The second race of the 2023 Questars Winter Series took place from Chieveley Village Hall in Berkshire. With more mud than you could shake a candy cane at, the stage was set for a treemendous day of festive racing.
As the clock ticked towards the opening of the starting window at 9am, the village hall was abuzz with racers pining for adventure and with rain forecast for later on, it was certainly a day to get out early and make the most of the trails before rain brought with it even more mud.
Normally, around 80% of our racers start on foot but this time we had 58% starting out on bike, likely a sensible decision with rain forecast for later on and with the trails only ever going to become muddier. I am definitely a run first kind of guy but I think on the day I would have opted to bike first too.
It’s always interesting to see route choice and where racers go, the warren of trails near the event base meant there was lots of route choice with no two racers taking the same route and all of the top five in the full category headed in different directions for first checkpoint choices.
Overall, racers picked up 1.89 points per minute whilst running and 1.47 points per minute whilst biking with the added mud probably making it slightly more difficult to collect points on the bike. The aim is always to try and make it an equal contest between run and bike which means I will have to try a bit harder next time!
Mark Bryant was the only person to complete either of the courses, collecting all run checkpoints for a score of 360 points in 2 hours 30 minutes whilst Dan Thorby had the highest score on the bike with 425 points in 2 hours 51 minutes.
The day’s spirit of adventure award has to go to Harry Gow. We had a call from Harry at around 1pm letting us know that his chain had snapped and he might be a little bit late back. He was calling from CP3 on the Rigdeway which was pretty much as far away as possible from the finish, a good 15km away. Having been picked up, Harry finally made it back at around 3pm! Harry was going really well up until that point and was probably on for a top five finish. Adventure racing can be a cruel mistress at times.
Jon Heissig won the day’s Timekeeper Award finishing a near perfectly timed three seconds within the time limit, at the other end there were a number of teams who managed to amass an impressive amount of penalties with nearly 1,400 collectively picked up on the day! Interestingly, all those who picked up penalties in the full category finished on the bike.
Helen Murphy and Tony Garton finished an impressive one hour five minutes late on their two-hour run course. There is a bit of mitigating circumstance here, Helen is a good friend of ours and had flown in from Australia the day before for a family holiday. She thought it was a three-hour run event and I ‘forgot’ to correct her.
Once again there were a number of family groups out with us with the likes of teams Slomo (Shadid and Ali) and Fuzion Adventure Racing (Graeme and Aiden) returning for more and teams Sierens (Sarah, Neil, Freys and Holly) The Gs (Will & Sophie), Team C (Jake and Archie) and Whitchurch Warriors (Victoria and Eddie) racing with us for the first time. Graeme and Aiden won the taster category improving their score from last time by an incredible 65%!
All in all it was a great day of racing with the weather certainly making it one to remember!
Run-only (2 hours)
In the run-only category, Oscar Sly had an incredible run topping the podium with 323 points in 2 hours 5 minutes ahead of Ruby’s Rockets (Mark and Sarah Lowden) 289 points and Ruth Brownlee in third with 250 points.
Bike-only (2 hours)
In the bike-only category, LiteOption/Torq (Ian Cartwright) put in an impressive performance to win with 284 points followed by If only they talked less (Sarah King & Penny White) with 162 points and Team C (Jake & Archie Crowhurst) with 109 points.
Duo Taster (Run & Bike 3 hours)
In the female category, Wildcard 3 (Bex Smith, Sarah Dennness, Sarah Gillan) finished first with 341 points ahead of Julia Kingsbury with 305 points.
In the mixed category, The Gs (Will & Sophie Garrett) topped the podium with 320 points ahead of Soarmill Union (Kevin Gladwin, Tiffany Irvine) with 235 points and Team Sierens (Sarah, Neil, Freys & Holly Sierens) making up the podium with 205 points.
In the Open Category, Fuzion Adventure Racing Team (Graeme & Aidan Williams) finished first with a brilliant score of 379 with Tim Blair (344 points) in second and Dave Sykes in third (261 points).
Duo Full (Run & Bike 5 hours)
In the Mixed Team category, Team Mongaru (Nick Gracie & Katherina Pedersen) won with an impressive 602 points ahead of Not So Sure This Is North (Laura & Alex Alcock) and Team Dasey (Amy Hulley & John Dasey) who both finished on 428 points being separated by Laura & Alex finishing in a faster time. Slow but Sure (Jim Weatherston, Elaine Waugh & Ciaran Askin) and the Flying Froggies (Delphine Polidori & Christophe Gaillac) just missed out on the podium with 422 and 420 points respectively.
In the Female Team category, the Mad Old Tarts (Maggie Salter and Liz Jones) continued their impressive run of victories stretching back to the summer series by taking the win with 480 points from E T Ride Home (Ella Pyman & Tracey Freeman) on 436 points and K-pop (Kate Higham, Katie Belchamber & Katie Moore) on 360.
In the Female Solo category, Helen Chapman put in a terrific performance to finish first with a score of 635, followed by Jennifer Hunt on 570 points and Mandy Hibberd on 530.
In the Open Teams category, Bounce (David Lain & Iain Morris) topped the podium with 614 points followed by Need for Speed (Andrew & Alex Cawthorne) with 560 points and Sloe Gin (George Oram & James Antonious) with 530 points.
In the Open Solo category, Campbell Walsh once again won the day with an impressive score of 766 points just pipping Dan Thorby who was just 6 points behind on 760 points with James Brown (693 points) making up the podium.
The fight for the overall series victory is really hotting up and it will be interesting to see how this plays out over the remaining events.
The 2023 Questars Series
The second race of our Winter Series takes place on Sunday 10 December from Chieveley in Berkshire with four one-day races making up our 2023 Winter Series Championship. Anyone entering into any of our adventure races will be automatically entered into our Series Championship with each individual’s top three one-day results counting towards the final Championship position. Full details can be found on our Series Championship page, a summary of current standings can be found here.