The Rivette QUESTars Adventure Race Series

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2013 Questars Adventure Race Series - Race 6

 

Q2 - The Quest Challenge

Race Results

Download the final results for this two-day adventure race here.

A complete set of results for each stage in this two day adventure race are attached to the top of this page along with the cumulative scores and positions after each stage.

The 2013 Questars adventure race series leaderboard has been updated with the scores from this race and is attached above. Download a copy of the final 2013 series leaderboard here.

Race Photos

Photos taken of participants during this two-day adventure race have been added to the Questars gallery. Do look through the various folders in the 2013 South Downs adventure race album to see what other adventure racers got up to during each of the different stages.

Race Report

After the popularity of last year’s event in East Sussex near the Seven Sisters, the final race in the 2013 Questars adventure race series returned to the South Downs, this time to the chalk hills north of Arundel in the heart of West Sussex. At least one person failed to pick up on the fact that this year’s two-day multi-stage adventure race called Q2 The Quest Challenge was in a different part of the South Downs to last year’s race. You can imagine their surprise when they arrived at what they thought was the venue only to find nobody there apart from the land owner who said they were twelve months too late! Fortunately this occurred quite early on Friday evening so there was still plenty of time for them to travel the fifty odd miles back the way they’d come to the village of Duncton where this year’s event was based.

Stages 1 & 2 were combined to form one big stage during which participants had up to seven hours in total to visit checkpoints and serve their one hour compulsory break. As usual there were points available for unused minutes after six hours so teams, especially Novices, were strongly encouraged to take advantage of this by finishing early and hence saving some energy for the stages that followed.

Participants chose when to take their break giving them the flexibility to do what suited them best. Those that wanted more time to plan, prepare and study the map took their break as soon as they started, whilst those that wanted more time to rest and recover before the night stage took their mandatory break at the end, just before they finished Stage 1 & 2. Most however took their break in between the trail running and the mountain biking, thus splitting this long stage into two smaller stages, giving them time to refuel and get ready for the next discipline.

Participants received the checkpoint values as they started the stage so the first thing everyone did was to cross the dummy checkpoints off their map and amend their intended route accordingly so as not to waste their time visiting checkpoints that weren’t there. Most of those who weren’t in the first kayak timeslot elected to get the trail running over and done with first; that way they could give their running legs a bit more of a break before the night run in the evening.

The trail run course took participants along the sandy trails in the wooded areas on the north side of the Downs, and around some lovely little quaint villages. It was smaller than normal partly because there was a lot more running to come in stages 3 & 4 and partly to accommodate a big mountain bike course which made the most of the large number of bridleways in the area. Lots of Masters teams visited all the trail run checkpoints and in doing so covered some 15km with over 200m of ascent and descent, but a special mention goes to Jibbers (Tom Phillips, Simon Bevis & Lawrence Drew) who were the only Novice team to do so.

The kayaking took place on a tidal section of the River Arun. Those arriving first found a steep slippery slope down to the water as the tide was out but the marshals had anchored a couple of ropes for people to hold onto so as to not lose their footing. With three kayak checkpoints upstream of the transition point and five downstream participants had to decide which way to head first. Savvy participants used the turning tide to their advantage by making sure it was behind them for the bulk of their time on the water. Those who made it downriver to the furthest checkpoint had another interesting dilemma; they could return the way they’d come or take a chance with much narrower channel that looked like a short cut on the map. What the map didn’t show was that this short cut was only passable at high tide, so some who attempted this route early on found that they couldn’t get through and they ended up having to turn around, returning back the way they’d come.

At 1 hour 45 minutes each, the kayak timeslots were generous giving participants more time than they needed to visit kayak checkpoints. A good number of teams made use of this and were therefore able to paddle the full 9km required in order to clear the kayak course, the fastest to do so being Daniel & Helen Murphy who recorded a very impressive time of 1:15:35 – almost five minutes quicker than anyone else.

The mountain bike course was a big one which encouraged all participants up onto the South Downs and enticed a few down the other side as well. There was no easy way up as all the routes involved negotiating the steep slopes on the north side of the Downs. However once on top of the Downs, the views over the surrounding low land and even as far as the sea - over 10 miles away - made the effort very much worthwhile. And the weather was fairly benign which made for some enjoyable riding too. Four teams visited all the mountain bike checkpoints and in doing so cycled over 47km with almost 900m of ascent. One of these was Tom Davies who was the only person to clear the whole course, visiting all the trail run and kayak checkpoints as well. Tom was therefore in the lead at the end of Stage 1 & 2 with 1020 points. Both James Brown and Team Endurancelife visited all but one of the mountain bike checkpoints, but James did so 30 minutes quicker, placing him in second place on 991 points – 30 points ahead of Team Endurancelife in third place overall.

After a couple of hours to rest and recover, and just as the last of the daylight disappeared, participants made their way 800m down the road to start Stage 3 – a night orienteering stage on foot. Maps were given out at the remote start so participants had to quickly work out what the best strategy for them was based on their ability and the location of the checkpoints coupled with their value. An extra dimension was added by the fact the checkpoints were in sets and bonus points could be earned by visiting all the checkpoints in a set.

At just under 14 km it wasn’t a particularly long distance to visit all the checkpoints in the 100 minutes available but with over 400m of up and down it was a hilly one with some very steep slopes along the way. Care was required, especially in the woods where the many trails meant it was easy to make a navigational error in the dark. Two activity points gave people the opportunity to earn extra points by solving a couple of puzzles, and the chance for a welcome break from physical activity, albeit for a short while.

Team Endurancelife collected the maximum number of points available with ten minutes to spare. In doing so they earned bonus points for these unused minutes to win Stage 3 with a score of 360 points whilst Tom Davis finished second with 341 points. This meant that at the end of Saturday Tom Davies was still the man to catch with a combined score of 1361 points for Stages 1, 2 & 3. Team Endurancelife’s total of 1321 points ensured they climbed up to take second place from James Brown who slipped to third overall with 1296 points.

The cloud broke up and the temperature dropped overnight to give a chilly start first thing on Sunday but this soon gave way to warm sunshine as the sun climbed high in the clear blue sky. Masters had an hour longer than Novices and so set off on the fourth and final stage first. Participants could choose whether to bike or run first, and when to take their one hour compulsory break. The top three teams all elected to bike first but many of the other Masters teams started off on foot with the trail run.

Both the mountain bike and the trail run course were big for the time allowed, enabling all participants to do more of whichever discipline they preferred. And both courses made use of the contrasting terrain by having some of the checkpoints on the South Down hills themselves and the others on the low lying flatter land on the north side of the Downs. A lot of people visited the activity points when they transitioned from one discipline to the next, to earn bonus points by completing a couple of physical challenges, that weren’t too difficult if you read the instructions carefully and had a steady hand! And most took time out during the transition to serve their mandatory break in order to give themselves a chance to rest and recover in between the two disciplines.

Soloists Steve Frankl and Marc Ebanks were the only people to visit all the trail run checkpoints, covering at least 21km and over 450m of ascent in the process. The mountain bike course was perhaps a little more difficult to clear with the best route linking all the checkpoints not being very apparent and a couple of high value checkpoints being a long way out on a limb down the other side of the South Downs. A good number of teams reached these far flung checkpoints but it was only soloists Tom Davies and Miles Watkins, and the men’s team of Peter Wise & Mike Redmond who visited all the mountain bike checkpoints, cycling over 35km and climbing a total of 800m+ in order to do this.

Team Endurancelife pushed Tom Davies (Tri-Adventure) all the way but in the end it was Tom who won this final stage with 587 points to cement his position as overall race winner with a grand total of 1948 points across the weekend. The Endurancelife team of Natalie Taylor, Gary Davies, Kevin Stephens & Ian Grace added 571 points from Stage 4 to their combined score giving them a total of 1892 points, which secured them second place overall and first place in the mixed team class. Meanwhile James Brown (Tri-Adventure) clocked up a total of 1841 points to finish third overall and second in the men’s class. The ladies class was won by Nicki Adams (Tri-Adventure) with a final score of 1553 points.

The highest cumulative score by a novice participant was 1437 points scored by David Carr whilst Rob & Katie Burridge amassed 1333 points to take top spot in the novice mixed teams class. Rebecca Cupitt and Jess Kane finished first in the novice ladies class with 892 points. Likeys vouchers and MuleBar energy packs were awarded to the class winners at the prize giving in recognition of their achievement.

Series prizes, in the form of vouchers to spend with the outdoor clothing and equipment supplier Likeys, were handed out to those individuals who finished at the top of the 2013 Questars Series Leaderboard. Carol Yarrow was the highest placed female in fourth place overall with a series score of 4275 points. Matt Unsworth (mightcontainnuts.com) and Iain Porter weren’t able to take part in this race but they had both done sufficiently well in previous Questars adventure races earlier this year to hold onto their third and second places in the series respectively, with scores of 4395 and 4639 series points. But extending his lead at the top of the leaderboard, and with a series score of 4760 points, Kevin Stephens (Team Endurancelife) was crowned the 2013 Questars Series Champion. Well done to Kevin and everyone that took part in a Questars adventure race this year.

Details of the 2014 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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