Twenty years after winning his first Tasmanian title in the fog and rain at Espies Craig, Paul Liggins won his second Tasmanian long distance title in mild, but windy conditions at Littlechilds Creek, scene of last years Australian long distance championships. Grace Elson was the sole competitor in the women’s race after Hanny Alston withdrew, but as the old sporting truism goes, you can only beat those who turn up, and Grace joined sister Jasmine as a Tasmanian champion.
Course setter Greg Hawthorne concentrated his courses on the western side of the map, and for most competitors there was very little overlap between last years national titles and the Tasmanian championships. Thick vegetation along the creeks proved a decisive factor in the men’s race, as Ryan Smyth took the commando route in the second leg, avoiding longer, but safer options, only to be beaten by the thick cutting grass and ti-tree vegetation. He was caught by Lee Andrewartha, and was unable to shake him for the rest of the course. The 9th leg, again featuring route choice options through the green, also proved decisive for Liggins, and he was almost two minutes faster than Andrewartha, to set up a winning break that he maintained to the end of the race.
Although W21 was a race in one, Grace Elson had plenty of opposition in the M35 and M40 classes, and up until the second last control, had a lead of almost four minutes over Jon McComb, but two uncharacteristic errors by Elson allowed McComb to post the fastest time for the course by 28 seconds over Elson.
In other classes, relative newcomer to orienteering, Ian Brown, had a good win in course 3 over youth and experience, finishing ahead of Peter Kleywegt and Christine Marshall. In course 4, it was an Esk Valley Orienteering Club trifecta, with John Brock (course setter for last years Australian championships) running in M60, almost two minutes faster than Nigel Davies (M55), with promising junior Oscar Phillips (M16) third.