All the worry was for nothing as it turned out, as almost everything went to plan on the day. One major problem was some fool (I’m holding up my hand!)decided to hold the first event on Mothers Day! This may have had some effect on the turnout, all things considered it was good to see 16 teams lining up at the start.
The area Des had picked for the event was centered around the Burntollet river and the Loughermore forest,
with registration, start and finish at the Ervey wood carpark. The area was splattered with 24 controls of values from 10 to 40 points. The 10 pointers mainly being near the registration and the higher pointers being in the more out of reach parts of the area – like the 40 pointer on top of Dunbrock mountain (altitude 396m and at least 3 km of pretty rough forest track to get to!)
8 teams set off with a 2 hour time limit, similarily 8 teams took on the 4 hour course. The registration carpark being situated almost in the bottom left hand corner of the map (most southwestern part of the area). ment teams basically had two choices – either head north for two 40 pointers located in the muff glen, picking up some 10 pointers on the way. or heading west for the higher control values around the Loughermore forest which had few controls en route. Looking back, the two hour competitors may have been caught out a bit by the lack of controls close to the start/finish. This may explain why all 8 teams came back over the time limit. It was a hard slog back against a stiff westerly for those who had cycled
off in the direction of Loughermore forest! The area seemed to suit the 4 hour limit better as this gave the teams more flexibility and a better sense of when to ‘cut and run’ for home.
As for results, there may not have been a great turnout but it was more in the way of ‘Quality’ over ‘Quantity’ with some realy impressive performances. On the 2 hour course Gordon Moore of team Soloeffort seemed to benefit from a bit of local knowledge and headed North for the Muff glen. Gordon returned 123 minutes later having picked up an impressive 220 points which turned out to be the best haul on the 2 hour course. Team Tube and spoon were 2nd with 156 points and team M&M’s were in 3rd place with 148. Lagan valley orienteers Alan Gartside and Wilbert Hollinger had a great battle for 4th. Both teams getting 180 points but suffering from penalties caused by the strong headwind encounted on the race for home Alan pipping Wilbert by way of fewer penalties. – he was 35 seconds less late! Well done to team Dromara 1 Martin and Alan who had a great start but suffered late on trying to locate control 230 in the forest at Loughermore, which seemed to suffer some map inaccuracies in places. They and the two junior teams Pocket rockets and the extreme team scored well but suffered heavily with the penalty system.
The 4 hour competition offered more scope to the teams and as a result they suffered less from penalties.
The entries before hand had thrown up some stiff competition with some crack teams of trailblazers going head to head. Reigning Dromara CC trailquest champs Lost and Found would be hard to beat. Adventure race experts Team CCAR were in the hunt and a posse of local Bike entusiasts had the benefit of local knowledge to go with a lot of fitness and a drop of local rivalry. In the end team Dogleap reigned supreme having almost cleaned up the course in fact they could have only they forgot to visit one control! an amazing feat when you consider the controls where spread over 140 square kilometres. Adventure racers CCAR (465 points) just pipped Bobby Smyth of Helterskelter (458 points). Somewhat of a surprise was team Lost and Found coming home in 4th with 385 points. Team member (and navigator) Paul McArthur explained how they got off to a great start but suffered severly in the forest section locating some unmarked tracks in the forest and getting somewhat waylaid – much to fellow team member Julie’s bemusement! however they got their monies worth, Pauls Garmin showed they had covered 60km, although Paul said most of it was going backwards and forwards in Loughermore forest. Local team of four the spinners were in 5th and solo orienteer Billy Fyffe impressed in 6th. Next came team DIRTATB.WORDPRESS.COM two young 14 yearolds Jack and Mark who covered an impressive 48 km picking up 262 points and giving up on a 40 pointer after searching for 10 minutes for it. (I found it no problem when collecting:-)). Last but by no means least were team Soup and Muffins (so called because they have the pleasure of providing said items to wet and weary adventure racers at the excellent CCAR events). They picked up 220 points and even visited Highmoor crossroads twice in a vain attempt to locat control 215 which was rather well hidden in a ditch! They were duly awarded the 10 points for their efforts as were Helterskelter and Lost and found who had problems with this one too.
All in all a fun day was had by most if not all. The weather held out as did the organisers sanity. Des was last seen around 8 pm with a car load of controls heading for home and a good nights sleep! Thanks to all who travelled and gave up their mothers Day brownie points. Thanks also to the forest service for letting us use Loghermore forest and the N Ireland Environment agency for the use of the Ervey wood carpark. Thanks to NWOC for the use of the sport ident equipment, Thanks to sponsors Buff and Compasspoint and thanks to the Redbull girls who saved many a weary trailblazer with their fine product and also for rounding up 2 carloads of bikers trying to find the event carpark! you know who you are:-) Biggest thanks to Des for putting in all the effort and sleepless nights.
April 26th is the date for round 2 of the spring league to be held in the Killinchy, Killyleagh area. Trailquest experts Dromara CC are putting on an event the weekend before this, with the event centre being Saul near Downpatrick. There are some cracking lanes and tracks in the area and should be good fun.
So plenty of trailquesting on offer this April!