BSHRA Cranwich/R2 Forest 2015 race report
BSHRA Cranwich/R2 (19-20th December, 2015)
The event on the 19/20th December was to be the third event in our calendar this season but due to the last minute cancellation of Darnaway it was in fact the second event and our first event as, due to ill health and other problems, we were not ready to take part in the Sherwood race in mid November.
I have been organising races/rallies for longer than I care to remember and the weather is rarely ideal and often too mild to put on the trails we want to put on but this event, the weekend before Christmas, was unprecedented in our experience. It was 13/14 degrees overnight and first thing both Saturday and Sunday mornings. We knew the forecast was to be mild and could have cancelled but instead decided that all the people and dogs (with over 100 teams entered) would far prefer to get a run and so we went ahead and worked out some very short trails, shorter than we have ever put on before. It was ironic because our event had to be moved to a different part of the forest due to felling operations in the Elveden area, where we had originally booked, and the Cranwich area, where we were moved to, is a popular deer culling area as well but also has several pheasant shooting tenants as well and needless to say they all had activities planned for the weekend in question too.
This can be something of a nightmare for all concerned but after we had communicated back and forth with everyone concerned we had actually managed to negotiate a really nice trail which included an area we cannot usually use so we were very pleased and it still avoided the shoots and culls and would have given us 3, 4 and even 4.5 to 5 mile options if it had been cold enough, although we would have hesitated to put on anything longer than 3.5 to 4 with the mild conditions we have all endured for training this season so far. Longer options were not to be of course and in the end we never got close to the new area we had explored and put on 1.7 miles for the 8/6/ and 4 dog and the Bike Jor and 1.1 for 3, 2, and 1 dog teams. We were hoping for a cooler start on the Sunday so we could extend the trails a bit that day but it was not to be although ironically the temperature did drop as the day progressed and it was 10 degrees when we were clearing up at the end of the day and the following morning would have resulted in great excitement and celebrations if it had happened over the weekend as it was 4 degrees!
This is a crazy climate we are having at the moment. It is very hard to please everyone and some dogs could probably have done a bit more than the distances we put on but I would much prefer people to feel their dogs could have gone a bit further than to have people with dogs getting too hot because they have been asked to go too far. Over heating is extremely serious for dogs and quite simply not worth risking. Every dog is different and their owners need to know their specific requirements and then need to make the decision for them to keep them safe and working within their capabilities. As it was, everyone, people and dogs, all seemed to enjoy the trails and the race in general and it was a fun weekend. Incredibly warm but at least it stayed dry and it was actually really very pleasant for standing around and socialising!
Our usual caterers, the wonderful Beeches, had let us down and luckily we managed to get Carls Burgers to cover for the weekend and he did a grand job although is far more limited in his choice of food. Despite this he did a good trade and almost everyone enjoyed his food, although the vegetarians did not have much on offer that they could eat unfortunately.
I will not include the results as these are listed elsewhere on the website but suffice it to say that there was very close competition in all classes and some exciting finishes. I think it is going to be an interesting and exciting season in all classes. The 1.7 mile trail was mostly over a fast section of the Cranwich trails and resulted in some impressive average speeds. Ali Spowart did a fantastic job with the timing as ever and this is just such a weight off your mind when you are a race organiser, knowing you never need to worry about the timing. Many thanks to all our helpers over the weekend and especially to Stuart and Suzanne Alexander, Hugh Sym and Pauline Amphlett, Steve Rooke, Dave and Steve Beach, Dawn Hammond and Julie Collins for all their help in setting up on the Friday.
Thanks too for all those who helped over the race weekend and a huge thank you to Mike Hammond for providing the 4 wheel drive vehicles for trail changes and taking out/collecting marshalls etc. We normally use Sherils Land Rover for exploring trails, setting up and changing trail signs during the event but this is off the road at the moment being rebuilt with a new chassis so Mike very, very kindly lent us one of his for a couple of weeks before and during the event, which was a huge help.
Many thanks also to all those who helped dismantle the Start and Finish chutes and reload everything back into the trailer (which was donated in the late Brian Layton’s memory) and carries all the gear from one race to the next and also to Brian Collins for bringing the trailer back here to us before taking the 4 wheel drive vehicle to explore trails for the next event”
Sally Leich/Ali Koops