Bruce Arthur took out both the middle and long distance events at this weekend’s Victorian Championships, while Natasha Key won the long distance and shared the middle distance title with Laurina Neumann.
Arthur, who has been hampered by injury this spring, returned to form with two very narrow wins. In Saturday’s middle distance he and Blair Trewin were level with two controls and 300 metres to go, but he was too fast over the final section and took the race by seven seconds, with Simon Goddard continuing his good Australian Championships form to come third. In Sunday’s long distance his margin was only one second greater, this time over Paul Liggins, with Trewin another 46 seconds back in third place. This time the long 24th leg, about two-thirds of the way through the course, was decisive; Arthur gained a minute on the other two there which proved to be critical. Another encouraging result came from Bryan Keely, whose season has been ruined by injury; his fourth place, three minutes behind, was easily the best run of his
Natasha Key has been little-sighted since her return from WMOC, but returned to the competition scene with a bang. On Saturday her race was even closer than that of the men; she and Laurina Neumann, who was coming from an impressive Australian Championships week, could not be separated in a rare first-place tie. Neumann made up four seconds between the last control and the finish, with both too fast for WOC representative Vanessa Round in third. On Sunday, Key and Neumann were again together, but this time it was on the ground, with Key catching Neumann six minutes late in the course. Round was instead the closest challenger, but once Key opened up a lead of around a minute in the first quarter of the course, it stayed stable around that mark for the remainder of the race. Neumann was able to hold third.
There were numerous interesting results in other classes. Hugh Moore impressed in easily bettering a large M60 field on both days. Rebekah Sunley and Mary Fleming went one-all in two close W16 races, while James Robertson took a close long-distance M16 race over Todd Neve and Dave Mallen. Street-O legend Tony Bird made a rare bush appearance to win the M55 middle distance. Carolyn Jackson won two good battles against Sue Neve in W50, and Kathy Liley prevailed over Libby Meeking and Ruth Goddard in a close W60 contest.
|18 October||Victorian Middle Distance Championships (SS #8)||Butterfly Gully||Results
|19 October||Victorian Long Distance Championships (SS #9)||Chewton||Results