The Coordinator, Julian Ledger, reports ...
Newnes Forest on June 19 was a damp, rather cold and windy place. At 9.00am gusts of mist blew across the start and a crowd of 670 rugged up rogainers congregated on Cockatoo Hill for the 42nd Paddy Pallin Rogaine. Team control cards hung numbered from 1 to 274 but with a few gaps due to attrition in numbers with the conditions.
However, non starters missed out on a classic event. There were 59 controls spread out on the plateau in a mix of pine and native forest. Out at the course edges the ground fell rapidly down from 1000 metres into rugged canyons. An extensive track network helped the novices whilst also favouring teams with strong runners at the pointy end of the competition.
Congratulations went to all the category winners and especially outright winners Andrew Hill and Robbie Preston with 1860 points and 110 ahead of second place getters Peter Preston and Ben Rattray. In third and 90 points further back were adventure racers Toby Cogley, Matt Blundell, Kris Clausen and Con Stewart whilst in 4th and first in the mixed category well known adventure racers and rogainers Tom Landon-Smith and Alina McMaster.
Final scores are up on this website. Thanks go to our ever efficient administrators for reviewing all control cards after the day and making necessary adjustments.
Course setter, Michael Watts, had a philosophy that all teams should be able to reach some high pointers and so control numbering reflected a mix of high and low through the map. More than 200 teams got over 500 points, 100 teams over 780 points and 50 teams over 1000 points - huge effort guys! The course was pretty well balanced and teams headed out in every direction. By all accounts the area was not congested despite the big numbers. An analysis of the % of teams visiting each control can be
viewed here as a PDF.
Early back, unfortunately, were Michael Burton and Connie McNamee with Connie suffering a damaged bone in her heel and being treated by Phillip and Jack of St John Ambulance. Very few other teams were home early with the exception of some of those with little kids who reappeared back out of the cloud with rosy cheeks. The Hash House stayed chilly all day however out in the forest the course was less exposed and teams reported comfortable walking/running conditions.
After the finish most teams ate and then headed to the warmth and sanctity of their cars meaning that many missed the award presentations and the big thank yous to all the helpers.
1st Waitara who now have many years experience catering for this event again came up trumps. Phil Wood and his big team feeding 200 overnight campers a three course meal on Saturday evening and then the whole crowd a sausage and soup lunch at the event end.
Course vetters Joel Mackay and David Gell, had done a great job and we received excellent feedback on the accuracy of control placement. The two big challenges for Course Setter, Michael, were finding strong enough features amidst all the shallow gullies and secondly to know when to stop drawing in the map corrections of extra tracks. Joel and David also helped Michael hang flags along with Chris Stevenson and myself. Joel was there again on the day driving the tracks along with Safety Officer, Richard Sage whose experience was valued along with his willingness to tell the odd trail bikes to slow down.
Paddy Pallin the Company, again sponsored the event helping with printing and some great lucky dip prizes organised by Toby Cogley for those still there for the awards presentations.
President, Mike Hotchkis, helped with delivering the trailer and Equipment Officer, Paul Stein, was invaluable at the end helping pack it up and get it home. Ian Almond, Membership Secretary extraordinaire set up excellent admin systems and was assisted both before/after and on the day by his wife Jennifer, daughter Jessica, sister Bronwyn and brother in law Graham. Cathy Watts, helped by zippy runners Jessica Almond and Luke Ledger, took care of hanging the results. Meanwhile on computers and supplying his own new electrical generator was Graeme Cooper whose software NSWRA gratefully relies upon. At this event, I think for the first time in NSW, team finish times were recorded straight into the system. For the future control cards may be dispensed with but that's another story.
Thanks also went to flag picker upper Ian Rank who had assistance from Andrew Perry, Joel #2 and the Almonds. Michael Watts enjoyed the course setting and is already keen to do another. The 2006 Paddy Pallin Rogaine bigger again? Well the World Rogaining Championships are to be held in NSW in October next year so it will be a time for some serious training.
Post script - on the Sunday evening back on the Bells Line of Road after dark in the ute that had been in the course all day I looked at the petrol
gauge for the first time - empty! However gravity helped more than nail biting and
I managed to coast all the way down the mountains to reach fuel in Kurrajong. Back home all the event bills are now
paid and the Paddy Pallin inbox has nearly 300 emails. It's time to close the folder.