Thursday, April 4, 2013


The twenty second Sydney Summer Series ended on a high note last Wednesday with a beautiful evening, an excellent roll-up (190 odd bolters in their racing silks), a great course from 'The Braised Chop'; and NSW Sports Minister Graham Annesley joining us in the prize giving!

All too soon it appears to be over for another season, but what a season we have had. Mainly fine weather is a startling memory, and in significant contrast to the 'Tim Winton' ish 11/12 season (The Riders - "even the damp was damp"). We have had many great events and happenings; Jimmy's excellent challenge at Beacon Hill, Penno and 'The Plunge', Gordy's marathon at Balmoral, Dan going down a hole at Telopea, Wazza going walkabout - and some memorable competition. Who would have thought that after 26 events, the last night still offered twenty one places to be decided - including the classic blokes double acts in OM and MM. Sadly, these two didn't actually get to be races at all, with 'The Hangman' taking OM (Andrew a slight injury from the previous Sunday event), and 'The King' a no-show in MM (another injury I'm told). Still, we did get to see 'The Helecopter' "shoot through" the JW field for an excellent and last minute series win - with most other undecided's resolved as expected (Pork Pie was one such - holding a three over 'The Trouser' going into the final, and finally taking silver when the Garingal galloper failed the weigh-in. Phew!).

Given we had the minister on hand (big thanks to Barbara Hill), the usual order of the night was reversed, with the Summer Series Cup and the 'Special Award' preceding the age categories. I think Minister Annesley was impressed by his first contact with orienteering, and particularly, the age ranges on show (great to have 'The Gumboot' and 'The Curry Puff' in the front row for his talk!). And what a pleasure to count down the top ten overall point scores to another cup win for 'The Car In The Garage' - who's season has been consistently strong. A deserved win Karin. The secretive 'Porkis Pius' racing committee had also earlier divined that the Special was to go to James Stuart for outstanding and rusted on attendance over many seasons - and with James living (we think) in the ministers electorate, it was nice to also invite the minister to award this.

David Noble and your humble tipster then flogged off the vino and badges as the thousands in attendance ("I think we are looking at 20,000 Jason") clapped, cheered and promised to train harder next time. It was a good night.

Speaking of the night itself, permit me a tincture of finger on key, as a final salute.

Setter Brahan was volunteered by his many friends, and came up with a goody. The final often gets lost in the prizes, the early dark, or the dash for the Reschs. 'The Pumpkin' handled it last year, but I think JB 'Lager' might have gone one better in season 22. What was not to like about the landscape presentation. #2 - so easy to ignore, #26,27,25,28 - so easy to include. It had that comfy feeling of a hot toddy with gran; and a bit of cake if you liked. Some good looping on show, with variations within the Uni giving one year old colts and geldings good practice racing on a crowded track.

Most seemed to depart south with #26 in mind. Working then to the Uni in a sweep west (ignoring #2) made for good tallies, before re entering the Uni (21,8,29,13,9,18,25,20 was connective - much like James and his roast pork loin) - and then something 'more' if you had it. The siting of #16 and #10 annoyed those on a 19-30 timetable, although going 26,16,27 paid dividends if you were that way inclined. The wider western potties, needed resolve and more thought inside the Uni. 9,14,18,25,20 sort of spoil the wide runners here - in another bit of classic score event setting. It certainly needed rocket fuel to run 24 down - and that annoying #5! Beaut placement again from JB as he gets a few of the classier paints running 29,17,5,12,22, and then fretting over that nice pole at #28!

Good course, good scoring, good fun - and a fitting way to conclude another cracker series. Steve pulled the lot in 41.49, a minute plus on from Glenny; with plenty of high three's, four's and five's. A couple of runs worth a mention: Greg Barbour holding ten over 'Burtons Ale' (580/570 in VM), Gill just over Lisa (ten as well - 570/560 in OW), Sharon ten again - over Robin (410/400 in VW), and Tearaway Ted Mulherin plonking 430 on the clock to Heiko's 410. What might have been in the Immortals, what might have been! I also note Chris Brown (soon of County Cork, or is it to be Ballykissangel) and 'The Melted Cheese' sharing WaM 370's to shade Jimmy of Mona Vale.

There were many other excellent runs, and wins, on this night of nights. Cunning running in evening finery, as the O crowd mixed elation and regret, all the while licking their Pol Roger - or was it their Blue Nun? Regret that it's another six months till we dress up again, but elation that the bush season is upon us - and in some cases has already had thrust a right old finger up the jacksey. As doctor orienteering might say, 'don't fight it, just go with the flow'.

All placings are clearly sorted on the SSS results 'page', so no need to review or cook up here - apart from congratulating all placegetters, participants, setters and helpers that is. It is an honour to be part of such a great enterprise, and to share such a lot of fun with so many. On, on as the trumpet blares!

Our 23rd season is already into planning, with a couple of new maps in the pipeline! Expect a good mix of urban, parks and bush once again (and beach) as we compile the 2013/2014 calendar - and ponder on that particular Wednesday in late December. Mmmmm, maybe go the Box, maybe go Monday??? All will be revealed in due course - of course. As will the efforts of our Balmain Bandit; mapping the coffee shops in Leichhardt as he seeks to restrain Porkies liking for the older Sydney beverages, in favour of something more wholesome. Fat chance!

We kick off on Wednesday October 2nd, and will run through to March 26th in 2014. Looks like another 25/26 events or so in the series that stops the nation. There are many out there who say (wistfully)"it can't come soon enough". I know the feeling.  


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