BSHRA Rendlesham1 race report
BSHRA Rendlesham1 (16-17th January, 2016)
Over the 21 years I’ve organised races, some have been in the most terrible weather known in this country; frozen trails at Brandon, snow bound overnight at Kings East and pouring rain (just about everywhere!)… You can’t even imagine my excitement when I saw the weather forecast for race weekend.
After the cracking trail at Kings East, it was just the shot in the arm that the championship needed, minus temperatures overnight and clear skies which allowed me to add another bump up in distance. Still not what we should be doing mid-winter, but then we haven’t really had a winter – yet…
Trev and I looked around the trails on the Sunday before and they were sodden. Safe enough, but every competitor was gonna get wet whichever trail they ran. The area of deep sand just out of the dark coppice which drains a lot of teams, was simply a wall-to-wall lake – no getting around that bugger!
There’s a whole bunch of trails at the top which I was desparate to use again; I’ve used them in previous years and they run really nicely, but linking them with the bottom section to provide a sensible length of A/B trail simply wasn’t going to happen. I was either at 4.2 miles or 2.7 miles, neither of which was accetable in my eyes. Brian put on a lovely 2.9 mile trail at Kings and given the weather, I sure as hell wasn’t going to go shorter, so I nicked Steve Biddlecombe’s beautiful 3.4 mile trail from last year and worked down through the classes from there.
This forest never fails to amaze me. By Friday, masses of the standing water had drained and we were only left with 2 ‘iffy’ areas. Brian and Kirk soon got to work on the start and finish chutes and with those completed, turned their attentions to digging gullies to drain out the last 2 remaining water obstacles. Believe me, you could never be thankful enough to those guys – they both saved every competotor from a certain soaking, which at minus 1 degree on Sunday, would have been a total misery. As it was, it had almost completely dried up!
Over 90 teams arrived on a cold Saturday morning to find an almost perfect trail. A scattering of frost on the more exposed trails and we’re all set! The low wintery sunshine did very little to take off too much chill over the weekend and the trails remained in almost perfect order.
A switch around in the A class sees Andrew Grisbrooke and Hugh Sym swapping places oveer the weekend, Griz pipping Hugh by 0.06secs on the 2nd day – thank god for Alistair’s excellent beam-to-beam electronic timing system; when things are that close it really comes into it’s own!
Sally Leich has a clear run of firsts again whilst poor Caroline just had ‘one of those weekends’. Steve Biddlecombe had a strong, solid run each day as did our team (albeit with Halen stopping twice to get shot of some excess baggage on the 2nd day I wouldn’t mind but he’d already walked about 2 miles and accomplished that task ahead of time; maybe he was excited!). Great to see Russell Ankers on his 6 dog maiden voyage on Saturday – he was absolutely buzzing when he came back!
C4 sees Mel Hannam taking the top spot both days over Sharon Sargent indicating her intentions to take that little tussle to the wire with Julie Collins and Sally Leich both bringing in a 3rd each.
Kev Spooner might be rethinking his strategy. Having felt quite comfortable with his full compliment of wins in the C3 this year, Paul Pateman got within 8/100ths behind him on the Sunday, Kirk Robinson (2nd Sat, 3rd Sun) having managed to dodge a mountain biker pushing his bike back and forth across the trail trying to decide which way he wanted to go. Keto his lead dog was quite clear it seems that if he didn’t decide fairly promptly, he’d go ‘through’ and take the bike with him!
Paul Pateman took both the 2 dog victories being kept honest by the chasing Tyler Collins and Dori Fellner, Graham Pickavance and Naomi March. He really can’t afford to take his foot off the metal for fear of all those girls (and Graham) right behind him!
‘Tomtom’ Quinton as expected, showed everyone a clean set of mudguards in the Bikejoring, Matt Murphy breathing from ‘somewhere other than his mouth’ on his return both days with Sarah Gunby-Price taking 3rd spot both days. Tom gave a rallying cry at the beginning of the season for people to enter this class, to get their dogs out and have some fun so why there aren’t more people in this class I really don’t understand – please use it or risk losing it… point made!
Scooter threw up some anomalies… Ben Pleasants taking top slot both days much to the ‘broken’ Alexandria Taylor’s disappointment! Alex had a ‘misfortune’ on Saturday’s run and could barely move on the Sunday, somehow still taking 4th despite broken ribs as it later turns out (and STILL her partner Tim Purser can’t beat her so he’s now on ‘domestic chores duty’ now for the foreseeable! Mr P up there again in the high points both days and Tom Quinton running Hugh and Pauline’s 10 year old ‘Dolly Dagger’ into a credible 2nd position on the Sunday.
J1 – where do I start… Ben Platt, the son of our faithful marshal driver Brandon, slid away quite nicely with a double win. Maisie Glover bless her, took a terrible tumble at the first corner on the Saturday. Trevor Fagg shot down from the start chute and with Griz her cycling chaperone caught the dog and made sure she was OK. She trudged back up through the start chute as, never one to shirk a challenge, Trev jumps on the back of a small rig and one dog and proceeds to run the dog complete with his trusty Griz cycling chaperone, around the remainder of the trail much to the amusement of everyone at the finish. Sadly I had to disqualify him from the class designed for 8-11 year olds. Whilst he’s clearly never going to grow up, he was wearing neither a crash helmet nor a bib, both of which are in the regulations! To her credit, brave Maisie DID get back on the following day and sailed round which has done her confidence the world of good!
J2 saw Paige Glover and Cameron Ankers swapping 1st and 2nd places – so honours even there!
Too many people to thank as ever. But of particular note: Brandon and Dave Beach for placing, replacing, placing, replacing marshals all weekend, Big Bri and Kirk for making the trails perfect on the Friday. Biddles for trail marking with me on Friday and changing trails for every class all weekend. Christine Bidds for sustinence on Friday, Trevor Fagg for ‘pathfinding’ with me and forever taking the p1$$ and keeping the mood up! My Nicki for feeding, walking, watering etc etc dogs as I gave myself over to the race. Winkie for his efforts on Friday and Katie for shoving bacon rolls and cups of tea at me every time I turned around!
Photos of the event can be seen here