The second of the Australian overseas WOC trials was held on Saturday at the elite series races in southern Sweden. This time it was a long distance race over 15 Km and Rob Walter once again finished on top with a very well placed 8th place in elite 2, only 6 minutes down on winner who happens to be ranked 15th in Sweden. It was an extremely good result over the tough course in very rocky terrain. Reuben Smith also had a terrific race and finished only 3 minutes down and included a win on the final split into the finish! David Shepherd who has struggled to shrug off his jet lag during the week found the physical ask tough, and tired after around 2/3rds of the race but too his credit kept at it and finished a further 10 minutes down on Reuben. Results here.
Elite series was also held on Sunday as a middle distance race but this was not a WOC trial race. However, Rob Walter is going from strength to strength and led from the 4th control all the way home posting a fantastic win by 35 seconds in elite 2. Dave Shepherd bounced back strongly from the day before and finished 3rd, 48 seconds down on Rob. Reuben found the going a little tougher after backing up from the long race the day before and was approx.7 minutes down on Rob. As with the previous day, the courses were very well set and the 6 Km race had a good mixture of control picking and even route choice. Results here.
Running the Stigtomkavlen relay in the middle of Sweden, Julian Dent also showed impressive form on 2nd last leg for his club Malung and pulled up his team from 12th to 6th and recorded the best time on his split. Julian then followed up with a tough long race the day after but one or two mistakes along the way meant that he was a little down on the winner.
Finally in Finland, Troy de Haas got to experience the Nordic Spring at its worst with two races in somewhat snowy conditions which were part of the Finnish Nordic Champs trials. His results (20th) were also strong in top-class fields.
This weekend is Sweden’s biggest relay race 10-mila so follow on-line if you get the chance!