The Rivette QUESTars Adventure Race Series

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Q2 - The Quest Challenge

 

Race 6 of the 2012 Questars Adventure Race Series

Results:

A complete set of results for this two day adventure race are attached to the top of this page where you can download and view all the individual stage results as well as the cumulative scores and positions after each stage.

The 2012 Questars adventure race series leaderboard has been updated with the scores from this race and is attached above. Download a copy of the final 2012 series leaderboard here.

Photos:

Photos of participants taking part in this two-day adventure race are now available to look at in the Questars gallery.

Do take a look at these photos to see if you were caught in action during the race and to see what other participants got up to.

Race Report:

The sun shone in the South Downs for the sixth and final event in the 2012 Questars Adventure Race Series. Nestled in the heart of the South Downs in East Sussex, the event base provided a great place from which to access the Downs both to the east and to the west. The good weather really showed the area at its best and how spectacular the countryside is in this part of the UK.

This two-day adventure race called Q2 – The Quest Challenge consisted of 3 separate stages, with time to rest and recover in between. Participants collected their waterproof map for the first stage at registration. The map had all the checkpoints (and a few more) marked on so people could begin to plan possible routes. But the checkpoint values were not issued until the start, so participants had to be ready to change their plans once they discovered which checkpoints were dummies.

Stage 1 began on Saturday morning soon after the race briefing. All participants had up to a maximum of six hours to visit as many run, bike and kayak checkpoints as possible. But Novices were advised to finish early, take the bonus points available for doing so, and conserve their energy for the following stages.

Everyone left the event base on bikes and visited mountain bike checkpoints on the way to the transition point at Seven Sisters Canoe Club, from where the running and kayaking took place. There were two parts to the running; an orienteering section in Seven Sisters Country Park and a trail run along the coast over the Seven Sisters themselves. Participants didn’t have to do both, but those that did could combine the two and visit some orienteering checkpoints before, and others after, doing the trail run.

The orienteering checkpoints were marked on a different sort of map which was handed out at the start of the run. With the clock ticking it was tempting for people to make up a route as they went along. However the orienteering map didn’t have any contours on it and the hilly terrain meant the shortest route between checkpoints wasn’t necessarily the best, as some participants soon discovered.

The kayaking was on the Cuckmere meanders; a lovely isolated body of water some 2km long which is home to many birds and wildlife. Due to limitations imposed by the stretch of water, participants had to visit the kayak checkpoints in either ascending or descending order if they wanted maximum points. The checkpoints were positioned such that anyone visiting them all would have to go back and forth a number of times, kayaking a total distance of 7.5 km in the process. Those who chose not to visit them all had to think carefully about which kayak checkpoint or checkpoints to drop. If they got it wrong, they could end up kayaking significantly further than they needed to for no extra points.

Having finished running and kayaking, participants were then back on the bikes to visit more mountain bike checkpoints before returning to the finish line back at the event base. It was a big biking course with checkpoints spread over a wide area; the furthest being located near the coast close to Beachy Head. Those that didn’t know the area well were surprised at just how hilly it was. And as if the hills didn’t make it tough enough, recent rain had made the bare chalk tracks very slippery and treacherous in places, whilst the muddy tracks were sticky and hard going. It soon became clear just how muddy it was out there as participants returned to cross the finish line with mud splattered from head to toe. However, the longest queue was not for the showers but for a hose which participants used to remove the worst of the mud from their bikes.

Tom Davies was the only person to visit every single checkpoint. He cleared stage 1 in just over five and three quarter hours to earn 953 points, 21 more points than Kris Smith, his nearest rival, who visited all but one of the mountain bike checkpoints.

After a break of several hours and with darkness descending, everyone assembled under the big yellow start arch for the beginning of stage 2. During this night running stage, participants had up to two hours in which to visit as many checkpoints as possible, but again there were extra points available for finishing early. The checkpoints were grouped into colour coded sets and bonus points could be earned by visiting all the checkpoints in a particular coloured set.

Maps were only given to participants as they started so again they had to decide quickly on a route and a plan. There were a number of checkpoints within easy reach of the event base and over half the checkpoints could be walked to within the time limit so participants were encouraged to give it a go no matter how tired they were still feeling. And there was also the option of earning points by solving a couple of puzzles for those who wanted a break from the physical side of things.

The furthest checkpoints took participants up onto the Downs where, under clear skies, the lights of Seaford and Newhaven could be clearly seen in the distance. Checkpoint 50 was on its own, separate from the other checkpoints. It was worth significantly more points than any of the other checkpoints as to visit it was quite committing and there was no short cut back. Tom Davies decided it wasn’t worth going to and finished early instead, earning him 275 points. However, several other people did make it to checkpoint 50 including Kris Smith and the mixed pair of Sophie Moore & Ed Clifford, who were the only people to clear the stage 2. Kris did so six minutes quicker than Sophie & Ed in 1:47:08 to be the top scorer with 302 points. This score was good enough for Kris to take the overall lead after two stages with a total of 1234 points, just six points more than Tom Davies in second place.

And so it all came down to the third and final stage on Sunday morning. Participants could choose whether to run or bike first and how long to spend on each discipline. In order to give maximum flexibility, participants had to take a compulsory one hour break at some point during the stage. Some took their break at the beginning and used the time to plan their route whilst the majority took their break when they transitioned between the running and the mountain biking, giving them a chance to rest and refuel in between the two disciplines.

The Masters set off first as they had an hour longer for stage 3 than Novice participants. The mountain biking was both shorter and easier going than the previous day for with the right route choice it was possible to cycle along the Downs rather than going up and down across them. In comparison the trail run was a big course where particular attention to the contours on the map paid dividend. Despite this, a few people did visit all the trail run checkpoints and others visited all the mountain bike checkpoints but no one managed to do both.

Despite struggling with a knee injury and finishing the trail run with a stick to help him, Tom Davies (Team Tri-Adventure) scored 535 points to win stage 3 and the race with a combined score of 1763 points – 49 more points than Kris Smith who finished second overall. Sophie Moore & Ed Clifford (Tri-Adventure) had an excellent final stage, collecting the same number of points as Tom Davies but in doing so picked up a small penalty for just running over the time limit slightly. They still got the second highest score of anyone for Stage 3, which increased their overall total to 1654 points and cemented their position as the overall top mixed team.

Several teams scored 505 points for the final stage but it was Lizzie Wraith who did this quickest and so finished an impressive third out of everyone in stage 3 – beating all but the top men’s team and the top mixed team. This result saw Lizzie secure her top spot in the Ladies category with a total of 1470 points scored for the weekend.

The winning teams in each of the Novice classes each scored over a thousand points which is very good going. Redmond & Son (Graham, Peter & Alex) won the men’s class & the Novice category with a good final stage which saw their overall score climb to a total of 1353 points. The Novice mixed class was won with 1217 points by Team Morris (Nicola & Ben) whilst ‘Which way to the pub?’ (Rebecca, Kate, Charlotte & Caz) clocked up 1004 points to finish top in the Novice ladies class.

At the prize giving everyone congratulated each other on completing their own personal challenge before prize vouchers, to spend with adventure racing retailer Likeys, were awarded to the participants of the winning team in each class. Series prizes, also from Likeys, were handed out to those individuals who finished at the top of the 2012 Questars Series Leaderboard. Matt Morris (MightContainNuts.com) and Kevin Stephens weren’t able to take part in this race but they had both done sufficiently well in previous races to hold onto their second and third places in the series respectively, though it was pretty close with just 42 points between them. However, with a clear lead of almost 300 points, Tom Davies successfully defended his title to win the series again this year and become the 2012 Questars Series Champion. Well done to Tom and everyone who took part in a Questars adventure race this year.

Details of the 2013 Questars Adventure Race Series will be published on the Questars website in early November. Do keep an eye on the Questars noticeboard for further information.

 

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