BSHRA Elveden 2016 race report
BSHRA Elveden (20th-21st February 2016)
It’s never easy ‘altering’ a race in any way, shape or form; to move one at late notice is not only heart-breaking, frankly it’s also an utter pain in the backside.
If you’ve never organised a race, these things can take a long time to set-up. Forestry permissions, caterers, toilets, trail finding – all these things can take weeks to put into place and ensure that they all come to fruition at the same time.
To have to set the whole lot up in little over 2 weeks is stressful to say the least but fortunately, the BSHRA machine just grinds away at times like these; the phone rings off the hook and everyone scurries around.
The Studleys agreed to continue taking entries to save confusion, to seed and set out the marshal lists.
The ‘Leich and Koops partnership’ grabbed the truck, went looking for venues and liaised with the local FC over the options. At last we secured one and having also received permission from the land manager, we were handed Elveden.
Phase 1 (and by far the most difficult) complete and boy, were we relieved!
Phase 2 complete.
A catering lady has been trying to get in touch with us for a while… Would she/could she rise to the late challenge?
Booked! Phase 3 complete.
Make sure the bibs, banners, truck etc would be in the right place at the right time.
Phase 4 complete.
A few of us had already ‘booked time off work’ so we had a ready made work party for Friday. Sally and Ali, a truck, a trailer, Steve and Christine Biddlecombe, Julie and Brian Collins, Dave Beach, Jenna Cooper and I made our way to Elveden. In no time the start and finish chutes were up whilst Biddles and Sally went to recce the trails.
Phase 5 looking very favourable…
Then disaster strikes… Christine has a cooker…
but not a frying pan in sight – there was almost a mutiny!
The weather forecast was appalling for the entire weekend so we had about 300 trail options just in case but for once, the much maligned weather gods took at least ‘some’ pity on us… Whilst the weather was warm (you can always cut a trail), thankfully it stayed dry all weekend.
I won’t go through all the results – they’re here if you want them – save to say that once again, something happened this weekend that I’ve never seen before and in fairness, unlikely to again (although I did hear some mention about trying to make it 3!).
In the good old days when run times were worked out with an abacus and posted on a washing line, it wasn’t uncommon to see people post the same time on their run. Even in BSDRA days over 20 years ago, we started using an electronic system where competitors break a beam at the finish; it’s impartial AND more accurate. Even so, it was still marginally flawed in that the snubbers could release someone 0.5 seconds early or 0.5 seconds late – not their fault, it’s simply ‘human’.
We’ve used Alistair Spowart for a long time now. He’s professional, good natured, knows sled dog racing inside and out and I’m very pleased to call him a friend. But above all, he’s bl**dy good at what he does. Seeing that race times were still tight and races could potentially be won or lost on snubber’s reaction times, he invested in ‘start beams’ a few years back.
Now the ‘snubbers error’ doesn’t matter – you break a beam on the way out and another on the way in – completely accurate and no argument!
Had we sent Julie Collins and Mel Hannam out together at the exact same time and they’d held hands all the way round the trail, I still wouldn’t put money on them BOTH breaking the beam in the exact same 100th of a second – you’d have better odds of winning the lottery whilst getting struck by lightning surely? But if ever you needed a reason for having a timekeeper like Ali, that’s it, staring you straight in the face! Truly incredible and the talk of the weekend!
A huge thank you to everyone for ‘relocating’ over the weekend; the organisers that chipped in, the competitors that chipped in, Brandon who always sorts out our marshals with a smile, Ali for his unsurpassed time-keeping, the caterers who stepped in at the last minute (and who’s baps had rave reviews) and of course Alpha Feeds and Tadita Dog Booties for their continued support of the series.