The annual Easter 3 Day carnival began in Launceston today with the Elite Prologue followed by the Family Relays and Public Prologue. Tasmania produced a perfect day of warmth and sunshine that was appreciated by the interstate visitors. Competitors reported that technical racing was the feature of the day.
The Elite Prologue had an interesting start draw with 4 athletes starting at the same time. This was only possible due to the multi-looping course with 3 pivot controls and plenty of spectator involvement. The terrain was fast open Eucalypt forest with lots of horse jumps, including one water feature.
Kathryn Ewels took the lead in the womens competition with a strong victory over Shannon Jones and Hanny Allston. Ewels takes a handy one minute seven second margin over Allstion into the second day.
Julian Dent headed a familiar leader board in front of Simon Uppill with local Taswegian Ryan Smyth shaking off injuries trouble to comein third. Troy de Haas would have been in second place had it not been for a mispunch. Several big names were disqualified in the complex array of controls, including De Haas and Kerrin Rattray.
The prologue was the first selection trial for the JWOC team to compete in the Italian Dolomites in July. Youngster Kurt Neumann took the opening win in M17-20E with a time that would have just placed him outside of the top 10 in the eilites. Max Neve and Josh Blatchford dead heated in second place. One of the bigger names to slip up was Leon Keely who ended up three minutes down in 14th position. Belinda Lawford dominated the junior womens beating Ainslinn Prendergast by 45 seconds and Bridget Anderson by over a minute. Lawford’s time was enough to give her fifth time in the women’s elite.
The Lawford family had a dominant day with Geoff, Jenny and Ian joining Belinda in the winner’s circle. They took out the Family Relays with the Uppills in second, giving Simon a double for the day. Tasmania’s Phillips and Andrewartha families were 3rd and 4th, Newcastle’s Blatchfords in 5th and another local family with years of orineteering tradition, the Elsons, were in 6th.