The third race of the 2023 Questars Winter Series took place from the wonderful setting of Pipers Corner School in the Chilterns. With the school on top of a hill it promised for some fast starts and a great opportunity to empty every ounce of energy left in tired legs at the end of the day.
The course was a challenging one with lots of hills and some fantastic wooded areas for racers to hone their navigation skills and practice getting unlost. With no rain forecast and the recent dry weather having cleared a lot of the mud from the course (bar a couple of impressive exceptions…) it was set up to be a terrific day of adventure racing.
Overall, there was a pretty even split of points between the disciplines with racers picking up an average of 1.51 points per minute whilst biking and 1.42 points per minute whist running. Ian Cartwright picked up an incredible 2.8 points per minute on the bike-only course for the best points per minute on the day. Dan Thorby was the only racer to complete the full bike course in 2:43 and Fieke Blackwell, Team Laing (Jenny and Stewart), Campbell Walsh and Tom Davies all completed the run course with Campbell quickest in a time of 2:26.
Mark Montgomery won the day’s Timekeeper Award finishing a near-perfect twenty seven seconds within the time limit after what must have been a lung-busting final uphill finish with Adam Hall and Team Sam and Debbie (Sam Stretch and Debbie Morton) sharing the Wooden Watch Award for finishing an impressive 58 minutes late on their two-hour run-only and bike only courses.
The uphill finish no doubt chucked a spanner in the works of a number of teams’ planning with 40% of racers enjoying the course that little bit too much, coming back late and collectively picking up 1645 penalty points as a result – a winter record!
All in all, it was another brilliant day out.
Run-only (2 hours)
In the run-only category, Team M&M (Amanda & Mike Yorwerth) had a brilliant run topping the podium with 259 points in 1 hour 55 minutes ahead of Simon Jones 223 points and Team Blockheads (Sophie and Richard Squire) in third with 203 points, just pipping Team Six Legs (Rheya Brigden, Cai Brigden and Barnaby Jagger) who finished just two points off the podium!
Bike-only (2 hours)
In the bike-only category, LiteOption/Torq (Ian Cartwright) once again topped the podium with a brilliant ride to win with 336 points in 2 hours and 1 minute followed by MTB Allstars (Paul King and Dan White) with 198 points and Ralphing Ralphs (Al O’Dornan and Tim Yates) with 161 points.
Duo Taster (Run & Bike 3 hours)
In the taster category, Julia Kingsbury put in the performance of the day, finishing with the highest score overall with a brilliant 318 points in a time of 3 hours and 53 seconds.
In the mixed category, Can we do it again? (Will & Sophie Garrett) did indeed do it again! They topped the podium with 274 points ahead of Ben & Jerry (Vanessa Fisher, Ben Whitmarsh) with 214 points and Team Stinkies (Jacobus & Carolyn Le Roux) making up the podium with 121 points.
In the Open Category, Wrighty Ho (Michael Wright) finished first with a great score of 310 with Pennard Pilgrims (Leo Wouters, Mark Lees & Roy Wouters) in second place with 293 points and Team Joanna Grobel (Edmund & George Grobel) in third with 285 points, just pipping Harry Gow who finished an agonising one point further back in fourth place.
Duo Full (Run & Bike 5 hours)
In the Mixed Team category, Team Gill (Emma & Richard Gill) won with an impressive 570 points ahead of Team Laing (Jenny & Stewart Laing) and The Bowsleys (Sian Davies and Matthew Bowsley) finishing in second and third with 436 and 415 points respectively.
In the Female Team category, I am running out of superlatives for the Mad Old Tarts (Maggie Salter and Liz Jones) who continued their incredible run of victories stretching back to the summer series by taking the win with 428 points from E T Ride Home (Ella Pyman & Tracey Freeman) who closed the gap from the last race to finish second on 410 points and Waspy’s Wonders (Isla Reynolds & Nina Ingham) on 373 points.
In the Female Solo category, Helen Chapman and Jennifer Hunt continued their battle with Helen coming out on top with a terrific 565 points followed by Jennifer on 527 points and Fieke Blackwell finishing in third in her first ever adventure race on 475 points.
In the Open Teams category, Team Honey Badgers (James Leech, Daniel Collins) topped the podium with 640 points followed by Shabby Velo (Mike Hunting & Nikos Markris) with 561 points and Truffle Hunters (Damon de Boor & Andrew Woodhouse) with 545 points.
The Open Solo category was decided by penalties and rewards. Tom Davies won the day with a brilliant 769 points in 4 hours 55 minutes with Campbell Walsh collecting the same number of points but finishing 4 minutes (and therefore 4 points) back on 765 points. Dan Thorby picked up the most points on the day with 775 out of a possible 800 on offer but lost 50 points by being back late, pushing him down into third overall.
The 2023/24 Questars Winter Series
The final race of our Winter Series takes place on Saturday 10 February from Broadway in the Cotswolds. 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.