Aussies draw middle event but Kiwis win MTBO Challenge.

Both sides slipped and slid their way to a draw in the third and final event of the 2012 ANZ MTB-Orienteering Challenge at Wanaka yesterday. So the final result over the three events of the ANZ Challenge was New Zealand 14, Australia 10

Carolyn Matthews - part of victorious W40 team in middle

Carolyn Matthews – part of victorious W40 team in middle

Persistent rain overnight and during the middle distance event near the Clutha River outlet made riding conditions difficult, but riders praised the variety of terrain in the small area. Australia won the tightly contested Womens 40 class for a second time –  winning by 1 minute 57. Christine Brown (NZ) won this class by just 19 secs over Carolyn Jackson but 6th place by Carolyn Matthews helped the Aussies to victory.  In Men’s Open Chris Forne was threatened by top Australian Alex Randall who finished just 3 mins down but the kiwis held the class. Oscar Phillips was 5th, Paul Darvodelsy 7th and Ricky Thackray 10th. In the Women’s Open Marquita Gelderman took her 2nd win by the narrow margin of 21 seconds over Melanie Simpson, but the Aussie depth showed, with Mary Fien 3rd and Jen Garham-Taylor 8th and the class went to Australia. Australia also took Mens 20 and Mens 50 while the hosts won Womens 50, Mens 40 and Mens 60.

Other good Aussie individual results were: M20 Chris Firman 1st, Tim Jackson 2nd, Paulo Jun Alvear Fujii 3rd. M40 – Peter Swanson 4th; M50 – Malcolm Roberts 2nd; W50 – Heather Leslie 4th; M60 – Andrew Campbell 4th; W60 Kathy Liley 1st.

Jwoc multiple representative Chris Firman again displayed his undoubted talent, in winning M20 and being the fastest on course 2, beating all M40 and W21 participants.  Here is his race description: “I had the first start of the day and this meant I had to concentrate on the 1:7,500 “Sticky-Hikuwai” map which had ever changing terrain in its 4 square kilometres. Course 2 was tricky from the get go. The first check point route choice had one of the new symbols that New Zealand invented. A green dash track route, meaning it’s vague and hard to pick up on. The track was more direct and went straight to the first checkpoint. Having managed to navigate my way smoothly through this tricky route, it built up my confidence in the race. The map consisted of a bit of everything. Technical single tracks, mazes of track, dark yellow open areas and a lot more white section of the maps (white meaning you are allowed to ride through the forest on this map.) I used the open areas and white forest section to my advantage giving me and the other riders a lot more route choices and flexibility on cutting the corners. I only made one or two route choices that I felt were not the fastest routes but I executed them well and kept my navigation solid. Very pleased with my ride.”

Another course 2 competitor had a different account. “A real shocker. I forgot to start my GPS, so now I will never know where I went! Lost map contact just after the start triangle, and struggled to relocate – eventually hit the river and worked it out. Another time I rode a long way over the map fold before realising it was a 7,500 scale.”

Riders dried out and relaxed at the historic Cardrona hotel last night. Today they ride a “friendly” relay at the Waiorau cross-country skifield and motor vehicle testing ground, 1675 metres up high on the Pisa Mt Range about 40 km from Wanaka.   With snow forecast last night and today, it should be another memorable and unique experience.

(Based on Michael Wood (NZ) report – additional input Kay Haarsma.)

Provisional team results based on the best two riders from each country.

Full results will be at http://www.obasen.nu/winsplits/online/en/

M-20: AUS 88-16, NZL no team

M-Open: NZL 104-53, AUS 111-34

M40: NZL 83-41, AUS 98-03

M50: AUS 92-20, NZL 103-29

M60: NZL 73-07, AUS 88-58

W-Open: AUS 90-56, NZL 95-07

W40: AUS 113-39, NZL 115-36

W50: NZL 98-46, AUS 106-46

MiddlemapNZ