soc :: Scottish Champs

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This years Scottish Individual and Relay championships were held at Tentsmuir Forest near St. Andrews, with the individual race acting as the final counter in the UK Cup series, and the relay as the 3rd instalment of the UK Relay League.

There were a number of disgruntled people at the finish of the individual day, mostly complaining about bingo controls, poor planning and a poor map. The elite course appeared to have been armchair planned and controlled, with a number of large omissions from the map, controls misplaced, and unfair controls in areas where the map wasnt quite right. The shorter courses were better, although there were still a large number of bingo controls and a couple of misplaced controls.

Even so, the course was the same for everyone, and Graham Gristwood (OD) emerged as the winner of M21E, and also taking the UK Cup series in his first year as a senior. Neil Conway (AIRE) coped very well with the course, losing far less time than others and gaining 2nd place, his best in the UK Cup this year, as did Neil Northrop (SHUOC) with 3rd place. In the womens elite race, Janine Hensman won (FVO) her first ever UK Cup race despite losing time early on. Helen Winskill (SYO) had to settle for 2nd place after some large time losses, but this was enough to see her win the UK Cup series. In 3rd place was Hazel Dean (FVO) who claimed the title of Scottish Native Champion.

Elsewhere there were some large victories in the junior classes, with George Stevens (AIRE) winning M14 by 5 minutes, Calum Coombs (MAROC) on M16 won by a similar amount, Kyle Heron (FVO) beat Douglas Tullie (RR) on M18 by 4 minutes, and Daniel Halliday (OD) was a massive 14 minutes in front of 2nd placed Duncan Coombs (MAROC). Mhairi Mackenzie (EUOC) ran well in her first race of the year following a lengthy injury to win W20, and Jessica Halliday (OD) won W18 by nearly 10 minutes.

In the veterans classes Steve Nicholson (FVO) showed he is running well, winning M35 by 5 minutes, although Charlie Adams (SYO) was only 1 minute behind him running the M40 class, winning that by almost 9 minutes. The closest class of the day was M45, where Tim Tett (SYO) beat Martin Dean (FVO) by just 8 seconds, though Martin did take home the Scottish title. There were other impressive performances from Peter Haines (AIRE) in M50, Mike Pearson (WCOC) in M60 and Christine Patterson (CLYDE) in W45.

The relay day ended up being a far better spectacle, with the whole organising team showing how great a relay can be. A format not previously used at a major relay was put in place, and made for a class event. The mens and womens open classes were there as usual, as were the 2 junior classes, but everyone else was involved in a handicap system dependant upon your age. Those teams with the greater handicap were given longer courses, in an attempt to have get all winning teams finishing at the same time. There were prizes for the winners of each of the 5 handicap classes, but also a bonus prize, and a trophy, for the first handicap team back on any class. This worked out extremely well with the first 3 teams back having being on different handicaps, and all within 30 seconds of each other. The overall winners were AIRE running the 6+ handicap, with Ian Nixon, Ben Stevens and George Stevens, who took home the handicap trophy. Just losing out were GRAMP in the 9+ handicap with Evgueni Chepelin, Robert Hickling and Robert Daly, who finished just 9 seconds behind the Yorkshire team. In 3rd place was MAROC on the 12+ handicap with Roger Coombs, Hilary Quick and Sarah Dunn just a further 16 seconds back. Winners of the other handicap classes were DVO on the 15+ handicap with Mike Godfree, Liz Godfree and Alex Ross, who were still just 1 minute off the pace, whilst winners of the 18+ handicap were KFO with Robert Philp, Heather Smithard and Phil Smithard.

In the mens open class, the race was thrown open with none of the top teams having their strongest teams available, and in the end there was just over a minute separating the top 3 teams. On 1st leg, Rob Baker of SYO and Mark Nixon of EUOC built up a minute lead, but Mark lost time in the green, which allowed Andy Middleditch of SHUOC and Duncan Archer (CLOK) catch back up. Baker lost time on a short leg in the fine detail, where Archer caught him up, and the 2 of them raced round to finish a minute ahead of Middleditch. The Edinburgh Uni team were just 30 seconds further back, and after this runners were coming in all the time.
On 2nd leg, SYOs Mike Sprot led for the first half the course with Robert Campbell of CLOK in tow, but SHUOCs Chris Sellens and EUOCs Murray Strain were on form, and caught the leading pair. Unfortunatley, Strain lost time just before the spectator control which allowed the other teams to get past.
Heading out on the last leg, Neil Northrop for SHUOC went off just 4 seconds in fron of SYOs Al Buckley, with Paul Thornton of CLOK a further 19 seconds back, then Stefan Andersson of EUOC a minute further back. Buckley soon caught Northrop, and having different gaffles was never caught again, and despite losing time just before the spectator control, Buckley took victory for SYO. Coming through the spectator control, EUOC were just metres behind SHUOC, but Norhrop hadnt heard his SI card register at the control, so went back to re-punch, and this unfortunately meant that he never got back in front, Andersson powering through the final section of the course t o put EUOC 2nd, just 42 seconds down on SYO and 23 seconds ahead of SHUOC. Fastest time of the day went to ODs Graham Gristwood on last leg, who having started in 10th place raced through the field to bring his team home in 4th place.

In the womens open UK Relay League leaders SYO were severely depleted, with Helen Winskill being the only runner from their BOC and JK teams running. After the first leg, it was ODs Cath Wilson who opened up a sizeable gap at the front, but 2 mistakes allowed Jennifer Gull of FK Friskus Varberg (Norway) and Karen Heppenstall of CLOK to catch up, and it was Heppenstall who came home first with a 16 second advantage over the Swedish team and OD. A storming 2nd leg from Pippa Whitehouse meant that CLOKs advantage grew to over 4 minutes, but it was now FVO who were in 2nd place after Hazel Dean had overtaken Friskus and OD. On 3rd leg Hannah Wooton extended CLOKs lead ever so slightly, with Janine Hensman bringing home her Forth Valley club into 2nd place just over 4 minutes behind, with the young Friskus Varberg team in 3rd a couple of minutes further back. Fastest leg of the day came from SYOs Helen Winskill who was 2 and a half minutes quicker than anyone else, but this still wasnt enough for the Yorkshire team who finished 8th out of 8!

Full results for individual and relayhere

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