The Rivette QUESTars Adventure Race Series

 

Q2 - The Quest Challenge

Results:

Full race results, kindly provided by EMIT, are available to download and view above. If you have problems opening the attachments please save them first by right clicking on them and choosing the 'save link as' option.

Photos:

Photos taken during Q2 The Quest Challenge by professional photographer Rob Howard are now available to view on the sleepmonsters website here, where you can also purchase copies of yourself in action. These photos are only available for 90 days after the event so do take a look at them before they disappear.

Some other photos taken by Quest staff on Saturday and Sunday have been put in separate albums in the Questars gallery here

Race Report:

Q2 The Quest Challenge is Quest’s new weekend adventure race. It builds upon the success of the one day Questars adventure race series. 

The first ever Q2 event which was held in the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset on 24 & 25 April attracted a great range of participants. Some of the best adventure racers in the UK competed as did novices who were taking part in their first event. The courses were designed with all comers in mind and judging by the smiles on the faces of everyone at the final Prize Giving and the feedback from teams everyone greatly enjoyed the new challenge event.

Many teams arrived on Friday evening and took advantage of the event campsite and the Quest Kitchen where hot food and drinks were available throughout the event. After a remarkably sunny and cloudless day air temperatures plummeted overnight. Saturday morning dawned early and the sun soon burnt off the white frosting over the spacious event field.

By 10am everyone had arrived and congregated in the event marquee to be welcomed and briefed on the challenges ahead in the 4 stage event. As the pre event information promised each Stage had a twist or two. Surprises could be expected.  A great variety of terrain was also promised from open heathland, forests, chalk ridges, the second largest natural harbour in the world and some wonderful coastal scenery. Teams were reminded to keep looking up from their maps to enjoy the countryside and extensive views.

In a change from the Questars format of staggered starts with Q2 all teams started together in a mass start picking up details of the first Stage called Gold Rush as they crossed the start line. By the time teams had completed an initial full circuit of the event field they had decided upon which of the many different checkpoints (CPs) to visit first. These were scattered within the forest and surrounding hills and heathland offering many different route choices. Teams departed the event field in all directions.

The map for Stage 1 (Gold Rush) showed many oil wells in the vicinity of the event base. It’s a little known fact that buried gold was also to be found nearby! This gold was uncovered (earning big bonuses) by solving some cunning challenges at various Activity Points. The sun shone brightly and temperatures rose. From a near winter scene in the early morning it was now akin to summer.

This first Stage, like all subsequent Stages, was a closely fought contest. Mixed ‘Team Boosh’ comprising Chris, Edmund and Becky took top honours gaining 335 points having uncovered two gold hoards and visited all but two of the optional CPs. They were closely followed by another Mixed team, CamRacers who had found all three pots of gold and missed just four CPs.

After a welcome break to rest and recover teams reassembled mid afternoon under the big yellow start arch for the beginning of Paddles and Saddles Stage 2 of Q2 The Quest Challenge. The Stage name gave away the change in discipline to kayaking and mountain biking. But there were still a few surprises. Big bonuses were on offer if they visited all the CPs in a set. One of each set of four CPs was on the water of Poole Harbour. The four sets of CPs were coloured red, blue, orange and green – nothing to do with the current General Election of course!

It was a great sight to see wave after wave of teams set forth on the Quest fleet of sit on top kayaks. Then to quickly transition back onto their bikes to collect the other CPs of that set on bike.  Most teams achieved at least one full set, many teams a lot more. One male solo competitor, Patrick Meldrum of ‘Adventure Sports Magazine’ managed to visit all 16 CPs and so gained all the bonuses and maximum points in 8 minutes short of three hours – quite an achievement!

It was now time for some serious refuelling. The Quest Kitchen was a busy hub of the event all the way through to the start of the third Stage called Moonlighting at 9pm. The near full moon was clearly visible through the light high cloud as teams congregated for another mass start but this time no full circuit of the field was needed before departing to more CPs. This time all the CPs were worth the same value. A big bonus for visiting them all was on offer and there were also bonuses for finishing the stage early. 

Head torches shone out across the event field as teams converged back to the floodlit yellow arch at the end of their Moonlighting third stage. Most teams had correctly completed the coded anagram at the Activity Point to uncover the word ‘Satellite’ and earn further bonuses. Marc Ebank from nearby Blandford Forum won this stage with 214 points, closely followed by two Mixed teams with 210 points each, ‘Team Boosh’ and ‘Brucey Bonus’.

There was a real buzz in the event marquee afterwards as hot and spicy tomato soup was enjoyed by teams swapping route choices and experiences of the day. It was a late night for many but a distinctly warmer one than the night before.

Sunday saw the Grand Finale of Q2 The Quest Challenge. This fourth Stage brought all the elements together – trail running, mountain biking, kayaking and a further Challenge at another Activity Point. Maps were eagerly studied just after the mass start to decide on which element to do first. It was an even split between biking and running first. 

Kayaking all the way around one of the islands of Poole Harbour was a highlight for many teams. For others it was the run around the headland of Ballard Down to Old Harry Rocks and some of the most scenic sea stacks in Britain. Others enjoyed most the varied biking on fast grassy bridleways and some technical single tracks through the heathland. The weather changed during the stage to a distinctly autumnal feel as sea fret brought mists rolling over the Purbeck Hills where the Activity Point was set high on the chalk ridge. The Challenge here revealed the location of a further hidden CP, worth a valuable 30 points, quite close to the finish point.

At the end of a multi element Stage teams had their photos taken under the Finish arch. Their faces showed a mixture of exhilaration, exhaustion and huge satisfaction at completing their own personal Quest Challenge.

A big round of applause was heard at the start of Prize Giving as all the teams congratulated each other. There were some exceptional performances from Novices and Masters alike. The overall winner Patrick Meldrum achieved 1646 points out of a possible maximum of 2000. Prize vouchers were awarded to top teams in each of six classes to spend with event partner and outdoor clothing and kit retailer, Kathmandu.

As teams departed talk was of where would the next Q2 The Quest Challenge be staged………. 

 

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