Round 3 of the SILVA National Orienteering League and final World Championship selection races are on this weekend in Tasmania. First up on Saturday morning is a sprint race on University of Tasmania’s Launceston campus. A quick recovery and short drive to Benbullen for the Middle distance race. This map was previously used for the 2009 Easter Carnival and features a mixture of open farmland, plantation and native forest with a scattering of granite boulders. Sunday’s Long distance race is on Lively’s Bog near St Helens, and with recent heavy rains the marshes could be more boggy than ever.
SILVA National Series leader Simon Uppill will have some added competition this weekend with the return of NSW’s star Julian Dent. Dent missed the last round of races due to commitments with his Swedish club Malungs, but his form shows he is the hot favourite. 2011 Easter Carnival winner Grant Bluett will miss the race after completing the tough North Face 100km Ultramarathon last weekend and leaves the Canberra Cockatoos team as depleted as Bluett’s legs. NSW Stingers are looking to extend their lead in the team competition, with the aid of Dent and Ian Meyer who is returning from an injury induced break.
In the women’s series, Kathryn Ewels holds a small lead from Victorian Nuggets teammate Jasmine Neve and SA’s Vanessa Round. Youngster Aislinn Prendergast has shown great consistency this season to hold 4th place and experienced Susanne Casanova is showing she is also in great form in 5th. The strong Victorian Nuggets team looks like they will again hold onto the NOL Series lead. The highly standard of the women’s field shows there is plenty of competition for the Australian team to compete at the World Championships in France.