Thursday, March 27, 2014


Despite a damp overhang to proceedings, the 23rd Sydney Summer Series final at Macquarie Uni was a class act - and a very fitting conclusion to the 2013/2014 season. And in a gallery, familiar and yet ever changing, course setter Dan Redfern had the special SSS tour group (of 190 odd art lovers) looking at the Garingal master work - and suddenly seeing "You Yangs Landscape" by Fred Williams! Such is the ability of 'All Stations to Burwood' to change perceptions.

We came expecting an Edo period Japanese screen, a Clifford Possum perhaps, even a heavily worked Anne Thomson - but instead found ourselves in possession of a portrait format landscape by the Australian master. Was it the intensity of palette? The earthy tones? The balance of yellow and green?The daubing of campus and arc of M2? If you look, it's all there, a work in complete harmony, across the whole canvass, a wonder of oil and brush - and beautifully exploited by curator Redfern.

A tenner is all it took to procure an A4 copy of this sumptuous painting, and ten minutes was enough for some to determine a plan. Stringmen, huddled in Camry's and Audi's, gave up trying to compute the 1:8,000 scale, resigning to punt a loop - and were suddenly upon the course. Let's have a closer look.

Previous encounters with this work saw it as a two pack in/out run. Dan went deeper, enlightening his audience with a third option - a third way of entering 'into' the work. This new eastern sector connect gave a better flow to the whole, and enabled a good early tally as one encountered light and dark green areas of the canvass - and the hesitation inherent in the black dashed line. Of the three 'exits', the middle one across the bridge gave the least immediate return, the western rewarded but needed running speed and fitness, so it's probably no surprise that most began east - around the tennis courts to 21, across the creek and on to 13,22 before taking the minor track directly to #23 across the oval. You needed care to pick the small tracks, with some following leads that ended in the green (June Stanley found herself on the wrong side of a high fence hereabouts). The stretch on to #1, should have found fans, but the direct 22/23 runners had bigger plans.

Those on this clockwise course then hit the Uni, where some almost Sprint-O setting tempted. 26,4,9,14 (nicely at top level) worked before jumping the stream to 27, and then walking the plank back again, and on to #15 (the hydrant, the hydrant) and wider decision time. Sprint O fans could then loop back via another top level car park ping (7), to go in-out 6, through the canopies to the sculpture at #8 and out to flash via 5 (another sculpture - you can see Dan's cultural thinking) and the 25/24 double before a finish that might not have been a winning one. More ambitious art lovers worked west from the hydrant to the creek (28) and then the horse paddock and student housing intensity stuff (16,17,29) before crossing back for the 25/24 double. These are the high three punters, your 380/390 point posters.

The other loop, the anti-clockwise option, saw runners work 19,12, down the steps to 30, backtrack to another drop to #20 at the pylon, before the long flog past 19 to the 18,10,3 scatter (not sure about 3 - too off line) and into the student digs and nags before reversing direction. There was more running in the west, with the Uni points a terrible temptation that sucked you ever deeper into the campus. "Ten, ten, another tenner" was the anguished cry, as the ring of thirty's on the edges drew them ever further from safety. Those that ran out via the entry road worked up a lot of puff for little reward - having to put up a kilometre before #18 came into view (as it didn't to Bruce 'The Firebox' Stanley) - and assuming you were then on a sort of mini anti clockwise loop. Perhaps not the best of options.

There was a bit of a hole where the old golf driving range was, and as I mentioned, a dearth of pings south across the entry bridge area. Otherwise points piled on in reasonable fashion, and most would have gone home from Macquarie Galleries happy bunnies. They thought they had run Macquarie, but Dan gave them art. Gave them Fred Williams. They had encountered a great painting instead. Life changing!

In actual fact it was a tough final. A top score of 550 (Andy and Steve in an OM tie), and only three others going above 500. It didn't look that wide at first scan, with the record eight runners who took up the 'all stations' cry, probably thinking the same thing. Deceptive stuff then, with the Uni weaving about contributing to over times, as did the car park upper levels (#14#7) and the in-outs at 30/20 etc. Hard to pick a poorly attended unit. Maybe #2 got missed in the wider 26,4,9,14 Uni building run. Maybe #3. Mmmmm, a great course none the less, and an excellent challenge for the final. Let's have a deck-o at some stats and some stars.

184 entries, including another six or so in the group entries, gives us a great final. There was certainly a buzz about the assembly area, and many occasional SSS runners turned up to give the volleys a final fly. Good to see Nick Dent with us (after an excellent weekend in Victoria), Ian Cameron tuning up for Easter, Linda Sesta running in a (joint) win, and also looking good for Easter. I mentioned eight 600 point runners last night, with Col Burnett (VM) enjoying things longer than the rest - on the flog for 91.04 minutes, and losing 470 of the hard earned's in the process. Exceptional devotion Colin. He even   surpassed the Macquarie Banker, only an 86" tango for Ian.

Winners of interest last night. Chippy le Carpentier, in his only SSS appearance this season, ran a great 390 pointer in IM - in 44.59! Chippy get's the 'Phew!' award this week, along with an even tighter ping from Aidan Dawson - winning JM in 45.00 exactly. Other winners include June Stanley from Sue (180/170) after Sue went wider, Jimmy Merchant cleaning up LM (390) after the three LM leaders all went too far (Ted, a 600 man, and John a farewell SSS tour loop of 430), or not far enough (Rosscoe back early), Louise Brierty in MW (ten from Carolyn and thirty from Antoniya in a very strong run), James 'I Know I Can, I Know I Can' Lithgow from Mel (450/430 in SVM), Mark Savery in VM (a great 30 on from Greg Barbour; Michael not running), and VW's Linda/Paula in a 400 point draw. 'The King' (Richie in MM) had a quiet one (470) relatively speaking, being well beaten by 'The Gunboat' (490) and of course, Glenn with the best 600 sweep of all - in 50.56 minutes for a 540 post. What a star!! This is not to forget the OM battle royal, where both Andrew Hill and Steve Ryan went into the last race on the same 1200 pt score. Steve had to win outright to sneak past 'The Hills Hoist', but the draw gave it to Andy. Sensational racing that had the crowd in a thrall.

We had a couple of .01's, the most impressive (and agonising) of which is Meredith Dodds, with the classic 45.01. Eric 'The Viking' Young, Anthony Dowle, Andrew Wiz, and Robin Cameron are the others in this well reported department. All age classes were in the crowd except SJW, with Duncan posting a finals win in SJM (from Alastair George and Toby Wilson), and the Dawson's (Aidan and Michele) winning the two junior races - and the overall series in their age class. Interestingly, Toby pipped Alastair for the overall SJM silver, despite the reverse result last night.

The evening concluded with the usual series winners presentation and prizes (and the Coca Cola fridge alarm!), preceded this year by the new award of a perpetual trophy for the 'Special Award' recipient - this season a well overdue acknowledgement of all the work Mel Cox does in refining and helping post the race results over the season. The badges for the three place getters in each age category followed, and then the SSS Cup presentation - awarded to Karin Hefftner as the runner with the most points accumulated over the season (Karin's incredible season saw her tally 2580 points from a possible 2600, to claim from fellow addict Andy Hill who ended with an equally impressive 2541 points). Big thanks to Dan and the Garingal team for a classic final, and especial thanks to Dan's press ganged control retrieval team (Bob, John, Carolyn and Neil) who were out there in the most atrocious post event downpour (while we all dined at the El Ranco!!). Oh cruel world. I should also thank David Noble and Graeme Hill for all their SSS help - David our superb web master, and Graeme our original SSS stats man, and last night's prizes capitano. Good work boys.

So, another season appears to be over. Pork Pie is savouring the silence already - resting quietly on the ottoman, as he gazes at his crumbled copy of 'You Yangs', and sips a weak Lady Grey. For all the fans of the Sydney Summer Series, rest assured that season 24 is already upon the drafting table, and will probably include an event as part of the Christmas 5 Day O carnival - possibly a blinder around the wharfs of Pyrmont, Porkie in charge. We begin again on Wednesday October 1st - probably a pre- daylight saver, with earlier starts, and then into it over the next 26 weeks. Whoo hoo, only six months to go!    



Also Ran said...

I thought this was a well-set course with plenty of decisions to be made. After the initial string of controls either to the east or the northwest, runners spread out into a range of different route choices.

Even after doing the run I'm not sure whether the route I took was the best or not!

the unknown runner said...

Check out Chris Browns SS solutions site he has been scrutinizing the last six weeks of SS from the Northen Hemisphere.

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