Stooges (John, Bob and Dan) will be inviting you to run and laugh! All at the same time. More like sob probably, as another excellent SSS season draws to a close in one of our favourite areas. Not to be missed, especially if your up for the Masarati and Louis Vuitton prizes......well, badges anyone? Sigh.

I've also been asked to make an early mention of the Great Nosh Footrace which is on in early June, running from Lindfield to Seaforth Oval. This excellent bush track and fire trail run has history, and scenery (!), and is much more fun than anything along a road. Joel and Dazza are on the job once again, so check out their offer and the entry form at the Bennelong website ( Entries are now open.


Thursday, March 7, 2013


Strong performances from our Open stars saw Sydney Summer Series 'house prices' return to the high fives last night - the first time for some weeks. Combined with excellent clearance rates, SSS event 24's James Ruse navigation-on-the-run property perv, showed confidence had returned - and knee pain had  once again given way to capital gain.

Ten athletes (seven of them first 'open'- home buyers) all had their hands up over the 500K mark, with another eight just falling ten or twenty short. Good scoring, and good bidding at the premium end of the market, and great to see so many Open stars up there where they should be (coping with the decision to 'fix' or 'float'). Topping the bids, with an equal win on the night, were OM fancies Andrew Hill and Steve Ryan with their 580's apiece. 'The Ford Dealer' and 'The Daughter' just managed to shade equally sensational work from fellow Open kingpin, Mark 'My Word' Schaefer, who's notionally equal 580 copped a ten point contract preparation fee, giving him the bronze in this closely contested auction. And it wasn't just our OM's going hard, Catherine Murphy (510) and Gill Fowler (500) waged a ding dong battle in OW for the semi detached in Gowan Brae Avenue, with Ms 'Parr' finding that final tenner as the hammer came down. Incredible racing.

Good to see the Open guns on the flog to such good effect (there is nothing like the mongrel of the first home buyer to lift the work rate), but how good to see, amongst these young kings and queens, VM Greg Barbour and MM Glenn Horrocks both holding 550K bank loan approvals! Exceptional work, with 'The (sadly missed) Yellow T-Shirt' working all properties as per usual (in 49.03), and 'Sweeney Todd' enjoying a Burton's Ale free event, and really putting the boot in. Age shall not weary them indeed.

Great performances at the pointy end, and excellent scoring throughout the ranks of the 161 auction attendees (ten or so of whom were in the rooms, but not holding bidding paddles). Well over 100 posted over 300 point scores, with all but four of the 151 going 'hands up' over 200 - one of our highest medians ever I suspect. Sounds like a run, and sounds like a fast one too. With thirty properties being disposed of on the evening, there was no time for mucking about. Let's join Nerise 'The Gavel' McQuillan and the experienced team at WHO Auctions, as they set about their work.

Buyers with previous exposure to this market had an understanding of the older properties in North Parramatta, and perhaps were expecting a full landscape catalogue of units and detached dwellings with JR's Driveway forming a northern (price) barrier. This was not the case however, with the attendance fee revealing an A4 portrait sheet of properties for purchase, and at a wide range of prices. Almost half of the real estate north of the Driveway, bringing in a different (steeper) demographic, and appealing to buyers with more puff. 'JR' was almost a central divide to a full 'Larry' hand spread of points, and a suprisingly wide spread range of property styles and address numbers. It looked like a puzzler, and many retired to confer with bankers and lawyers before placing a bid with the starter.

With 340 points south of the Driveway, including several older properties with 30K expectations, most runners planned a southern collect as a base case - and hoped to add another purchase (or two) in the north as time and funds permitted. Several loops presented themselves here, with the beginning via 20, 16 (Sherwin Park Pole Art), 26 (All Saints Cemetery), 30, 25 (Jack Teale's three bedroom fibro), 13,1 (Symonds Avenue Playschool), 27 and on to 7/19/22 being probably the best of them. Andy Hill worked this beginning, although he included #5 (the rather small 'boxy' property) (20,5,16). The four southern houses with 30K expectations in this loop were too hard to ignore, and attracted strong bidding on the night - including from buyers wearing strange and colourful clothing.

Another essentially southern bagging, began at #12 (the Corry Circuit house garden seat) and included the middle priced and located houses with views (#2 - a tasty Boral brick offering with no eaves, 21,14) before working down the budget to #16 and as above. These starters had a bit more work to do early, and only managed a tickle under the tunnel - losing out to higher bidders on the dream properties further north of James Ruse. It delivered a 380, but not a 400.

Runners who like to swell the sweat band early on went north first - including Mark Schaefer going left (12,2,21) and Steve Ryan going right (12,3,11,8). Interestingly 'The Pen' worked a fuller circle, out over the freeway and coming back via the tunnel, whereas 'The Daughter' returned the way he began - via the tunnel. Steve left off #6, rightly ignoring this small galvanised iron dwelling, as he inspected the houses further north, but mucked up the open home times at #10 Lind Avenue, and had to double back here (working 23,29,10,4) and maybe missing out on a 590 win (the blue shoe is back folks!).

The north didn't link so comfortably as the south, with the properties north of the 3,28,18 line needing careful work, including the dreaded in-out and a bit of duck and weave before the auctioneer asked for your p[addle number. I particularly like the George Gollan Reserve claim and its attendant loopy needs. One point noted by all at the evening's auction, were the good spread of points close in - making for excellent beginning conundrums - and ending options. Pork Pie's anti clockwise loop south gave time to add 3,28,18,15,9 in the north before a heavenly downhill return via 21,2,12 - and the grassy flog to the double circle.

Looking at the scoring on the night, it seemed an almost perfect spread. Good loops, tempting add-on's (#17 a classic), well defined features, clear hanging, flatter or hillier offers - it had the lot, and was a presentation worthy of Belle Property.

So how did the buyers fare?

Most winners are as expected, with the biggest margins in JM (150pts), MM and IW (both 70pts), and VM and SVW - where fifty points was the gap from first to second. Amongst the many superb winning runs, I note Catherine Murphy in OW, Antoniya Bachvarova in MW and Liz Bulman (VW) in particular this week for walking off with the keys. Excellent work girls. Ellen wins SJW with 160 points, Michele wins JW with 220 (but only out checking houses for 33 minutes before rushing off with dad to help land an overweight Air New Zealand DC3 at Mascot), and several runners tie in sight of the final sale. Let's hear it for these sporting couples: Rochelle Cox/Clare Williams (460's in OW 5th), Richard 'At Peace' Pattison/Stefan Kuehn (450's in OM 4th), Pete Annetts/Andy 'The Underpants' Smith (480's in VM 4th), Karin Hefftner/Dale Thompson (340's in SVW 1st), Sue Thomson/June 'The Moon' Stanley 270's in IW 1st), and Brian 'The Meat Cleaver' Cleland/Tim 'The Shoulder Charge' Cox 310's in IM 4th).

I note a strong bid for the $480,000 property in Lorraine Place from Melissa Selby (OW) - just ten behind 'Art Deco', and indicative of this marathon stars exceptional speed and stamina. If only she could be spared from Timbertop Way traffic disputes, Detective Selby could threaten amongst the open gals big time. I also note Heiko taking forty over Ted (380/340) that seems to put 'The Mulled Wine's' gold hopes out of reach. It was getting close, but the Kincumber King put up the pony when it counted. Wazza Selby returned to a (strong) win in SVM - over James 'Of Beecroft', and 'The Highlander' and 'The Cheese'. Great to see SSS original Graeme Hill being able to join the run last night, and popping a 390 onto the underbidders register. I should also mention it was nice to see Marion Gledhill not letting 'The Maldives' have all the fun, with 200 neat and tidy ones in the IW bag, and second place bragging rights over Malcolm's third. I also note Belinda 'Not Of Gosford' Kinneally and Kerryn 'Frank Sinatra' Hassall sharing 230's in WaW - another equal score, but shaded by Michelle (300) and Julie (250) in this important category. There were no walking blokes - sadly.

Not too many odd stats to report, with no close (.59) shaves, and only a couple of pesky .01 overs - none of the 45.01 variety, although 'The Gladstone Bag' would be a bit annoyed with his 46.01. Lee Coady was out the longest this week - missing the highlight property of the night (the three story Glenn Murcutt stunner at #29 Brookside Place), as he worked through the full listing in 60.56 - and a 440 claim. Still a tidy result, and a share of 32nd place. Graeme Hill had the next best, with a 57.25 ping against his name.

So then, another excellent evening of running and viewing at the same time. Property is a Sydney obsession, and we at SSS headquarters like to show you what others only tell you. And so it was last night, as Nerise and the WHO auction crew (great to see Chris Crane there again) threw; brick veneer, fibro, double fronts, semi detached, cape cods, units, town houses, four car garages (and a cemetery and sewer vent!), into the mix - as we ran their property offer at James Ruse Driveway. Thanks again to all. It was a sensation.

Next week sees us once again well up the, no, the north shore, as we get another taste of Sydney bush - running Ian Cameron's North Wahroonga biggie at Lover Jump Creek. Ian has extended last years well received 'Cliff Reserve' map further east, with the new start location at Golden Jubilee Field, above and west of, the aforementioned creek. This is on another ridge jutting out into Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park and should provide some sensational additional material for 'The Quiet One' to work with. Plenty of bush, bush tracks, and adjoining leafy street connections. A great way to start getting into orienteering mode, and the State League beginnings at Lithgow coming up. Join us as we go 'North to Alaska' in a late surge for the Summer Series points.  


Friday, March 1, 2013


Orienteering skills were rewarded last Wednesday evening, where the classic bush section of Jimmy's Beacon Hill bonanza sorted those working the low-fire clays from the stoneware compass kings. With many scoring returns indicating clay-mation rather than clay-motion, 'The Clay Pan' had obviously puzzled the punters, and delivered one of the years most interesting and controversial outings.

In a welcome break from SSS tradition (where we commonly see the field line astern across the scoring spectrum), there were tales of whoa, and tales of glow - as several fancies failed to fire, several mid career potters worked a pugmill miracle, and several more budding craft artists shook their heads as they watched their Ball Clay pinch pots slump in front of the judges. Although we didn't see an iceberg, it was a night to remember - or a night to forget. Let's huddle around the kiln as the pots are bought forth for evaluation by Pork Pie (the Milton Moon of Pyrmont).

Firstly, a new map in a completely new area for the Sydney Summer Series. This always adds a ting of excitement, and generally finds SSS types fingering a new O top - or ironing the socks - in anticipation. The Merchant of Venice is known to put up a top order challenge, and with the promise of bush, and the promise of intrigue in the 'clay pan', over 190 craftspeople fronted the Goanna, eager to display their wares. Let's look then at the event 22 offer, and run the eye over the results.

Firstly, the map. An A4 landscape presentation with Boral border (chief clay sponsor no doubt) at 1:7500 scale. This meant the full control spread (exceeding the 'Larry') should still be 'on' for the high flyers (or high-firers as they were known on the night), given fast work through the bush sections. With our TAFE classroom in the lower central portion of the area, students chewed their pan(tella) and slurped a clay(tons) as they adjusted their bearings. A decent collect of porcelain points to the east - including three thirty's. A difficult middle section that looked more pan(fry) than pandora. A nice opening 'throw' to the west that made for a good start - and the grand promise to the north that was the whole reason for taking the advanced classes. The north offered some good scoring, with the detailed mapping captivating the quality O students - fingering their thumb compasses for perhaps the first time in SSS. It also offered full and partial loop options and had the coil pot kids excited. The north also demanded close attention - and kilns set to Cone 14 for the best results.

Their appeared to be an even spread of clockwise and anti planners, with the clockies working 2,21,12 before the difficult decision at 25, then 15,27,7,17 - and either an early pull out via 28,19 and the classic 30-18 bagging, or urging their puggermixer on to 20,10,29,9 (8 was an easy drop here) and the reconnection with the maze and the stripy green claytonia. Given clean running in the north (not many claimants I gather), the return was a corker - with 6,14,26,5 and some of the thirty's before home via 11 or 3. The anti class tended to bag more eastern clays before ascending to the 18-30 challenge, and may have bailed earlier in the north as a result (perhaps 30,19,28,17,27 etc). Those that were nervous of the northern points could still work across the lower section of the map for a tidy 250 or so, and might have saved pot #1 from lonely status (my guess for this honour would be a toss up between #16 and #8 - or maybe the low battery number 4).

Look closer at some of the bush pots and routes. Number 25 was for many, the first real challenge, and yielded best along the cliff line from the northern track. Michael Burton approached via the green and lost many minutes scaling the cliff face - when he eventually got to it! This was a great 'suck-in' control, and only rewarded perfect navigation. It had that gain thirty, lose forty look, and scrambled the brains of early bravado's (PP avoided it). Number 15 was nice stuff on the bare rock, with the track providing fast passage on to #27 (one that Ted Woodley would rather forget - wasting 12 minutes searching). Many slow claims, and some no claims at #20 - where a bash through to the western fire trail yielded #10 and a good link to #29 - perhaps the control of the day, where the track network demanded very careful map reading - and the odd glance at the compass. Although the tracks here are all accurately mapped, there are glimpses of open patches along the way to throw the unwary off the scent. Is that a track? It was excellent stuff.

The amazing area around #9 had to be seen to be believed. This was Clap Pan central, where pan(cake) and pan(handle) created a panchromatic pantomime of humps, slots, hollows and hillocks to delight and surprise. Those that worked the lower crossing loop (28,19,30) missed out on the lecture of the year here, and can only wonder at what the man in the pan(ama) hat is on about. Next time.

Loved the #19 high point, and the superbly sighted picnic table at #28. Like last weeks 'chair', the 'picnic table' takes our understanding of everyday items to a whole new level. What a place for one, what a location, what mapping Jimmy! Having survived the pandemonium of tracks at #28, let's move on to the classic 30-18 leg - already gone down in history for it's flux quality, and the ability to anoint champions. Working down from the main fire trail, the clue was the rejoining small track on the bare rock - then in to the right and bingo. Many missed the bare, instead adding too much feldspar to the mix and continuing on the track and off the map. The 'Undone Gown' was one reporting major time loss here - as did 'The Queen Mother'. It probably was an easier collect from the south, coming along the rock line, but demanded map reading skill nonetheless. As did the subsequent route across to 18, where good reading and linking of the bare rock areas led one to a nice twenty point beep of the clay pipe. This area was just classic stuff that rewarded both the bold and the careful. 'Navigation on the Run' - that's the Sydney Summer Series!

Not sure how many looped into the mid section (13,4), although a link from 12 via the track, in-out 14, then 4,14 was a reasonable way to cross town if you were collecting the mainly southern street offerings. The east looked straight forward, although I notice a little contour colouring added some darker tones to the pot timing. Working 11,22,24 seemed a good start/finish - with #23 stretching the odds here. I like a cliff though, especially a west cliff. It adds an 'earthenware' quality to the display.

A great event, although another non-fiver. Things obviously proved tougher than anticipated, with 480 taking home the scholarship - and many of the guns off podium as mentioned in my intro. Let's listen in to lecturer Blakebrough as he delves into the qualities of hydrated silicate of aluminium, and spits out some stats and scores.

Not quite a full board, with the Junior Women's class cancelled because of a threatened tick infestation. All others on deck, with clay knives and lecture notes at the ready. Many winners as expected (Wa's, I's, L's, V's, M's etc) but some other potters worth a mention. How about Toby Wilson, offering a 350 degree fired porcelain 'Jug' to take the SJM win from the 'Watering Can', whose 310 was shaded by lost time at 20 (the claypan clearing) and #15 (the underglazed bare rock). Nina claimed in SJW with 240 over Ellen's 180, after coaching classes in hand firing from Marea Gazzard. In Open Women, Catherine Murphy takes the (pan) cake, streeting her opposition with 400 points, and leaving Claire (310) and Lisa (300) to review their kiln temperature. Patrik Gunnerson claimed the points in OM with 480 (the equal top score on the night), holding ten over Andy Hill and thirty over Mark Schaefer. 'The Ink Bottle (440), 'The Joss Stick' (430) and 'The Guillotine' (400) are also noted in this high temperature range, but minor flaws in their glazes have kept them from the medals.

In MM, Glenn still managed the win (the lot in 63.18), but nice to see Stefan 'In Tune' Kuehn, Danny Dohle, Lee 'Enfield' Coady and Matt 'I Can't' all only ten adrift with tidy 400's. Perhaps the biggest upset of the night in any class, was MM 'King', Richard Green's 320. I'd thought it might have been a massive over time outing reducing another high claim, but his 40.32 indicates otherwise. Mmmmm, must be a story here somewhere. Richard?

Last weeks setter, Greg 'Oil On Canvas' Barbour piled on 410 in VM, behind a delicate slip glazed 430 from Tim Rogers - and the aforementioned MB with his excellent 480 equal toppie. The Lithgow Pottery won with 360 in SV - ten on from enthusiastic attendances by Gordy and Ian Cameron, whilst 'The Legend' (Steve Flick) went ten better in the senior U3A class. In SVM, 'The Hand Spread' is an interesting study. Larry lost ten minutes at #29 (the control of the night), never finding it, despite several relocation attempts - including via #10, but ending up at #9! Adding to his 50.58 minute time on the pottery wheel, was another diversion - this time missing the exit to fire trail SW of #28, and going 28-6 via #7! Beautiful work from our Super Vet star. Heiko, despite losing time at #18, and returning to the classroom six minutes late, still held the points in the Legends - from Malcolm (270 to 230). Carol, Bryony and Sue all won, with Sarah Walker noted winning MW with 330 points - and getting a trip to where it all began - Mt Gaoling (Jiangxi Province in China), as a reward.

We had some interesting timing results - none more so than Stuart Deane's excellent full claim in 104.01! The dreaded .01 meaning Stu lost the lot. 600 in, 600 out. Dedication beyond measure. Tim 'The Slab Pot' Perry also rates with his 98.44 rendering his 510 cm stoneware jar a minus thirty. 'The Plum' is another over time student, with his 92.01 (another .01 beeper) leaving a minus 150 aftertaste. Our most popular score was 210 with eleven runners, followed by 180 with nine. Quite low totals, and well below the half way mark - as were well over two thirds of the potters in the room. Another feature of the challenge at 'The Pan' was the number of late back runners, with only 51 back under the 45. Much discombobulation in the clay seems the cause.

No 44.59 close shaves this week, although a couple of 44.57's noted ('The Code Cracker', 'The Gladstone Bag' and 'Linseed Oil'). There were a few just-over potters that will be annoyed at that second lost opening the jammed kiln door. Chris Cunningham, Shrav Malkani, Charles 'Track Work' Blaxland, Stu and Andy are the men in aprons here. Several Group's on the flog, with "Team Berko' leading the pack (220 points). Also noted were a group of first timers from Waringah Tri Club (if memory serves me right), hopefully enjoying the event after being given a detailed description of the highly plastic qualities of certain low-fire clays by lecturer Forbes. Welcome one and all.

That's a wrap I think. Some interesting scoring, and many tales of navigation - successful or otherwise. It was an event that will live in the memory, and around the bar over a tasty Reschs. Thanks to Jim and the Garingal team for something different, and a chance to remember the qualities of 1970's pottery. Next week we revert to a more 'normal' park/street offer at North Parramatta - where all assembled will rise upon Judge McQuillan entering the chamber. This will once again showcase the quality WHO team, and runners can expect a fast affair - James was that sort of guy!

But wait, there's more. I almost forgot to mention the Mosman MiniGaine on this Sunday. This is a three hour flogerooney where individual entries count for SSS points. 'The Woodpecker' has joined several harbourside Summer Series maps for this event, which should be one to remember. Think Zoo, think Sirius, think Balmoral, above all, think views, views, views (and maybe a bit of real estate). Sydney on show big time. A navlight thingy event, which you have probably already pre entered - for which the Teddy and Gill will be eternally grateful. Bring pennies for the tram, and a nice Peters Ice.

I also should conclude by mentioning the last couple of Sydney Sprint Series events coming up. Next Monday (if your not too buggered following Ted's Torture), sees the Flash Harry's at Balmain, and the last one on Monday 11/03 (Pork Pie at the helm) is at Glebe Point on a new 1:4,000 map. Expect fast and furious action at both these fun events, as a 'second' can be all it takes. Fantastic fun.        

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