28 March 2010
A record breaking start to the Questars 2010 Adventure Racing Series.
More participants than ever took part in the first Questars of the 2010 series. And for the first time the whole course was cleared.
After the long cold winter Spring has come at last and that brings the New Forest Questars event. This year it was held in the western part of the Forest. The event was based from the spacious sports hall at Brockenhurst College right next to the main line railway from London. Several participants took advantage of this location and travelled by train. Others came from further afield. One participant flew in from South Africa on the morning of the event and another came from Abu Dhabi for the weekend!
The weather was much better than forecast with near perfect adventure racing conditions. Rain held off until after all the Novice teams had completed their races on Sunday afternoon. Masters and Questars Duo teams competed on Saturday. This was another first for Questars with the event being held over two days to enable more participants to take part.
After being welcomed to the event a slight variation to the usual Questars format was explained at the Race Briefing. A remote transition point between the Trail Run and Mountain Bike stages meant teams did not need to return to transition in Brockenhurst.
This enabled some of the best terrain in the centre of the course map to be utilised for the trail run stage incorporating very varied countryside. The run checkpoints were widely distributed across ancient deciduous woodlands, more recent pine plantations and open moorland. In the south of the map the very flat former World War Two airfield on Beaulieu Heath saw a couple of running checkpoints around the edge of the old runways.
Teams started and finished their race on bikes. Many different route options opened up en route to both the run/bike transition point and on the way to the kayak transition. This was situated on a quiet stretch of the delightful Beaulieu River. With a few checkpoints up river and more downriver there was an immediate decision to make – whether to paddle upstream against the flow or get used to the stable sit on top kayaks by floating down river first. Either way around it was possible to visit all the kayak checkpoints within the allocated time available as proved by quite a number of teams.
The biking stage saw particularly high scores with more teams than ever visiting all the red checkpoints. This involved cycling over 50 kms across the network of gravel cycleways, minor roads and a few muddy bridleways.
Mud was far more evident on the trail run. The long winter and recent rainfall had resulted in waterlogged conditions that made for hard going. That’s why the points available on the trail run were equal to that of the biking stage whilst the distances required to visit all the blue checkpoints was less than half that of the biking stage. Three solo men managed even in these wet conditions to visit all the trail run checkpoints.
Indeed these three achieved the record of visiting every checkpoint available. A feat not previously achieved in Questars. Paul Pickering the editor of UK Adventure Sports magazine was one of three but he did pick up some penalties for being late back over the Finish line. Both Patrick Meldrum (Questars Trio overall winner) and Tim Hammerton (Questars Duo winner) completed the whole course within the allocated time. Particular congratulations to them, and to all the other participants many of whom were competing in their first ever adventure race.
Hot food, hot drinks and hot showers were all available back at the event base at the end of the race. A mixture of exhilaration, exhaustion and elation were evident on many faces as teams congregated at the prize giving and applauded class winners who were awarded vouchers for spending with the outdoor retailer Kathmandu – a new Questars event partner.
|Position||Total Time||Points Calc||Name||Points Total|
|68||5:02:10||405 – 6 = 399||Grant Crawley||399|
|Route Taken||33 34 35 30 20 31 KT 40 41 39 38 KT 23 22 7 8 12 28 F|
|Time Splits||22:48 26:11 15:59 13:42 27:46 13:39 15:12 06:12 03:50 10:29 05:18 04:51 33:13 11:27 23:47 10:23 06:23 38:03 12:57|
|Run Time||0:22:48 0:48:59 1:04:58 1:18:40 1:46:26 2:00:05 2:15:17 2:21:29 2:25:19 2:35:48 2:41:06 2:45:57 3:19:10 3:30:37 3:54:24 4:04:47 4:11:10 4:49:13 5:02:10|