event :: Takas and Kapa

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Go orienteering in Lithuania it's the best in the world is the tagline of one of Britain's most (in)famous orienteers. This year like many before it Lithuania offered the world's orienteers the Takas 5 day in 2005 based on the Curonian Spit, the location of the World Masters in 2001.

Lithuania's close neighbours Latvia also helped out in the festivities organising the Kapa 3 days in Liepeja 2 hours north on the previous weekend.

All eight races were held on forested sand dune areas and with excellent weather the racing was top class.

Firstly the Latvian races where a large British Contingent entered buoyed by a number from the University of Warwick, Scottish O Tours and some travelling hobos.

On the men's elite course Graham Gristwood was top Brit managing to find wood stocks in the marshes quicker than everyone else. Graham finished eight overall two places outside the lavish prizes (ninth on day one, seventh on day two's world ranking middle race and eleventh on the final day). Other Brits mixing it up on the elite were Dave Godfree 21st overall (21st, 24th, 23rd) Neil Marston 33rd overall (42nd, 27th, 34th), Murray Strain (24th, 34th,mp) Ian Nixon (33rd, 33rd,mp) Ed Kelleher (45th, 39th,mp) Ed Nicholas (mp, 42nd,mp).

Martin Sirmais of Latvia was the overall winner on the elite course beating Henrikas Pauas by four minutes

In the womens elite none of the British womenfolk wanted to make the trip over so it remained a Baltic battle for the top spots. Aija Skrastiņa of Briksnis was first; Jolanta Razaitiene of Medeina OK was second and GBR crowd favourite Indre Valaite of Azuolas was third despite the encouragement of the British contingent for her to win.

In H65 Britain tasted some glory in the form of legendary Ivor Noot of EPOC who finished third allowing him to make several additions to his t shirt collection.

Other results over the three days included on H21L Pete Huzan SLOW 42nd and Paul Nixon SLOW in 44th place. In H35 there was a right old battle which spilled out into the five days between Paul Caban (29th) and Ken Daly (30th). There were some good results in H50 Don McKerrow of SLOW in 15th and in H55 where Mike Hampton of OD was 8th.

Finally Gordon Ross of DEVYNI OK achieved what many thought was impossible and was 52nd in H45.

Also interestingly the event held an open 100kg class where competitors all had to be above 100kg in weight. Rumours of the British elite contingent going on a fast food binge to get some glory next year are as yet unfounded.

Next the bandwagon moved onto Lithuania after a couple of days of rest and recuperation in Palanga, Lithuanias party town. The next five days (apart from day one) were all held on the spit on very fast sand dune terrain.

The number of Brits in Lithuania had decreased due to Graham wanting to go home so the elite class was once again represented by the stalwarts of the trip messers Nixon (middle), Godfree, Marston, Strain and new entrant Carter. This was sure to strike fear into the local yokels hearts then again probably not.

After the first day it became pretty clear that this was to be a fast week with classic races being won in 50 mins. The first day saw Rocky being piped by Godders by 5 seconds for the top Brit on day one with Ian Nixon a further minute behind. Day two arrived with a world ranking middle distance race with all the Brits (except Carter) having solid runs to cement their positions in the top 25. Day three saw some action for the speed merchants with a sprint race around the Lithuanian Museum of the Sea. Cue controls in ships, quaint fishing villages, groynes, sea defences and the like. The top 14 on the elite courses were given heavy weigh t-shirts from the event sponsor to wear. Due to the 30 degree heat many underwent some clothes show alterations. Top Brit was Murray Strain who was picking people off as he climbed the rankings. Second Brit by 19 seconds was the enigma that was Tony Carter with Godders in third.

With the final days approaching Strains tactics changed as he moved in his quest for some glory and assorted expensive nick nacks. However some mistakes in the vicious thick green cost Murray some time pushing him back in the standings. Dave Godfree was top Brit in 21st place. Unfortunately we lost Neil Marston, who had been running well all week, to an ankle injury.

The final day involved a chasing start with Muzza bringing out a can of badness to chase down the boys in front of him which he duly did pulling himself up some places. Unfortunately he was denied a top ten position by 8 seconds. Next through were Dave Godfree in 16th place and Ian Nixon in 17th. Tony Carter could only manage 47th place.

The elite competiton was won by Dmitriy Mikhalkin of OK Mayak Henrikas Pauas of Dainava was second with Liutauras Bilevičius of OK Ąuolas was third

Other British results included a fantastic podium position for Mike Hampton of OD who was third on H55. Ivor Noot (H60) was also challenging the podium after four days but had to leave early to catch his flight back to Britain. John Evans of Deeside Trogs was the pick of the bunch winning H65 Tim Street was 12th on H16A.

In H35 the battle continued with the two Interlopers once again drawn in combat like a pair of fighting cocks. This time revenge was sweet for Ken Daly who managed to beat Paul Caban by ten minutes.

In the womens elite Diana Vosyliūtė was the overall winner with Indre Valaite fourth overall. Catherine Hughes was seventh on D35. Carol Evans of Deeside Trogs in third place on D60 took another GBR podium position.

Footnote:

Im off to join Tractor OK with all my farmer boy mates. go orienteering in Lithuania its a lot better than average. This is also the start of an appeal. Next years JWOC is in Lithuania and the five days is being used as the spectator races. The kids need your support. I dont care whether youre big, small, fast, slow, bat for the other side get out there pencil next years date in your diary now.

Results can be found here: Lithuanian Five days.

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