The Rivette QUESTars Adventure Race Series

 

2014 Questars Adventure Race Series - Race 1

Race Results

A full set of results for this adventure race are attached to the top of this page.

Remember you can learn a lot for your next adventure race by looking at the split times in conjunction with your map to see which checkpoints other teams visited, and the order in which they visited them.

Race Photos

Photos of this adventure race taken by the Quest Team have been added to the Questars gallery.

Look at the photos in the album to see what a glorious day it was and how the tidal conditions on the Beaulieu made the kayaking challenging for some.

Race Report

It was a glorious day in the New Forest for the start of the 2014 Questars adventure race series. The sky was clear, the sun was out and the air temperature was mild. There was bit of a strong breeze coming in off the sea which made the kayaking tough for some but other than that the weather Gods were certainly on the side of the participants for this race. Just 24 hours earlier, when putting out the checkpoints, it was a very different story. It was bitterly cold. And the wind and rain brought angular hailstones the size of peas that forced us to seek shelter. What a difference a day makes!

The event base for this year’s race was in the south eastern corner of the New Forest near Fawley. It was a new location not used previously before for a Questars adventure race and offered past participants the chance to explore this part of the New Forest from a different direction – previously the event base had been further west in Brockenhurst.

All participants started on bikes and followed a mandatory route to the first checkpoint in order to avoid a set of traffic lights at a busy road junction near the event base. After this participants were free to visit as many of the other checkpoints as they wanted and in any order they wished. The only restriction was the time limit, with Masters having a maximum of six hours and everyone else having up to 5 hours in which to do this. First participants had to decide whether to make a beeline for the picturesque village of Beaulieu and onto one of the two transition points or to head south to the coast to visit the mountain biking checkpoints there. Those that did the later had an early encounter with a very muddy bridleway. But this was short lived and a one-off for the rest of the mountain biking was on firm gravel forest tracks and minor roads.

The trail running started and finished from East Boldre, and saw participants take in a nice mixture of open heathland and wooded areas. Both threw up their own unique challenges. Some of the paths across the moors were small and difficult to find. Whilst in the woods many of the trails were very soft and waterlogged in places making the going especially tough. This left some participants wondering whether they would have been better off sticking to the main gravel tracks even though these didn’t offer the most direct route between checkpoints. Only the top two teams visited all the trail run checkpoints (375 points) – a minimum distance of 25 km – with Tom Davies & Mark Humphrey doing so quickest, in a very fast time of 2:06:41.

The kayaking took place on a tidal stretch of the lovely Beaulieu River. High tide had passed by the time first participants arrived and low tide was at 15:38 which meant the tide was going out for most participants. At over three metres the tidal range was a big one for this small river. This, combined with the high volume of water coming down the river, created a stronger than normal current flowing out to sea. The breeze coming in off the sea in the opposite direction picked up throughout the day, whipping up the surface of the water to form small waves. So those who kayaked towards the end of the afternoon had some choppy conditions to contend with. Eight teams paddled the 5.6 km required to visit all the kayak checkpoints (200 points) within the 50 minute time limit, with regulars Daniel & Helen Murphy once again clocking the fastest time – they did so in 45:11.

The mountain biking covered a larger than normal area to ensure there was some checkpoints for everyone, irrespective of their ability, given that the course area was split in two by the Beaulieu River and there was only one crossing point in Beaulieu itself. Because of this, no one was perhaps expected to visit all the mountain bike checkpoints (425 points). But the favourable conditions, pleasant cycling and some people’s personal preference to cycle rather than to run meant ten teams achieved this - some of whom ended up covering significantly more than the minimum 57 km distance between all the bike checkpoints.

With the time limit fast approaching everyone made their way back to the finish on bikes which was at a remote location just over 1 km from the event base. Again this was for safety to avoid participants having to cross a set of traffic lights at a busy road junction near the event base during the race. After finishing, it was a short leisurely cycle back to the event base where there was hot food, drinks and showers waiting for participants. Prizes from event partners Likeys, MuleBar, MapDec & Muc-Off were awarded to the occupants of each winning team.

The adidasTERREX TriAdventure men’s team of Tom Davies & Mark Humphrey visited all but one of the kayak checkpoints to emerge as overall race winners with an impressive score of 975 points out of a possible 1000. Top men’s soloist Kris Smith (EnduranceLife) collected just ten points less but exceeded the six hour time limit and so ended up with a score of 940 points which was still good enough for second place overall. Matt Unsworth & Katy Roby (mightcontainnuts.com) won the mixed team class and finished third overall on 915 points whilst Kevin Stephens’ 905 points meant he was the highest scoring veteran. The ladies class was won by Sophie Moore (Tri-Adventure) with 830 points.

The novice category was won with a mighty impressive adventure racing debut performance by the men’s team of Ian Souch & Johnny Drennan which saw them finish with a score of 746 points. They actually collected an unbelievable 820 points – despite having an hour less in which to do so than the Masters – but they were penalised for exceeding their kayak slot time and for going over the 5 hour time limit. 726 points saw Emmanuel Cerqueira, Jean-Benoit Ritz & Sebastien Pelissier come second and they were also the highest placed novice veteran team. Elizabeth Jones, Mick Kenyon, Ali Watkins & Paul Badger finished top of the novice mixed class with 630 points whilst the novice ladies class was won with 525 points by Claire MacDermott & Kate McKerrow.

The Duo race - which does not involve any kayaking - was won by Matthew Hammerton, Oli Mytton & Jimmy Hunt (AlpKit Adventure) with another large score of 745 points (out of 800). Well done to the aforementioned and to everyone that took part in this sell-out event.

The next race in the 2014 Questars Adventure Race Series takes place on the last weekend in April in Thetford Forest. You can just take part on the Saturday if you don’t want to do the full two-days, though you will miss out on an exciting night navigation stage on the Saturday evening. Like all Questars adventure races, it is suitable for both novice and experienced teams of 1, 2, 3 or 4 people.

 

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