Top End’s Lachlan Hallett and Victorian Blair Trewin split the honours over the NT Championships weekend, held on the rocky terrain of Manton Dam and Coomalie Creek south of Darwin. Hallett won the middle distance race by two minutes from Trewin, but Trewin reversed the result the next day, despite losing half a shoe in mid-course.
Susanne Casanova (NT) was a comfortable winner in W21 on both days of the weekend, with Kate Radford (NT) her closest challenger.
The Long distance race featured a myriad of WW2 relics: vehicle wrecks, gun fortifications, paved building and tent site bases and ‘long drop’ toilet sites, remaining from the occupation of the area by over 1500 military personnel during WW2. The atmosphere was completed for competitors with frequent flyovers during the event.
A highlight for many was the chance to ride in one of the restored WW2 aircraft before or after their run. As landowner Richard Luxton declared, “A live airfield should have planes in it”, and there were plenty! As the drive into the assembly area crossed the heritage Coomalie airstrip this led to the unusual situation where incoming traffic had to “stop and look for planes” before proceeding.
There was also a Sprint Event at Charles Darwin University on Friday evening, finishing with a sprint up the beach at the adjacent Dripstone cliffs in time for a spectacular Top End sunset. All of the three weekend winners were missing (Trewin due to a delayed arrival and the others through organising), and the open classes were taken out by Tyson Hillyard (SA) and Ann-Cathrin Degn (Vic).
Outside the open classes, probably the best race was in M17-20, which featured two of Australia’s better M16s, local Kelly Bertei and ACT’s Oliver Poland, along with Oliver’s older brother Luke. The three were separated by just four minutes in the long race, with Oliver prevailing over Kelly. In the Sprint all 3 boys had faster times than the senior men on the same course.
All states and territories as well as New Zealand were represented over the weekend, there were no snake bites or crocodile attacks, and all survived the beautiful Top End weather.