The Rivette QUESTars Adventure Race Series

Dorset Adventure Race

 

Race Report

The 2016 Questars adventure race series kicked off in Purbeck on Saturday 19 March under settled but overcast conditions. It was good weather for racing; not wet or windy, and not too hot though it was a little chilly for the marshals who had to keep moving to stay warm.

With the trail running and kayaking starting and finishing at a remote transition point, everyone set off from the event base on bikes. There was some easy riding along roads and forest tracks to reach the mountain bike checkpoints closest to the event base, which served as a nice gentle introduction to the more strenuous and challenging riding along and beyond the Purbeck ridge to the furthest bike checkpoints.

Despite the preceding week being largely dry, this settled spell came a little too late for the ground which remained quite wet, muddy and cut up in places as a cumulative effect of all the rain that had fallen over the winter. Unrideable sections of bridleway were marked as such on the course map so these could be avoided and alternative routes sought. Participants were also advised to stick to the hill tops, favour bridleways that follow vehicle tracks (over those that don’t) and use roads where possible as although not always the most direct route between checkpoints, they were often the quickest by bike!

Ten teams managed to visit all the mountain bike checkpoints (425 pts); five of them were in the Duo race (no kayaking) and two were ladies teams. In doing so they each cycled a minimum of 43.2 km with 680 m of ascent. The overall race winner was one of them recording an impressive sub 2 hr 20 mins time for this.

The kayaking took place on the tidal stretch of the River Frome with the easternmost kayak checkpoint at the mouth of the estuary where the river enters Poole Harbour. Low tide was at 1500 hrs, so for most teams the tide was falling. And although the tidal range was small at just less than 80 cm (a neap tide), the flow was still considerable when the tide went out – the high ground water conditions and hence volume of water coming down the river may have had something to do with this!

The men’s pair of Daniel Murphy & Joe Selby set the fastest time of the day for clearing the kayak course. They paddled the 6.8 km round circuit in a superb time of 53:32, which was almost four minutes quicker than anyone else though they did kayak first and so had the benefit of feeling fresh. Barney Pollock & Dan Howe were the fastest Novice team clocking a time of 57:38. In total 25 teams visited all the kayak checkpoints within the 70 minute time limit, each scoring 175 pts – the maximum for the kayaking.   

The trail run took participants out to and around the idyllic village of Corfe Castle, above which stands the 1000-year-old fortifications that share the same name. It was a big committing trail run course but those participants that made it to the furthest run checkpoints were rewarded with spectacular views of the royal castle from all sides as they circumnavigated the ruins. And the running was not made any easier by the fact many of the paths were soft and squelchy underfoot.

Six teams covered the minimum 25.8 km with 400 m of ascent required to visit all run checkpoints, collecting the maximum 400 pts each for the trail run. Adam Jackson set the fastest time of the day, clearing the trail run in under 2 hrs 30 mins.

All participants returned to the event base on bikes to finish, and with penalties for exceeding the time limit the pressure was on not to be late back. Prizes from event partners Muc-Off, Clif Bar, MapDec, BCH Camping & Stique were handed out at the prize giving to the winners in each class.

The top three were all solo men, with the highest score of 930 pts set by Tom Davies’ (Endurancelife) - the overall race winner. Adam Jackson’s score of 900 pts was good enough to secure second from Rob Smart - the top veteran on 885 pts in third place. Daniel Murphy & Joe Selby came first in the men’s team class with 850 pts whilst Carol Yarrow’s score of 775 pts saw her finish clear of the other teams in the ladies class. It was close at the top of the mixed class with just 20 pts separating the top three teams. Highest scorers were Anna-Marie Watson & Ben Psailia with 740 pts on their Questars debut.

The 5 hour novice race was won by Steven Delvin, James Mole, Alan Scott & Paul Fairclough. With 675 pts this team of four finished well ahead of their nearest rival - and the winners of the novice mixed team class - Paul & Gabby Ross who scored 635 pts. Ruth Leonard Williams & Liz Tapper score of 590 pts saw them claim the top spot in the novice ladies class.

Meanwhile there was nothing in it between the top two in the Duo race (no kayaking). Adam Marcinowicz (Tri-Adventure) and Richard Wilkes (East Essex Tri / HAVOC) both finished on 745 pts. After 5 hrs 5 mins of running and cycling Adam finished just 37 seconds ahead of Richard to take the win! Well done to everyone that took part, see the full race results.

The next race in the 2016 Questars Adventure Race Series takes place on Saturday 14 May in the Cotswolds. Like all Questars adventure races, it is suitable for both novice and experienced teams of 1, 2, 3 or 4 people. Places are going quickly - enter now before it’s too late!

 

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