Gorse (ulex europaeus) is, according to the Australian Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, a weed of national significance. Others might consider different weeds to be more significant, but for competitors at the Tasmanian long distance championships at Glen Stuart in the northern midlands on Sunday, it was u. europaeus, or more precisely, how to avoid it, that was the focus of their attention. It wasn’t that the gorse was inaccurately mapped, it’s just that the promise of a short-cut has a seductive appeal, and many have found that getting into the centre of a patch of gorse is often a lot easier than getting out.
Ryan Smyth successfully defended the title he won at Font Hill last year, with a 7 second winning margin over second-placed Paul Liggins with Louis Elson third. In W21, Jess Davis won her first senior state title ahead of Emma Warren and Jess Fuller-Smith.
Oscar Phillips won the under 20 Tasmanian cross-country title in August, and he followed that up with a decisive win in M20, ahead of Callum Fagg and Patrick Watts. The M20 course shared the first seven controls with the M21 course, and Oscar was in fact marginally ahead of Ryan when they parted company. In W20, Sarah Buckerfield was a clear winner ahead of Brea Pearce and Claire Butler.
After competing in Europe over the northern summer, Bert Elson might have fancied his chances in M55, but Nigel Davies bounced back from a rare local defeat at the recent Tasmanian badge event to retain his title, while Christine Brown (W45), and Barbara Tassell (W55) successfully readjusted to local conditions to win their classes.