The first race of the 2023 Questars Winter Series took place in the South Downs from the fabulous venue of Ditcham Park School. With glorious sunshine forecast and a challenging and hilly course prepared, the stage was set for a brilliant day of adventure racing.
Ditcham Park School is perched on top of a hill and offers fantastic views out over The Solent to the Isle of Wight, the perfect spot for racers to do a bit of pre-race route planning and sun-soaking before they realised that what goes down, must come back up…
It is always interesting to see how teams plan their strategies, for those taking part in the duo events (run & bike) 83% of participants started on foot and quickly headed off in all possible directions! The course was designed to give racers plenty of options and no obvious route choice and so it transpired that no two racers took the same route, one of the best aspects of adventure racing.
It really was a course to savour with 40% of teams making the most of the adventure and weather available by coming back late, ensuring that DOMS made a proper appearance later in the week and incurring the requisite penalties as a result, though that didn’t stop many from still making it onto the podium. It just goes to show how important it is to race your own race and not give up!
At the pointy end of the results, Campbell Walsh and Julie Banton put in terrific performances to take the overall wins respectively. They have put early targets on their backs as your racers to watch out for this Winter Series and they are usually about for some chilli and a chat if you’re looking to pick up some race tips.
Time is not always on your side in an adventure race, but James Brown took home the day’s Timekeeper Award by finishing an almost perfect two seconds within the time limit after what must have been a lung-busting sprint up the final hill. At the other end, The Tomlins Moles (Ian Chapman and Andrew Hose) won the Wooden Watch Award for finishing an impressive one hour and 13 minutes late on the two-hour bike-only course!
There were a number of family groups out with us again representing with teams Pelegrines (Lewis and Archie), Slomo (Shadid and Ali), The Second Cumming (Ian and George), Fuzion Adventure Racing (Graeme and Aiden) and The Driscolls (James & Amelia) to name but a few. It’s been such a treat to see these family teams taking part, improving, as well as smiling on their glorious finish. It’s such a great way to share the adventure racing love and just spend quality time working out different strategies and having a grand day out together.
All in all, it was a brilliant day.
Run-only (2 hours)
In the run-only category, Richard Higgins (Triathlonworkx) topped the podium with 262 points just pipping Ruth Brownlee who finished with 250 points with Coastal Odyssey (Hannah Davies & Patrick Deacon) in third with 230 points.
Bike-only (2 hours)
In the bike-only category, the Escapees (Rachel Clay & Mark Henrick) put in an impressive performance with 218 points followed by The Tomlins Moles (Ian Chapman & Andrew Hose) and Mr & Mrs M (Nicola Matthews & David Matthews) who racked up an impressive combined penalty score of 182 points!
Duo Taster (Run & Bike 3 hours)
Relentless Racing (Stephen Dadswell) finished first with a great score of 324 followed by Two of a Kind (Rachel & Stephen Mitchell) with 294 points and Help We’re Lost (Rebecca Newbould, Jim Noble, Caroline Bond & Henry Forward) making the most of the course by finishing 37 minutes late and sneaking onto the podium with 244. They just pipped Fuzion Adventure Racing (Graeme & Aidan Williams) who finished with 230 points using all of Graeme’s adventure racing experience in a near-perfectly timed 2:59:40.
Duo Full (Run & Bike 5 hours)
In the Mixed Team category, The Bowsleys (Sian Davies and Matthew Bowsley) narrowly pipped Team Gill (Emma and Richard Gill) into second place with 485 points to 480 with Just For Fun (Jo Chapman and Andy Brett) rounding out the podium with 436 points.
In the Female Team category, the Mad Old Tarts (Maggie Salter and Liz Jones) picked up where they left off in the summer series by taking the win with 405 points from JPEG (Julia Robson & Eleanor Thackeray) on 394 points and Fuelled by Jelly Babies (Mo Fitzpatrick & Amy Hulley) on 338 with ET Ride Home (Ella Pyman and Tracey Freeman) narrowly missing the podium with 331 points.
In the Female Solo category, Julie Banton put in a terrific performance to finish first with a score of 452, followed by Mandy Hibberd and Isla Reynolds who tied on 390 points with Mandy finishing second by virtue of a lower overall time.
In the Open Teams category, Doctored Results (Graham King and Simon Jennison) topped the podium with 531 points followed by Blazing Ballers (Jakub Malik, Mark Boscott and Craig Scott) and Surrey Hillocks (Geoff Kirk and Mike Bailey) who were separated by a measly 5 points with 410 and 405 respectively.
In the Open Solo category, Campbell Walsh won the day with an impressive score of 640 points followed by Carl Silver (623 points) and Dan Thorby (600 points) with James Brown (595 points), hampered by a couple of early punctures, narrowly missing the podium.
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.