Mt Gladstone Day 1
The Christmas 5 days kicked off in traditional fashion with a hot afternoon greeting orienteers to Mt Gladstone, being used for the first time since the 1989 Family Relays. With most runners having some time off orienteering since the Australian Championships, there was some rough navigation and a few unfit bodies charging around the courses. As usual, there are many European orienteers littered through the classes enjoying some of the best granite the Snowy Mountains has to offer.
The men’s A class is looming as a close battle over the coming week. Swiss WOC star David Schneider (4th in the Long Distance in Japan earlier in the year) spearheads a quality field containing some of Australia’s top elites and juniors. But it was the local Ultimax Stingers Eric Morris and Julian Dent who showed some early form. Morris claimed a close victory over Dent by 9 seconds when Dent lost 60 seconds on the second last after leading the whole race. Schneider was acclimatising to the Australian conditions and came in third two minutes back, while senior retiree Grant Bluett was just behind in 4th. Back home for the summer, British international David Brickhill-Jones, was 5th ahead of a close pack containing the Ultimax stingers boys, Peter Preston, Rob Preston, and Dave Meyer in 6th 7th and 8th respectively.
It was a case of the traditional Scandinavian invasion in the women’s A class. Former Swedish B team member Sofia Olsson claimed the top spot in an impressive first hit out in Australia winning by over two minutes over another Swede, junior Eva Tiselius. The local girls seem to have their work cut out for the rest of the week. Newlywed Anna Quayle was leading for the majority of the course until losing 5 minutes on controls 12 and 13, but this proves she will be a threat in the remaining days. Consistent WOC contender Grace Elson will also be one to beat. She had a good start today finishing 3rd ahead of group of other up-and-comers llka Barr, Briohny Davey and Jasmine Neve.
Results from all classes with splits (lost)
Day 2 – Glenbrook
Returning to the open fast granite terrain, the conditions on day 2 were more favourable with the weather cool but with very gusty wind.
Again the early starters were the men’s A with junior Simon Uppill posting an early pace setter after quite an impressive run. Simon is seen as Australia’s great hope at JWOC 2007 in Dubbo. But it didn’t take long for the big guns to shine with David Schneider proving that he doesn’t take long to get used to the Aussie terrain. Schneider posted a two minute lead over Eric Morris to take the win. Morris was content with a 2nd to add to his 1st from the previous day to show that he is again in his traditional 5 days quality form. Julian Dent, after leading Schneider by more than 2 minutes early on in the course, finally settled for 3rd. David Brickhill-Jones has still not quite re-adjusted to the Aussie terrain, and came in 2 minutes back in 4th, with Uppill 5th.
It was a local fight back in the women’s A class. Grace Elson came away with an impressive win after leading most of the way, overcoming MTBO medallist Anna Sheldon, who was 2nd by 90 seconds. Day 1 winner Sofia Olsson had to settle for third 4 minutes back. The consistent Briohny Davey was in 4th, and Swedish junior Eva Tiselius had a clean run to end up 5th, backing up her 2nd place from day one. Tiselius had a clean run today, but tired towards the end — being one of Sweden’s best juniors is a good benchmark for our young girls to compete against.
Provisional results with splits (lost)
The competitor’s head back to more grass seeds at Glenbrook for tomorrow’s Day 3, before heading to the shores of Lake Eucumbene for the final two days at Buckenderra. With a lot of racing ahead both A classes are still wide open, but the consistent performers should win out, but stay tuned for more reports from the snowy region.
Julian Dent & Kerrin Rattray