Thursday, February 13, 2014


Brown contour lines that is! Those wiggles and Jackson Pollock like meanderings, often a measured distance apart (as one is when taking tea with the aunties), but last night close and personal, as Stanley Steep and Contour Kate worked a sobriety of puff amongst the throng.

And a throng it was, with close to 190 drivers upon the hills of Brush Farm - and maybe a record roll-up for this western venue. Innocently they came, expecting the friendly attentions of 'The Truck Tyre', but actually getting both barrels from Lee 'Enfield' Coady instead (Pork Pie mistakenly mentioning Steve as the course setter in the preview posts, when he turns out to be the organiser). So, the 'Rifle' it was - and he set a cracker.

As alluded to, the 'Farm' is not quite a before bed caress with a soft hair brush, more a serious hill climb in the Torana XU1 - and needing hard work across the gear range, including a fair bit in first. Working across the course from Darvall Park was always going to mean 'puff' of course - and meant a sleepless Tuesday night for those that remembered their last exhaustive outing here ten years ago. Brown lines close together has that effect, and Lee worked them again with enthusiasm.

Let's slip out of the mustard coloured 180B and pull on the shorts.

The WHO encampment was aflutter with banner and branded bunting, including a blow up settee for the elderly to contemplate the punishment to come. Officials, marshals and coin takers were resplendent in light blue, and produced a landscape rally map for the obligatory tenner. Wisely, 'The Rifle' was hidden at the start flag, and missed the spread of drivers upon the assembly point grass in prolonged agony and indecision - as they worked, and then reworked the string, hoping for a lead, hoping to glean a morsel of info from the Blue team, from any early finishers, hoping it would 'click', but knowing that in the end (as Bob Dylan sang) "even the President of the United States must have to stand naked". It was such a good bit of SSS setting that you were indeed all alone. No obvious route or loop, no blank hole, no bald spots, and no getting away from the contours. Runners were to be put to the rack in all directions and combinations, and it is fascinating to see such route variety in the splits.

Let's look more closely at the course.

The 100 points in the eastern strip seemed a must do, with many beginning in some fashion/combination here. There were also big claims in the far west, out of reach for most (although James 'Alan Moffatt' Lithgow worked the GTHO there), and a goodly bunch in the middle. It was almost impossible to construct a low climb course if you were after a 300 plus claim, and so, the 'Pollock's' beckoned. You had to work high, many off the 19/17 beginning and then up to 18 - or back and up via #1 - the delightful Robinson Pathway in Outlook Park. Others went low first (7,13,25,15 etc) and then put in on the western hill slopes to the classic combo at 27,22,5 (Lynn Park) - the V8's having earlier worked 20,28,14 - and wisely ignoring #11 (maybe our lonely pot in its tight clutch of brown). What also bedevilled many were the two thirty's (#24/26) quite close to the start that resisted all looping - and had to be taken 'in-out'. Both classic conundrums. So valuable, so close….but so hard!

A couple of routes illustrate the many options adopted. 'The Morris Minor', 'The Ink Bottle', Gill, Patrik and Greg 'The Gas Well' Barbour all began 12,2,23 and the north to west swing - and home via #3. Glenn also did this, but added #3 between 2 and 23 - curious. Andy, 'The Joss Stick' and Aidan all began south to west (3,7,13,25), with Mark Schaefer tackling one of the tough twenties early, beginning 3,26,4. The combinations were many and varied across all age classes, including an excellent route from 'The Pants' going 2,12,7,13, west to 9,28 (Bell Park),14 (Lambert Park), then 27,22,5 (phew!), 16,18 and finishing with the triple whammy - 21,24,23! I like that last bit, and didn't 'see it' at all during over a hour of indecisive string twirling.

Going over the hill between 22 and 27 was an agony (better low around the street), as was anyone climbing 22,5. A good flow return (if you had worked north earlier) was the run down from 4 through West Denistone Park to 6,25 and across to a 13,7,3 finish. Getting #26 into this mix proved a tough ask. But then, it was a tough evening. Many found deeper reserves than they thought they had, including 'Sir Ronald', who flew home across the foot as described above into a share of the lead in IM with Teddy. And for a steep course, there weren't as many late penalties as you might expect - Alice 'In Wonderland' Clayton taking out the honours here with an enjoyable 81.35 run, surrendering 370 of her 490 point post in OW as a result. And while I'm on a 'late' tack, how about the 100 point penalty cars, Ross Morrison (54.02), Pete Annetts (54.52), Chris Cotteral (54.26) and, perfection itself, Christophe Capel in 55.00! Kaj also gave things a belt (JM 65.09), as did IW's Bev (61.30) and Ian 'The Banker' McKenzie (77.29 and our only other all stops runner - after Glenn).

Looks like only one 'Phew' award - to Tania Kennedy (VW), home in 44.59, and winning her age group with 360 points. An excellent run from 'The Knockout'. On the 'Cruel World' stakes, only two to report, with Matty Dowle regretting stopping for a tyre change at 48.01, and the Beard Group (Rod & Helen) feeling things more keenly at 45.01 in an otherwise excellent post of 370. It seems our most popular score was the rather excellent 370 with 12 racing cars into pitt straight with that post. 350/360's weren't far behind, helping two thirds of the field go 'over half way'. The 370 cars included Tezza, Ted and the Beards already mentioned, but also included a great run from 'The Forbes Post Office' (SVM), more exciting cornering from Vet mobiles, Fergus Duion (Dixon?), Tim 'Thrust &' Perry, Johnny 'Be Good' Buhlman and James 'Smiths Corner' Stuart (whoohoo James, good one), and heavy fuel usage from Masters teamsters Wayne 'The Plunge' Pepper and Sandy 'O' Smith. Crystal Ossolinski our sole female in this block, working her 'Handling Options' Falcon home in 44.44 - and delighting the timing team.

Recent class winners have been in form again, with only a few changes last night. No 'King' so Glenn takes the lollies in MM, twenty clear of Richard Morris (570/550). James McQuillan takes a great OM win from Andrew Hill and Tommy Joss (550/540/530), and Neil Hawthorne returns to the podium in SVM with a strong 420 from Wazza and Larry ten back (410's). Terry Bluett and Ted Woodley worked very different routes but both ended up joint LM winners over John Anderson and Rosscoe (370/360), the Dawson's both won, Carol again, Karin, Gill, Andy and Rachael - and good to see Sue Thommo home under and winning with 250. Another tie in SJW, with Tshinta and Ellen sharing 290's, as well as the reported IM battle. Great to see Gerry Wong on the go, Mel Cox walking (but not winning), Chris Crane (helping and walking), and Mike Hotchkiss mini-rogaining to a 410 point post. There also seemed to be a few first timers taking instruction (Wing Ming Yeong takes the eye), and many passers by wondering... 'I though Bathurst was in October'.

As you can see, race twenty was a biggie, a beauty, a toughie - an all round ripper that was probably our best ever outing on this map. Perfect setting, and perfect results across the scoring spectrum as we tangled with the brown lines - and realised it wasn't P&O Lines. Big thanks to Lee and Steve and the WHO team for another superb showing in light blue. You guys are a class act. I heard many complimentary comments from the finished and exhausted, and also from team managers, who cautioned that the odd engine and gear box oil change might be needed before next week.

Speaking of next week!

Michael Burton and 'The Feet' are scheduled for a 4pm departure on 19 February. I think they might be on platform 21 at Roseville Chase station. This is another tester and brown line beauty, with the start and assembly at the bottom of the hill! Put it this way, it will be a blast on the return. Expect to work the hammy, but also to enjoy the views in this area - several of which across Middle Harbour are sensational. I'm expecting great setting from the stargazer, and maybe the cornflake box starter. It's always a great night when the big feet and all their little feet are on show, so please, bring your Banjo - and maybe some soft toys.


1 comment:

Fly on the Wall said...

Don't forget that BF will be offering a 50c discount for pre-entries next week. See

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