The 2006 SA Long Distance Championships were held on Sunday on a new map east of Adelaide near Monarto in the Adelaide Hills. The Hellenic Shooting Sports Association’s property hosted the assembly area and provided superb catering that will be hard to beat. Ngarlata Country’s (P.Hoopmann, 2005) terrain featured mostly open spur gully terrain spattered with rocky outcrops ranging from stony ground through to 3m boulders. Where the vegetation thickened with wattle in bloom, visibility was reduced to only 5 – 10 m. at a time, which challenged every competitor as they hunted for elusive boulders in the light green. The conditions for the races were near perfect with light winds, blue skies and temperatures in the low 20s. With all these conditions the SA Long Distance Championships had all competitors buzzing with anticipation for the day’s racing.
The event was to also play host to the 2006 SA/VIC challenge, with both states competing for the Palmer Trophy. Victoria was not able to field the required eight classes to successfully compete for the trophy, although they fought strongly in the classes they did fill. SA took the points competition by default and took out the trophy.
Victoria’s strongest field was apparent in the Open M21A class as Bruce Arthur (MFR) and Torgier Watne (MFR) taking the top 2 places. Simon Uppill (OH) was third, and resident SA champion, 6 ½ minutes behind the winner as a badly bruised heel slowed his performance. In the W21A class, Susanne Casanova (WA.S) took a convincing lead over sister Jenny Casanova (WA.S) to win the class. Rounding out the podium in 3rd place was Katherine Radford (TT) who’s abilities continue to shine despite a break from the sport.
The junior classes were more closely contested despite the gruelling 10.2km for the boys and 7.7km for the girls. Brett Merchant (TJ) managed a 4 ½ minute lead over Tristan Lee (TJ) and showed that strong navigation was an important aspect of the day’s race. Jason Nicolson (YA) took the third position, 4 minutes behind Tristan with a solid performance. Rebecca Hembrow’s (OH) return to the sport shone through with a 1 minute lead over friend and rival Mallory Hughes (OH), both girls showing their abilities in unfamiliar terrain. Nicole Such was convincing in her 3rd place and continues to be consistent in her efforts.