Thursday, January 30, 2014


It was a night at sea, a night on the harbour; a night of going about, trimming sail and signalling three toots when reversing engines. It was also another of those sublime Sydney Summer Series evenings that mixed intriguing and confusing inner city street shenanigans with views galore. Views from the stern, the bow, the poop - but not from the boiler deck, where Master Cleland had Engineer Pallas in a sweat shovelling coal, as he rang down for more speed from the ageing and riveted eagle.

But first, a note on editorial direction.

In last weeks event preview, I noted the looming excitement of our return to Balmain - this time under the baton of Brian 'Wilson' Cleland. Having just concluded my Turimetta Tidal Trumpet, and being 'aglow' with matters seaside, I was picturing Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys - hence the reference to the guitar (although I think BW is more of a keyboard man now I come to think of it) - and maybe developing a pop tune and trendy take at 'Skinny Latte'. All this had to be cast aside however, and a new theme developed, once the 'Captain's' plans were revealed. BC wasn't going tin pan alley, he was going ten point alley - in one of the great in-out ferry routes in recent memory. Join in as Pork Pie works over the harbour maritime charts aboard SS Uringa.

Arrival alongside found the ship well anchored and shore power connected. Various flags indicated 'divers below', and 'pirates aboard' - with the yellow fever flag (the yellow one) also featuring the plea 'help'. This didn't seem to deter one of our biggest roll ups in season 23 however, where 210 entries seemed to signal 230-odd souls eager to get on board. And for the price of two schooners and a flash of the 'Mum' tattoo, the nights chart was yours. Seafarers gathered upon the shady lawns of Dr Mort - where life veritably hummed with expectation, and the twirling plumb line (this one notched in 1:8,000 fathoms) was cast upon the full coloured landscape shaped vellum.

The first impression is of the proboscis like shapes protruding from the suburb. A probing forth of landform into the harbour, much like the inching forth of paint in an expensive Clyfford Still. Then it hits you. The ten pointers at the extremities - scattered in an outer ring and several as impossible stretches - and the many significant in-out controls, especially at the east end of Darling Street (where tram buffs recalled the counter weight car used to stop trams from running away downhill into the harbour). This was 'Larry' as we not have seen before - with several eliminated from voyage plans within a minute of competitors opening their charts. Number one, gone. Number nine, gone. Number eight, gone too - as was the pesky transformer (#2). Number 1 & 8 though, what classics - and what views - a couple of the greatest 'reverse engine' checkpoints in SSS history. Sadly not many beeped on at either I would guess, with a toss up between them for the lonely buoy award (#8 probably pulled a few off line from #7, and #2 worked into an outer loop that included the on-board veggie garden at 14).

There were two excellent sections of Captain Cleland's plan - the Ballast Point trio (60pts), and then the broader customs collect from Colgate to Darling Wharf (where the Uringa had been refused berthing rights).

Firstly, the Ballast sixty was masterful planning, with many runners doing all three controls gaining the low thirty points only to lose them in time taken. The location of #4 a particular 'treat', and the double stair flights up from #15 a killer if working west. Several maybe smarter runners (again working anti clockwise) worked #3 (a delightful initial in-out), around and up the steps to #24, and then on to #23 etc - ignoring Brian's tempters below, and benefitting. This inset 1:4000 section was very well done indeed. Secondly, the east end of the chart was a challenge (and saw the most reverse engine calls), with 'Contour Kate' adding to the coal consumption of competing steamers. Twenty was nice around the sandstone buildings, with runners noted adjusting their uniforms as the ferry unloaded. 30 a classy in-out, then the puff up to 10, up/down to 18, along the foreshore under the scaffolding to the 29 zig zag (many not seeing this and going up-down (the Flickster amongst them), and then up to #19 - who's street corner seemed closer to Darling Street - before reversing again to a descent to the propellers and the tug boat wharf.

If you went clockwise, and the majority seemed to, you began #25, 16 and the the above in reverse till the southern swoop along Darling Street to the great new boardwalk at #7 and then Water Police harbour and the link to 28,17,26,5,22 and ponder stations. Those with speed worked their varnished in-boards to 13,21,12 and Ballast before skirting Morts and signing off at the red 'wreckage' flag. Going 22 to 14,2 then 13 was wider still - and only a route for the younger navy recruits it seems. There might have been other variations, but I think the circle from 3,Ballast.22 in the west to most of the east and south (in either direction) yielded for most sailors - and explains the most common scores - with eleven runners at 370pts and another eleven at 390.

First impressions looked 'several 600's', but the tenners on the outer delivered the headline…."Ten Point Tempters Failed To"… so it was no surprise to see the top at 570, and Mr McKenzie's 'Menthoids' only walking to 540 points (and at 81.36 minutes upon the briny, returning 370 of them to the deep). Other vessels long overdue (fog on the Balmain banks) included Chu Hsien-Chong (OM and at sea for 58.01), Cameron 'The Senate' Will (SJM and becalmed for 57.20 minutes), and a surprisingly long voyage from Ted Woodley (LM 310pts) - with 55.25 on the ships log and the smell of rum in the wheelhouse. There was no Currie on last nights menu - a big surprise given this is there home port, but there was 'Team Berko' - one of ten groups, and one of our favourites with 220 on the telegraph. The best scoring group entry was 'The Merrington' Group with 290 points, but we just have to mention a new class act in 'Pedro's Parents' - scoring 170 in 41.29 and hopefully not disappointing Pedro too much. We hope to see the 'PP's" again soon.

No close shaves this week, with only the afore mentioned Chu going .01. I see Mike Hotchkiss (VM 370pts) aboard, and presume this is the Rogaining Mike of great accomplishment. Good to see Mike enjoying a Mini Rogaines - as we once called the Summer Series. I also not John 'The Cartoonist' Giles back after injury at his first SSS season 23 run (I think I've got that right), working up 280 in the LM overalls, and Angas Van Schalk running SJM and not as part of the VS family group. 'The Aberdeen' scored 70 after having fifty of his well earned 120 pinched by petty officials at the Quay. Unfair really.

A good two thirds of the field were on or above 300 (143 actually), but only 26 of them were north of 500 - including our joint winners on 570 points, Richard Green (MM @44.24) and newcomer (and Junior!!!) Adam Potter, who went all stations in 47.04. 'The Potty' has no club affiliation, but blasts into SSS view in one of the most sensational debut's ever seen. More info please, this is incredible stuff, although customs officials will need to sail area for compliance.

Maybe a few more results. As cargoes are landed and sailors head off to the 'Dry Dock' for a Tooths.

No Steve Ryan in OM this week, but another draw! This time Andy Hill and Mark Schaefer both post 550's to be joint winners - Mark under time, Andrew a bit wider and over (580, 47.48). Gill (OW) and Mike Burton (VM) both drew 540 points to starboard in winning their respective classes (again!), and were generally well in front of other vessels - Claire Winnick (a superb 520) closer to 'Extra Bold' than Andrew Smith's VM 510 is to 'The Vanashing Swamp'. A great run by Andy (one of the many Garingal Andy's) all the same, and a click of the telegraph in front of his other deadly VM competitors - Greg Barbour (500), and Pete Annetts and Matt Peters (both 490's). Close racing here boys!

Warwick Selby continues his winning form (SVM 480), as does Steve Flick (LM 440) and Heiko (IM 400). Paula (VW 440) and Antoniya (MW 450) do likewise - as does Michele Dawson, in a really excellent 440 in Junior Women. Toby Wilson gets the gold in SJM (380), Carol and Karin likewise (LW/SVW) and 'The Shunter' in SJW (230 in a nicely timed 44.49). The walkers were without 'The Knee', so it came down to Jimmy and Andy (our favourite SSS shipmate handle), with 'The River Po' putting on twenty more leagues than Jim (350/330) - the latter also the score of Emmanuelle in WaW. Gwen Sewell (just) takes IW with 210 from Cheryl Davies (200) and June (190), but great to see Sue Thomson back on the bridge and ordering 130 degrees and 'slow ahead both' in the category she is leading.

Lumo seemed to be 'slow both engines' (230 in SVM), possibly saving himself for some fast and furious out-of-bounds work at Sprint the Bay in NZ (somewhere off the port bow). Rob Spry was also noted as a 230 man, quietly going about his course, chart gripped firmly in to starboard, and with an eye on the horizon. The 'About Not To Be' Governor General (VW) is one of a number of working boats posting 270's, along with 'The Nest Of Vipers' (LM) and the two open '...ak's' Clare and Dominic. Good work all. I also note Michelle Hone 'Ing My Skills' with a tidy 310 in OW, the very same score as Sir Ronald of Pumkin and Bean in IM - and, sadly, well astern of fellow immortals Sir Kenneth (330) and Sir Teddy (350), and over the horizon from the Battleship Schaefer. David Bowerman has pipped Stu by ten in this SVM guns drawn stand off (360/350). Next week mutters Stuart, as does President Paul in the same age grouping, who only went ten better and might end up with a shore posting if he doesn't improve.

Heaps of other good scores of course, some back a bit (Dave Bray 420, Larry 380), some up a bit (James 'Of Beecroft' 470, Carolyn Haupt 440) - but all posted shortly, if not already. Things are getting serious now with poor runs being well eliminated from the count and the business end of the SSS looming! Watch this space as they say. So, to conclude, a great night (another fine evening!!) with a very enjoyable flog around the port of Balmain behind the Uringa and it's skipper Brian 'The Groom' Cleland. Big thanks to all the UR crew (chief stoker Pallas already noted) for what would have been close to our biggest so far. Must be close.

Next week, sees the boarding party well on shore, and working into the wolds of Pennant Hills Park. Here we will reprise one of last seasons greatest outings (remember 'The Plunge' by Wayne - immortal stuff), with some nice bush track work, and maybe some real bush work without the tracks! Bob 'The Elvis Presley of Bennelong' Morgan is in charge and I can already see the right leg shaking! It's rock and roll, it's the dance of a lifetime, as Bobby goes wide and deploys the cunning tools of contour, track and netball fence. Don't miss it for quids.

Normally that is how (and exhausted) Pork Pie signs off his race reports - hoping we might see comments by other runners posted over the following week (please!!). This time I need to mention an incident at Balmain last night, and our need to enjoy the Summer Series in the most neighbour friendly way possible. It appears an elderly lady, walking her dog, was pushed/brushed aside into a brush fence by a runner - passing at speed. No injuries, but she did seek out the event officials and complained - to the effect that she didn't believe we should be running in Balmain at all, and might take it up at Council. Not an outcome we hope to see of course, but I think Brian managed the situation as best he could, and we all hope for 'no further'. The point is to reiterate how important it is that we all run safe, beware of others, and enjoy our sport together.



Thursday, January 23, 2014


On a cool evening with a misting of moisture, a rusting of seaspray, an onshore of breeze, and a salting of dinner wrapped in paper, 170 odd junior, open and senior reserve graders arrived at North Narrabeen SLSC for SSS carnival #17 - ski's, open boats and belt teams at the ready. All clubs bought their best iron men (and women), and the ten top talents took to the Turimetta 'all-points' senior malibu tango with a vengeance, but only two emerged intact. Once again, the Sydney Summer Series surfing stars (raring to go in club branded cossies) looked tantivy, but emerged tardo - with only Steve and Richard making it 'as the clock struck one' (Steve this time shading 'The King' by 31 seconds - 42.21/42.52). The other 600 club were close, although senior iron man McKenzie (from Uringa Beach club) struggled with the shore break - and was home in 70 plus.

For the other competitors, assembled under their club pennants and checking the carnival programme, it looked a clean 600, a night to earn a quid - but the long board teams judge (one Ian 'Heinz' Jessup - our course setter) was banking on slow work on the headland tracks and the temptation to pause at various lookouts to make visiting clubs earn their points - and in his scatter of beach flag controls, he got it pretty well perfectly right.

Emerging from the combi van, let's paint a picture of the scene.

The onshore south-easter had officials initially struggling with event signage and bunting, but the Garingal surf boat crew soon had the electronics tented and pegged, and the cafe deck sorted to provide suitable registration facilities. Arriving competitors were afforded an elevated view of the sand dunes and distant beach pool rock platforms - and noted the separating lagoon in full outward flow. A $10 donation to Life Saving NSW bought a programme guide to the coastal walkways, lookouts and tides, highlighting a trio of co sponsoring beaches - and an area named 'overgrown' that was a puzzle to the beach relay teams. The impression was reasonable simple circular swimming, with a linkage puzzle in mid course, and a wet suit ending.

The tasty tempters of 21/22 across the Narrabeen lagoon channel (advised as waist deep at low tide, and with a finger wagging 'enter at your own risk') gave pause as teams lined up for the start gun. Most wanted to leave this as late as possible to catch the tide, and planned a western beginning and a clockwise circuit. Many began backwards to get to Ocean Street, others via the track on the right - some taking in the dune double before the lagoon bridge, and feeling that warm glow of 'money already in the bank'. Generally, it was freestyle to 23,12,and #3, where a variety of strokes were deployed to bag 4,14,26,6,28 and16. Freestyle 3 to 26, backstroke to 14, and the continuing with butterfly ahead via 6,26 and the seaweed route to #16 worked for many going further north - although 'The Pants' was noted going hither and thither here (including going close to the lane rope #3 to #4), ending 14,6,26,16,28 and the backstroke to the uphill track to #8 and its quaint 'shrub, south side'.

Competitors entered in the four or five klm events worked the inner points groin noted above before exiting up to Sydney Road and the Turimetta Head bagging, reverse ski, and return. Pretty well everyone was line astern here - taking 5,24,12,2 and the dash to the rock pool before donning the wet suit (or not). Many beach sprint competitors were also noted going anti clockwise here ('Miss Presley' enjoying the stairway above #2 one of them), presuming a bail out after Turimetta, or on to Warriewood and home via the west. Without looking for signs of post lagoon inundation, one assumed these competitors had gone in-out to 22 along the road and were travelling dry, as beginning across the water would have been a real killer - with sand and sog slowing progress (although, come to think of it, PP noted Richard Morris (from Bennelong Surf & Sailing Club) charging northwards across the torrent - and he posted 580!!).

The 'iron' contestants would have all worked to the top of the course in a fairly simple clock or anti fashion - the only swerves needed were to add #19 before the drop to (or rise from) 29, and the need to round the #8 buoy on your way to or fro #18. Many noted the increase in wave height hereabouts, and cursed Contour Kate for interfering in matters nautical. A slightly shorter toppie was going 9,30,19,29 - and only leaving out the sixty points round the hospital - and of course giving the Shrub (#8) the flick, as the rest of the programme lined up in a continuous line of sights and wonders to behold. None better than the viewing platform at #27 and the seat at 12. Cunning running with views? You better believe it!

All controls were well taped and described, with perhaps the trio of 'copses' adding that individual NNSLSC touch that other beach courses find hard to replicate. Most agreed it was a good run - except the 'Redfern Station Master' (who was a no show after re-twisting his ankle canyoning) - with many SSS cadet surf team members up here for the first time, and enjoying the clarity of life member Merchant's 2001 cartography. Yes, it's that long ago!

Maybe a couple of stats before the committee retires to the members room and Reschs on tap.

151 actual entries, with twelve groups - including the enigmatic 'Girls' (250pts) and 'Boys' (190pts, aaah, boys, we know, we know) - giving us around the 170 mark. Not bad for way up north, and the day being a bit on the weather. Although the rusted on SSS swim teams always turn up, we should note James 'The House Of' Stuart from Illawarra/Kareelah Surf Club (and living in Sutherland I think) with us and wearing the royal purple in his 47.49 post of 300. We all salute you James.

It seems over two thirds of the field scored over the halfway mark, and all classes were represented - albeit JM only seeing one competitor on the beach, with Chris Annetts of Garingal Heads Club in the cadet belt category. No just-on or just-under one second timing this week, with Mike Burton (Big Foot Sands & Swamp Club) close at 44.58 and Glenn the other way at 45.02. You can guess who's spitting chips! Not a stat so to speak, but reporters looking down the results board might be puzzled to see Bennelong long board specialist Terry 'Towling' Bluett home with fifty points and gone in just 15 minutes. Turns out Terry ran into a tree (out at sea, amazing!) coming out of control 13, and got to see and feel something of his inner workings. Blood everywhere! I think all was fixed up before Cheryl and Tezza drove home - Cheryl quietly humming surfing tunes as she ruminated on her 140pt post in LW - and a family first.

Age category placings continue to follow recent patterns - and that of the Leichhardt Swimathon last week - although there are one or two notables to mention. None more so than Heiko ' The Kincumber Killer' Schaefer running up an outstanding 490 points in 49.10, and netting 440 in Immortal Men - sixty clear of 'Runner Bean' Ron, and eighty clear of 'Tearaway Ted' Mulherin, both well in contention in this class. This might be the biggest category win on the night, and leads correspondent Pork Pie to note The Cucumber is 'on fire'! Actually, looking at results, this is not the biggest margin (Carol in LW had 130 in hand, Michele 160 in JW, Antoniya 80, and 'The Shunter' 210!), but given the quality of the field, a remarkable score.

Gwen Sewell takes IW from June (250/220), Rosscoe and Steve Flick tie on 430 in LM (with Stevo working further north than Ross but taking on the wrong side of fifty to do it), Steve Ryan (OM) as mentioned clears the lot in 42 and holds ten from Tommy Joss and James McQuillan - who both ran their 590's with a minute and a half to spare, making the judges wonder what was the drop? Got to be #8, or maybe #4. I'll plum for eight - and probably give this my lonely pot award. Andrew Hill dropped twenty in his all points loop, but is listed in equal 6th place overall in the Long Board. Mark Schaefre ten back, and Freddy a further twenty.

Lisa Grant was the only 600 'iron woman', although she needed five minutes (exactly!) extra time on the ski leg. Her 550 is still a clear OW winner from Catherine Murphy and Claire Winnick (both posting 510pts, with 'Of Aragon' ten seconds to the better in this close and absorbing tussle). Warwick Selby continues his winning streak with another 510 (SVM) with another fifty point buffer - this time to SVM #2 Larry 'Turn Here, Turn Here…' Weiss (460), a ten on from Gordy, and a few more to Graeme Hill and Martin 'Dear Oh Dear' Dearnley (enjoying the SSS it seems). In the close results section, the Open Boat (or VM's) category records a tie between Mike Burton and Greg Barbour with 580 points each. Greg going all stations, but losing twenty at the far buoy. Not sure which twenty (or which two tens) 'Burtons Ale' left out - maybe 8 & 4??

Andy Povah takes the WaM with 380, Emmanuelle 'converts' the WaW again with 320, this time in tandem with Rachael Povah. Rachael over, Emm under. Another great result to post is Lynn 'The Grand Piano' Stanway's 430 point win in VW - sneaking ten from Sharon in the Bennelong march past suit and sash. 'The Lampost' was 100 further back - a puzzle to Surf Lifesaving NSW, but maybe it was those early stairs? Quite a few other tied scores down the lists - including Dave Bray and Pete Annetts (both Malibu long board stars from Garingal Surf Club) with 520's. Dave 44.55, Peter over forty in a more ambitious plan. Another contest within a contest is that between GO clubmen in SVM - Stuart 'The Pennyfarthing' McWilliam and David Bowerman 'Bird', with The Bicycle taking a tenner last night to keep 'The Bird' awake till next time. 340/330 the scores.

Lots more to comb through, but better when scores posted - and the sand cleaning machine has swept through. It was a goodie, and apart from our spectacular inner harbour maps (and views of the city), one of the most scenic. The Saucebottle made the most of the area, the views, and the tidal conundrum. There was some concern expressed at the danger 21/22 represented - especially to younger competitors who might have been tempted to cross - but I don't believe there were any issues on the night. Duncan (winning SJM with an excellent 470) eschewed the drowning after witnessing a bedraggled Pork Pie emerge after a chest deep cross - and nearly going early to Sprint The Bays in NZ. I suspect many other thought along similar lines as 'The Gumboot', and either forgot 21, or did it in Larry fashion. The lagoon shoreline facilitated a reasonable time this way as the sand was firm (unlike the soft stuff on the east side of the dunes).

So, event seventeen over and out. The ute's and combi's away for another week. Big thanks Ian and the GO crew, following up from last weeks beauty in the inner west. Moving on gets us very excited however - Balmain/ Birchgrove!! Yes, yes folks, Balmain next up with Uringa's Brian 'Wilson' Cleland on guitar. Same start location adjacent to the Morts Dock (or was that Dry Dock?) Hotel where we can expect the perfect wind down goss session. After 'doing' Ballast Point and the great streets and parks of Balmain of course. It's been our biggest event for the last two seasons, and so it promises again. Bring granny, bring the kids, bring the boss!

It's going to be another week to remember. Whooo hoooo!!!  

Thursday, January 16, 2014


On yet another balmy warm Sydney evening, a record roll up of SSS chefs in training chomped crostini, plundered panzanella, tickled tortellini, braved the brodo, slurped the spaghetti, and caressed their cantucci, during 'The Gumboots' gastronomic Italian sensation at Leichhardt. In a night when dinner and the post race points ponder was never far from the minds of race goers, course setter Currie added to the antipasti-like anticipation, with his excellent new map - shaped as a rectangular Roma pizza, and redolent with thirty toppings.

It proved to be a great night in 'Little Italy', a perfect evening of cunning running in a maze of mad streets, tiny parks, and the unique underground River Po - as panting punters pinged poles, beeped boxes, tickled trees, and went all points of the compass chasing the garnish, the glory - and a good seat at Bar Italia for the Fusilli Bianco.

Perhaps, before we further ravish the radicchio, let's step off the Lillyfield tram as it turns into Catherine Street and take the evening passeggiata through Soldiers Memorial Park. Here we can pay homage to the huge tree, admire the flags aflutter and evening wear of our dining companions - and check in at the Goanna. There was atmosphere in the atmosphere as foodies joined the queue.

The much missed Centomila Lire note from Banca D'Italia (the Caravaggio one), came close to the entry fee - the exchange across the bulging key lid resulting in an two dimensional pizza made in the Roman way. This is when the penny dropped and you realised you were about to experience two of the great aspects of the Sydney Summer Series - a spaghetti like course, and spaghetti afterwards! Legends licked their lips, and fingered the portrait.

First impressions of the 1:7,500 scaled offer was the even topping scatter - from onion towards Johnson in the east, to mozzarella along Norton in the west - and across north and south in a swirl of tomato (unknown in the time of the Caesars!). The east and west sides were heavily worked with ingredient - almost in two vertical lines - with the River Po claiming 230 points and the Norton Street strip (or Appennino slopes) almost the same. There was a lighter sprinkle in the mid ring, with an almost scoreless, thin crust, revealed in the centre. When coupled with the eight exit options, the intrigue was complete. Duncan had worked the course setting pizza wheel in brilliant fashion.

The older Glebe/Annandale map pretty well ended at Whites Creek (the Po), although 'The Watering Can' had extended west to Catherine last outing - but nothing was below Booth. Here was almost 80% new material, with the street shape, alleyways, pocket parks and winding Po, all contributing to what will quickly be remembered as one of the greatest of inner urban SSS areas. How to cope, how to win, how to connect? Diners quietly opened the Dolcetto.

Controls 22 and 30 in the north figured for many - perhaps with a 22,30,19,20 beginning before working down the western strip and eating back up the Po. Others began 19,20,27 and continued as above - all hoping the gap from the city west link was a path, as indeed it (and others) turned out to be. The easterners began 30,22,9,10,17, up river to a ristretto at The Forum and north along the Norton ridge. Those with more petrola, looped 14 and 16 after 22 - and noted the demand young Duncan had already placed on them. With eight starting exits, there were more variations of course - including ignoring Pioneers Park and working 3 (36th Battalion Park),24,12, the Forum, 6,25,1,23 and the Po. Perhaps the most difficult points to work into the tummy were the three twenties (15,11,18 - the Bologna triplets) that occupied the lower middle. 15 was a beginning or finish for some, so perhaps not quite the conundrum the other two represented to the circular (or Napoli) pizza runner. Classic course setting.

As we said in our title, Duncan, not content with a simple Napolitana, sprinkled his offering with tasty 'poles' - 14 of them in fact. The other ingredients of note were the tree (4) and the power box (4), with the tasty swing of Modena confined to the south western slice - and off the menu for the northern Po paddlers. Some great placements. 27 to 24 you were pulled via #5. 24-13 forward or back. #8 just annoyingly west of Norton. #7 ahhh - our lonely pot perhaps. 25,11,18,23 worked but ignored the Forum. #6, #9! 26 to 28 direct or via 4 drawing you off line, and 2 in-out losing time? Beautiful stuff, and appreciated by most judging by the post race parley.

OK, let's move out of the kitchen and check the chalk board.

210 actual entries with another twenty plus competitors in Group munch bibs - including 'Team Berko' (welcome back), 'The Turtles', and the impressive 270 point posting 'String Vipers'. This gives us a goodly 230 or so on the nibble, an excellent result. As well as welcoming the TB's back, also a big welcome back to Mal 'The BSA' Bradley - missing since the beginning after changing jobs. Malcolm has always been on the tail of Mike Burton in the Vets, and returns with the same fire in the bike leathers - recording 530 in a tidy 44.52. We are also now seeing Graeme Hill back, and working up the SVM boards (420 here, but keep watching), and Ian 'The Gladstone Bag' Cameron doing well in the same class - following several weeks of blocked stethoscope. Also, a big welcome to Freddy Burghardt from Dresden Post in Germany. 'The Burger', running OM in his initial SSS fry up, posted a tidy 500 after going five and a half over with his 560 pingarooneys. We hope Freddy liked what he saw.

We had five 600 all ingredient runners, with three retaining full topping cover (Richard, Steve and Andy - with 'The King' again the best in 42.02, and 'The Hoist' only just making it with his 44.58), Glenn working two and a half over - and MM's 'Irish' Stu Deane stirring for 69.07 minutes, forgetting it was spag night. Thirty four runners posted 500 or above, with three quarters of the hungry above the plimsol line. Great stats. We had ten runners posting equal scores in 390 and 280, and nine biting 410 and 400. Meredith 'Gwen' Dodds (MW) was one of the 400 chompsters, neatly devouring her several slices in precisely 43.00. Emily 'Paddling' Poole (OW) another, as was winning walker Anthony 'The Knee' Petterson.

No minus scores this week, no Ian McKenzie either - although we note Chris Arnison (VM) taking a long time over his tandoori crust (55.24) as owner Peter Cama paced the tables, hoping to add another sitting. We only had one perfect 45.00 post, with Fedor Iskakov (OM) disposing of 450 helpings dead on the money, and only a couple of the dreaded '.01's' - but none at the critical 45.01 end. The other stat that always pleases and amuses is the 'phew' post of 44.59, with three runners shouting a round following their good fortune. let's hear it for VW Sharon 'The Sunday Roast' Lambert (410), Steve 'The Log' Holloway (SVM, 380 and we know somethings in there Steve!), and Matty 'Obviously Can' Hackett (MM with a handy 430, and in equal 62nd place).

Some interest in the age winners, with a classic three way tie in Immortal Men, another two way in the Opens, and yet another double win in the subs. The IM's are really getting down to business, with Ron, Heiko and Teddy all carding 390's after taking their morning espresso in the square at Castell'Arquato, and making this one of our most competitive classes. Not to be outdone by 'The Kingston Trio' above, Ken, Bruce 'The Stanley Steamer' and Tim Cox (back and in top form) all posted equal 350's to sneak from the Gledhill's and further complicate the betting - and orders for Parma ham. I've mentioned Andrew and Steve again going equal in the Opens, but with course setter Dunk getting rewarded in other ways, we see Hugh Petterson and Toby Wilson both taking 100's in SJM with their 310 point scoring - 'Little Sir' Hugh a minute faster than the 'Jug', and catching the eye of Maddy Prior.

A couple of strong wins noted - Wazza Selby (SVM) clearly running away from the field with 490 and fifty in hand, and Linda Sesta (VW) putting on the pace with thirty over Sharon, and a 440 post. The Dawson's are at it again in the Juniors, with a hundred points separating Aidan and Michele - and a hundred clear for Aidan from his JM silver medalist Luke Petterson (510/410). Excellent stuff, as is the SJW win from 'The Shunter' - a 270 point post for Tshinta, and another result well clear of the next runner (in this case Sophie 'The Suds' Jones and Ellen 'The Prosecco Must Wait' Currie, both with 38 minute kitchen clean up scores of 190).  June wins IW (Sue not with us, but hopefully again soon), and 'The Trouser' puts up a Diecimila over Steve Flick in LM. Mmmm, this is adding to intrigue here, with Rosscoe walking last night and Ted tucking into Tiramisu on Lake Como, and absent from the table - without permission.

Gill, Antoniya, Karen, Michael and Emmanuelle also win, as did everyone who enjoyed Little Italy. There are many great routes, many great scores. We dined in style, and owe heaps to the great team from the Garingal dining room (Ross at download is a treasure to behold), and our course setter young Duncan - and his family of Italian chefs of course. As a final aside, I see Glenn and Andy Hill followed exactly the same route (working west from 19/20, south across the foot, the Po etc) before going 10,9,16,14,30,22 home (Andy) and 10,22,9,16,14,30,22 home (Glenn). Hard to pick the better option, with the last couple being awkward (and beautiful) SSS settings.

Next week sees us move way up the coast to North Narrabeen and the Turimetta Head map. This excellent Jimmy 'Wake Up Little Suzie' Merchant map hasn't seen a SSS shoe upon it's fantastic parks, headlands and coastal bushy bits for many a moon. Possibly not for nine or ten years, rendering it another 'newie' for those recently of a SSS persuasion. Course setter Ian 'The Saucebottle' Jessup is starting at the NN SLSC (Ocean Street) to maximise the 'dip after' attraction. I'm presuming we will get both headlands and a bit of hospital north, but not sure if the south will feature. The intrigue will be Birdwood Park and the crossing to the rocky baths at Narrabeen Head. Could be a bit of sand in the Volley, but reward aplenty from Mullet and Cockle lookouts - as you gaze eastwards to Kiwiland and ponder 'should I enter Sprint the Bay'!! Join me and do both! It promises to be another season 23 cracker.          


Thursday, January 9, 2014


A cool evening, but a perfect one for those that like the sweet taste of pinging points and the drooling expectation of a box of thirty's in shiny wrappers. WHO chief pastry chef and chocolatier Mark 'M&M's' Mueller channeled sweet supremo Adriano Zumbo in laying on a looping of delights, a confection of points, a pufferooney of praline, a bag of Almond & Brazil - last night at Rydalmere, in both milk and dark coatings.

In a sharp contrast to our last outing at Upjohn, course setter MM went the full 30 flavour Zumbo box, but in a tight package. Many older SSS legs will remember the wide postings of Steve 'The Hangman' Holloway in October 2006, where points were to be found both east of Cowells Lane, and west to Dundas Public School - one of the widest spreads in SSS memory (3klms across). It was known as the night of the 'Longjohns', as punters, in stretched undergarments, posted low totals and reached for the tub, the Denkorub and the pub.

Happily, WHO's 2014 Director of Enjoyment understood the impact of a big tin with disappointing contents, and tightened up the offer - going for a box of delights that looked capable of being fully devoured in one go; as open men's champ, 'King' Richard, subsequently demonstrated in an outstanding 42.23 minute chew. Richard's all stations run (one of only four, but the only one without time/overeating penalty) rendering the event setting a SSS 'textbook' classic.

Summer Series serial snackers, arriving at Zumbo's western open air store at Upjohn Park, found Nerise on the till, and pastry making equipment scattered hither and thither. The most popular collection during the evening sale was the ten dollar box, with its soft centred thirty pointers close in. The full colour description sheet under the lid, revealed the thirty's were ringed by more modest shapes, with low scoring M&M's in all five colours towards the edge. This 'bulls eye' description is not strictly correct however, as Mark had deployed three biggies towards the edge (21 north, 30 south east, and 25 south), and found a few ten's in the centre - just to confuse those that like everything neatly and predictably placed in the SSS box.

Let's take a closer look at Sydney Summer Series event 15, and the craft of chocolatier Mueller.

First impressions were an 'on' evening for the guns - or at least close to. It also looked to be decent scoring for those normally confined to Fruit & Nut, with early string work confirming no trouble to digest 300 of the shiny choc points, and some hand made Paddington Almond & Raspberry pralines as a distinct possibility. Despite there being only two exit points (via #6 south or #16 north), the scatter was then upon you, with an inner central loop, an extension east, a hairnet 40 in the north, and a western edge 'north/south' run of club dark that included peppermint as a deterrent to James. The kicker that gives the area its interest is the divisive and busy Silverwater Road, behind uncrossable fences and only having four ways over/under - with one of them an actual pedestrian crossing!

Whereas The Hangman only used two of these crossings (top and bottom) in his 2006 knees up, Mark made use of all four - with 27/28 on opposite sides slap in the centre, and at the heart of much pre-race planning. Getting over and back was via the tunnel from 25 to 15 at the bottom (#15 a puzzle if approaching from the north), #7 on the bridge, #17 beside the ped Xing, and the tunnel to #17 in the north. If ignoring the goodly bag in the east, a good connect was to work 15,5,7,27,17 (press button and hold on),28 (in-out),11 - and then the hairnet and or points west. Including the east, as most runners seemed to do, meant after leaving 5/15, looping 29,30,20,10,9 before dropping back to 28 (in-out), crossing to 17, 27 (in-out) and then burning on north to #11 etc. This leaves our #7 - and also #18, seemingly out of most routes and our nomination for lonely pot.

Those that began north via #16 mainly worked 12,24,23 and back over to #22 on the footbridge. Stretching in-out to #13 resulted in stale after dinner mints, unless this was a prelude to the full outer circle of hard centres -24,23,13,3,4,14, along Subiaco Creek to 26 and as described initially. Another western beginning baled west at 23 - going 24,23,4,14,26 etc. My suspicion is more customers liked the selection in the centre/ east side of the box, with only the aunties happy with the old fashioned hard centre textures and wrapper designs in the west.

Many runners would have enjoyed the location of control #21 - on Mark's own letter box (!) where his children squealed with delight as the flash harry's rushed on to the nearby lamp post before reading the description. Another excellent feature of the evenings engorgement, was the solid taping of control units to their respective features. Absolutely no problems with dangling wires and 'insertus denyus' here at the western Zumbo!

A superb set up, great behind the counter crew work, good parking - and an excellent course of fine confections. All good stuff, with no complaints heard of, although one or two mentions of small bits of the map that could be tweaked perhaps (the fence and open area at #25 for instance). Given that a mitt full of M&M's is generally a yummy experience, let's see how a few of the gun SSS lolly fiends handled this evening of running (with Cadbury in mind).

We see another 200+ roll up, with 185 entries that included another twenty plus choc faces going the group gorge. This seems to Porkie a pretty good roll up out here, and may be a western record - such was the attraction of Mark and his well made Rocky Road! I also note quite a few new names, especially in the junior ranks, and hope we see the non-clubbies joining up soon. I won't overdo the stats, but note 143 of the 185 entries scored half way or better - a very decent outcome, especially as we only get one clear 600 full pointer (Richard Green as mentioned). Lots of high fours, nine on 500, and nearly all five rest points (no 570 score) attracting the sweet tooth - in marked contrast to several recent outings.

I'll work through the top tray in each age class, noting particularly any upset or unusual results. Wrappers open, as we see the Currie's taking SJ (470 for Dunk and I think his perfect set of 12, 350 for Ellen) and the Dawsons doing likewise in the Juniors (Aidan overall 10th with 550, and Michele with 470). I note Richard James and Lachlan Coady (SJM 240/190 respectively) and Tristan White (490), John 'The Fire Alarm' Wormell (450) and Alex 'No Nose' Allchin (410) all working the Junior rank abacus.

The Open wars continue with Andrew Hill taking the OM with 590 (all points in 45.10), to shade Steve Ryan (560). All SteveO pipped Mike Weiner (550) and Mark Schaefer (540), he was bested by a gun trio ('The Ink Bottle', 'The Bathroom Basin' & 'The Bank Chief') who's collective 580's have punters with deep pockets sitting 'bolt upright' - James the only one of them to be a 600 man though. Lisa and Gill joined hands with 560 strawberry centres (OW) with Claire Winnick 'Of Time' a 530 scoff. Marina and Clare Williams both cleared 500's.

No Glenn in the Masters again, with Richard untroubled at 600. 'The Gunboat' was handy with 580, and the Morris Minor full of Nestles pinged 550. Dave Stanley and 'The Commodore' were ten adrift. Another exciting evening in MW, with Antoniya shading Mary Fein by twenty points (520/500), and Carolyn 'Milk Tray' Haupt also a 500. No Burton in the vets, with Peter Annetts working the rhyme perfectly (540) to claim from Andy 'Mouth Full' Smith (520), Brian Brannigan (510) and Johnny 'The Rope' Brahan (490). Paula romped in from Linda in the ladies here with a 520/440 margin - and earning a years supply. The supers saw Selby post a win (510) from Graeme Hill (490, I told you to listen up here), with no show from the 'Melbourne Tram Depot'. Lithgow, Lumsden, Weiss and Ward all carded 460's, with 'The Blue Engine going ten better. Karin moves to fourteen wins (dropping 100 pointers!), but only just in front of Deb (430), with Lee Lowe handy (360) and Adrienne even handier.

So far, all pretty well as expected, but get to LM, and we report (for the second time!!!), Ian Miller going the full box with 430 to claim from Steve Flick's 430. Whoo hoo, this puts the cat amongst the… with Teddy also close (450) and both Pants and Moscow awol. Carol J from Margaret Waugh in LW, Ted Mulherin and Heiko share IM (430) with Malcolm and Sir Ron of Pumpkin twenty in arrears - despite, or because of, the urgings of just finished fellow Amigo's. Thanks guys! Sue pips Janet by 10 in IW, with Emmanuelle a clear winner in WaW, as appears a joint one to Jimmy & Rosscoe in WaM with no sign of AP 'Codeine'.

Once again Ian McKenzie went all pots, although not at normal speed with some discomfort in the mid tee region. He keeps 60 after a 98.30 stroll, but will rest easier than Bev, whose 72.38 walk swallowed 280 points of her original 160. Cripes! I also note it good to see Chris Crane working the boom arm for 190 WaM points and Dave Lotty with us and a 310 post in the Legends. And he's one if ever there was one. Go Dave!

I mention Ian 'IBM' Miller above for his LM win, but let me also point out the excellent timing - 44.59! Ian takes the 'just in time' cake (or is that the Orange Centred Dark with Brazuil Nut). We had a few close calls, and yet another timing tragedy - Jeremy Fowler with the classic call of 45.01. Not fair really.

OK folks, lets quietly dispose of the wrappers, and swear to get back to a veggie only diet. A top outing at Subiaco (aka Upjohn Park), for which we offer our pastry masters Mark and organiser Anette Larsson and the WHO kitchen our sincere thanks. And in less than a week, guess what, the SSS caravan rolls back into the inner west with a potential biggie - a very biggie. Next week sees us working closely with young Duncan and Dad as we work a NEW summer series area. Well mostly new, with the area west of Whites Creek Annandale right across to Norton Street in Leichhardt about to feel the caress of the New Balance for the first time. 'The Claymore' has intimated that he will work east up to Johnson Street, and no doubt throw a couple either side of Whites to confuse. But it is the new stuff that excites, and provides no one with any prior. The assembly in the park in Catherine Street has a dunny and memories of the Lillyfield tram for the older competitor. What more could a SSS tragic want! Join us for this fantastic event, and the obligatory slag and flat tie at Bar Italia afterwards. It's on the map - as we will be shortly!

Friday, January 3, 2014


SSS season 23 opened its second half with a toughie at Lindfield last Wednesday, that managed only three 500 posts, and only one solitary 'all stations' claimant. Oh oh, sounds like a corker, and worth a little tap or two on the lappie from the delicate fingers of (sick/crook/buggered) correspondent Pork 'The Medicine Cabinet' Pie.

Course setter Mark 'The Sheriff' Savery proposed bread and water for the guns, and not finding disagreement from his Bennelong overseer, went hard at the task. His chain gang consisted of over 200 able bodied convicts (PP excluded), twenty of them holding hands in group status - and in some fear of the SSS lash. For some it would be an evening of the flog, for others, the barking dog - as the course was pondered and decided - and then pondered again.

So now, join your racing correspondent as he adjusts the pince-nez, sips his amontillado, and draws conclusions (where others would draw a blank).

Compared to our last outing here two years ago, we see a reprise in the south, we see similar work required in the streets, we see the wharf again - but this time (the kicker) we get the large intestine! Sheriff Savery, concerned that the SSS convict diet of porridge and points needed additional protein, has thrown in the twisting river track yummies (a 90pt flogging that once embarked upon could not be altered), and its appendix like 70 point addition in the north west. A few took the intestinal bait, but I surmise only Ian Mac and 'The King' had any sort of appendectomy. This was new food for the summer series regular, although regainers might remember going the chew here some years ago.

For a moment though, let's look closer at the big picture. A well known assembly area with kiddy stuff galore - and with Terry Bluett adjusting the results printer, all looking good as punters, suddenly a year older, found ten - many not realising that 'The Sheriff' was at the till. Mark produced a landscape charge sheet, substituting the fine stripe for the 2011 olive OOB areas. Commonalities with 2011 included 1/22 in the north (11/21 last time), the deliciously annoying #4 (30), 7(3), the 'Larry' at 27(24), the tree at 5(9), and some similar work at the Port Arthur end of the map (16/26 - 6/20 last time) that had the recently released with heads down. The gasp factor was the appendix and the river flog. Could it be worked in? Was it worth it? Go where you know, or go forth and plant new crops, clear new land, make new babies….er, Porkie seemingly is on a tangent.

Many liked staying on top and planned a loop beginning 12,29,9,22 (eschew #1),25 - but then pondered the excellent ten point 'in-out' controls at #3 (yes probably), 10 (no probably - somewhat down the hill), before sweeping 21,18,7,11 (petrol), down to #27 - and then either home via 4/6 or ever onwards past the wharf and bush climb (17 to 5) or to the bottom. The latter being a low/mid 400 outing which I think many settled for. Other SSS hands liked the familiar and set off south to find themselves thereabout Fiddens Wharf after twenty odd minutes - and hoping to board the next gunboat upriver. Sadly, they got 19 strokes at the fence corner and an uphill stretch to 27 that took the puff from the elderly, and the straight from the bent back.

One imagines the higher scoring runners (excluding the appendix duo), worked a few rhs toppies (12,29,9,22,25) before descending to the intestinal (and slow) track and its curvy 90pt bag, and then pushing south and working a frenzied and contorted middle section - before adjusting their skirts for the very public dash to the final beep. One can see why 10,3 and #1 might even miss this crew - with the editorial team giving #1 the honourable 'lonely pot' award.

All well placed controls, with #26 (Killara Wharf) being new to me, and many others I suspect. I need to go back and read the sign - and imagine the activity here once. Sawmills, barges, ships, Ron  Junghans in convict stripes….ah, the picture it paints! But, for the moment, let's look at the evenings results - and bring a little broth to the lips of the broken and dispirited.

No Glenn Horrocks(!) gives Ian 'The Peruvian Playboy' McKenzie the sole honour of the 600 club. Ian's 99.19 minute walk is possibly one of the longest all stations SSS outings, just keeping him in positive territory (600-550), but not last place on the list. This goes to WHO conscript Barry Hanlon who worked at 240 points for 68.28 minutes - promptly rendering him a zero ration competitor on the night. Baz was noted contemplating and them embarking on the low level route joining #5 to #6 - possibly one of very few that did this, but then Barry is a bush O man and likes a course that asks the question. The uphill/downhill join hereabouts already mentioned (to #17) saw Wayne Pepper grinding uphill just past the creek, with a certain passing runner wondering if he was looking for 28 way to early. Clearly not!

As you can see from the scoring, things tended to bunch in the middle or lower ranges with about two thirds of the field below 300. Despite a couple of nine competitor scoring groups (360pts/280/270), our most 'popular' score with ten competitors was only 210 - including an enigmatically low score (for him) from Mike Ridley-Smith (VM). Michael also is noted as our shortest on course, again odd, so I'm hoping no injury issues for this. There is also Ridley-Smith group listed (190pts) that might be a factor. Any clues anyone?

I like to note our guests if we have any, and see Anna Quayle and Malin Welen from Sweden both posting 360's (VW, OW respectively), Peter and Ainslie still with us from Victoria, and an excellent 270 SJM point post from 'Not Bob' Dylan Bryant from (presumably) the Enoggeroos O club in Brisbane. Good to see such good scoring in the race that stops the nation.

We have only one 'Phew!!' to report - the exceptional timing of WaW star Jill 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' Woodruff. Her 170 points posted in 44.59! There were a few 'to the minute' runners, but no more at 45 - Steve Ryan's 46.00 the closest, with Richard Green and Dave Bray going even further over (51.00/49.00) and 'The Spanish' Amanda Mackie sailing home in 41. There are a couple of painful .01 overs, although nobody at the dreaded 45.01. Pierre pings 51.01, Brett Sewell 47.01, Jenny Newton 44.01 and Dave 'The Blues Is My Companion' McGhee goes a little longer with his encore at 55.01. We love the .01's - as regular readers might have noticed. Probably should get an award up for this methinks (scratching the goatee and wondering about Bailey's batting).

We don't seem to have had any LW's, JM's or SJW's last night, but we did see some interest on the scoring sheet - including the spectacular reappearance of Adam Halmy in SJM with a 410pt post in 46.45 for 390. What a run, and a clear shade to our current SJM star and series leader Duncan 'The Watering Can' Currie, who's 350 is still in very senior company (45th I think). From the top then, Steve Ryan and Andy Hill both posted equal 510pt winners to share (again) the OM spoils. This is a race!! Whoo hoo. They just head Richard Green with 500, although, as mentioned, Richard went further - with his 560 claim being run out in 51.00, as opposed to 520/530 totals before penalty above. Michael, Gill, Sue, Karin, Anthony, Michele and Rachael all won their respective groups, but we note a couple of other interesting scores. Firstly, Cath Chalmers lands MW with 380, then we note Anna Quayle taking VW with 360, Neil Hawthorne back on the podium with ten over Warwick (360/350), and Heiko and Ron sharing the glory in IM with 300's - the same score as LM winner Ian 'B' Miller. With 'The Trouser' a no show (and PP walking) this was a gimme for 'The Woodpecker', but…. the Tedster must have gone mad with the string as his 280 point beep went on too long, and forty days in solitary resulted in a 240. The SSS mafia noted Dan 'Not Of' Redfern in close conference with Ted before commencement - and suspect he may have slipped the master something in his panniken (Dan being noted with a well compiled 310 in SVM). While I'm sort of on SVM, how about the welcome back for Graeme Hill, with a lively 350 to equal Wazza and 'The Lassoo'. Graeme, of course, is a prior star this distance and will be up for it now he has retired (again!).

Plenty of group action, but no outstanding names this week - 'Euan, Logan & Chris' perhaps just shading 'Heather, Claire & Julia'. Often hard to tell how many runners are in each group, especially if it's behind only one entry name (the 'Steam Engine Group' for instance). I guess that there are at least two and probably three for these - but there could be more if big families are involved. As we hope they are!

That might just do folks, as Porkie needs a bit more of a lie down - and a mild bromide. Next week sees the SSS carnival move west to Subiaco (no, not Perth, but the so named creek at Rydalmere). WHO's Anette Larsson is in charge here and should have us working for our dinner at the West Ryde (hope it's not as busy as last time) in this well loved area. Expect some nice open grassy park running, with connecting creeks and good decision requiring routes. It's fast stuff, it's frantic stuff, it's fun stuff, as we drain the brain and strain the groin - that wonderful and mystical part of a cricketers anatomy. If you've got one, bring it along next week. Be there!

Also, please note another SSS web site post, where I have done a trawl through the first half stats. A 'Call of the Card' as it were. Some excellent scoring and great contests looming. Please enjoy.  


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