A new area on the Southern Highlands played host to the NSW Long Championships over the weekend. ‘Wattle Ridge’ was a throw back to days of classic Sydney Sandstone amongst heavy vegetation.
The men’s open class was a tight one with the top four competitors within four minutes after over an hour and a half of racing. It was Rob Walter (RRA) who took the the lead briefly, for the first control, before Eric Morris (BNN) clawed past him and took a slender lead ahead of Walter and Paul Liggins (ALT) until the 10th. Here Rob Walter snuck in front until losing time at the 13th handing the lead to Liggins. Liggins dropped the lead briefly at controls 20 and 21 before regaining it and holding on for a 68 second victory over Morris who was 14 seconds ahead of Walter. It was the first time Liggins has won an open state title outside Tasmania.
Jo Allison (RRA) was the favourite heading into the women’s race and she didn’t disappoint, winning easily with a seven-minute margin. Youngster Belinda Lawford (AOA) held the lead for part of the race but couldn’t hold off her more experienced rival. Briohny Davey (WRN) lost time at the fourth, effectively leaving her out of contention.
In other classes, two former WOC representatives had a tight race in the M35s with Steve Craig, back from Sweden, edging out Jock Davis (BFN) whereas both the M45 and M55 had large victories to Mark Darvodelsky (BFN) and Robert Preston (NCN) respectively. Visiting Tasmanian Christine Brown (EVT) tookout W45 by 16 minutes and Liz Abbott (POA) W50 by 19 minutes.