Sarah Dunnage broke through for her first senior title in bush orienteering and, given his recent lack of form, John Toomey had a surprising win. The event was held in beautiful winter sunshine at the remapped John Forrest National Park – the closest and oldest WA orienteering area. Course setters (and new parents) Craig Dufty and Rachel West set an interesting course on a portion of the map that was almost free of thick prickly vegetation. By not running, both Craig and Rachel created one of the more unpredictable races in recent times!
The women’s race was a closely-contested affair in which the experienced Karen Staudte and usual W17-20 runner Dunnage were not separated by much for most of the course. Eventually Dunnage pulled away on the long up hill on leg 9-10 and finished fast through the final two controls to win by 1min 29s. Leida Williams had a steady run, improving through the whole course to take 3rd place and unfortunately Cath Chalmers injured her knee while negotiating a fallen tree on leg 8-9. She was already 2mins behind and it would have taken a strong effort over the rest of the course to salvage the expected win. JWOC representative Kellie Whitfield will be hoping to have got her ‘bad run’ out of the way after being a bit off the pace from the start and then making a large 6min error on control 6.
The men’s race was an open affair with people predicting a win by three different people – the old stager Terry Farrell, newcomer Ben Corry and country-boy Steve Fletcher. Last starter Toomey, who has had chronic hamstring troubles all season, took the lead with a fast start through controls 1 and 2 to be 90s ahead but lost enough time in the circle at 3 to only be 20 seconds ahead. From here he gradually pulled away to win by almost 2 minutes from Farrell, who courtesy of a late error from Fletcher, took 2nd place by 15s. Corry took 4th 6mins down and is a name to watch for at the Australian Champs carnival in WA later this season. Adrian Day and rogainer Paul ‘Wil’ Williams completed the field.
Results can be viewed here.