Saturday, February 11, 2012

Australian Rachel Effeney wins Sprint the Bay in New Zealand

A record number of competitors contested the Sprint the Bay orienteering series in Hawkes Bay New Zealand last weekend with Australians Rachel Effeney and Matthew Parton taking out 1st and 3rd respectively in the elite categories. The series took place over the Waitangi long weekend with 2 sprint races each day (6 in total) with the winners determined through cumulative time for the series.

Stage 1 was a mass start race that took place around a school, a cemetery and some parkland and would determine the pecking order for the weekend. The racing was fierce as it soon became apparent that some levels of ‘physicality’ were acceptable in getting to a punch first and those runners at the front of each field were able to put valuable seconds between themselves and those further down in the train by getting in early on the first few controls. Rachel Effeney was one of those to punch first early and in a sprint finish managed to shade Lizzie Ingham by 2 seconds to gain the yellow leaders singlet for the first race. In the elite men’s race Tim Robertson won on the line to get hold of the leaders jersey which he would hold until Stage 5. Bryan Keely was the best of the Australian men in the Stage placing 5th, 4 seconds behind the leaders with Hanny Allston scraping into the top 6 in the women’s elite race.
Winners of the various jerseys

Stages 2-4 were all urban sprints with reverse chasing starts (leaders starting last) and the competition through these races was super tight. Oscar McNulty scored 2 impressive stage victories at Napier Central in Stage 2 and Frimley in Stage 4 to move into second overall at this point, just 11 seconds behind Tim Robertson in the competition for the outright series lead. Stage 4 also saw the only Australian trifecta of the weekend with Matthew Parton and Lachlan Dow rounding out the top three which enabled them to move up into 6th and 7th overall, with Bryan Keely also running well into 5th place for the stage. Rachel Effeney was dominant through these races placing 1st in every one and with some big winning margins was able to take her lead to 1 minute 41 seconds by the end of Stage 4.
Bryan Keely gets air

Stage 5 was the only forest sprint of the series and as expected had a huge impact on the overall result. For the first time Rachel and Tim both lost their leaders jerseys dropping back to 2nd and 4th overall. Toby Scott won the elite men’s race by a massive 35 seconds to leapfrog from 5th into 1st overall and Angela Simpson moved from 2nd into 1st overall with her stage win. Of the Australians, Matthew Parton was fortunately placed in the start list to take advantage of Toby’s phenomenal run and after being caught 1 minute midway through the course managed to hold on for the 3rd fastest time of the day. Lachlan Dow’s 6th place enabled him to hold onto 6th overall.

Stage 6 took place on the Arataki map which comprised two schools separated by an oval with every course having two loops each with each loop running through both schools. To make more interesting head-to-head racing, starts were in pairs for this race with each competitor completing one loop first and their starting partner completing the other, before swapping. As a result of this Rachel Effeney and Angela Simpson were the last pair to start in the women’s race and since only 9 seconds separated them the winner of this race could well win the series. Rachel, who needed to catch the 9 seconds, had a good race and came into the finish chute a few seconds ahead and with a big crowd screaming it was clear it was going to be a nail-biter. Unfortunately, as the dust settled it became apparent that Angela had missed a control and so was marked as a miss-punch, although Rachel had done enough to take the lead away from her anyway. 
Aislinn Prendergast

The final standings for the elite women were: 1st Rachel Effeney, 2nd Lizzie Ingham, 3rd Kate Morrison. The men’s race was less wide open with big gaps separating the top 6 which meant that a mix-up in the results was unlikely based on Stage 6 racing. Despite this Matthew Parton appeared to do his best to cede his 3rd position and after starting the race with a 35 second buffer to Tim Robertson in 4th only held on by a meagre 6 seconds at the end of what he described as a sloppy race on tired legs. Lachlan Dow was the best placed of the Australian men on the stage in 5th which meant that he retained 6th place in a super competitive field. The overall results in the elite men’s division were: 1st Toby Scott, 2nd Tom Reynolds, 3rd Matthew Parton.
Women's podium- First Rachel Effeney (AUS, Queensland Cyclones), 2nd Lizzie Ingham, (NZ and Canberra Cockatoos), 3rd Kate Morrison (NZ)

Men's podium- 1st Toby Scott (NZ), 2nd Tom Reynolds (NZ), 3rd Matt Parton (AUS and NSW Stingers)
A great video teaser of what Sprint the bay is all about.

For full results and splits go to
(Aussies in Red)

Men's Elite (61)
1Toby Scott1:34:35
2Thomas Reynolds1:35:53
3Matthew Parton1:36:36
4Tim Robertson1:36:42
5Chris Forne1:37:00
6Lachlan Dow1:37:31
7Carsten Joergensen1:39:30
8Ian Lawford1:40:00
9Tane Cambridge1:40:23
10James Bradshaw1:40:41
11Bryan Keely1:40:58
12Oscar McNulty1:41:34
13Nick Hann1:41:45
14Beat Zimmermann1:42:16
15Bruce Arthur1:42:25
16Jourdan Harvey1:43:49
17Murray Scown1:44:26
18Eugene Campbell1:47:57
19Stefan Zingg1:48:56
20Alistair Richardson1:50:22
21Kasimir Gregory1:50:56
22Greg Flynn1:51:10
23Al Cory-Wright1:55:29
24Michael Smithson1:56:21
25Oliver Mitchell1:59:19
26David Hunhammar2:02:12
27Liam Paterson2:02:45
28Mathieu McGuire2:06:44
29Kieran Woods2:07:57
30Thomas Eatson2:11:46
31Luis Slyfield2:17:57
32Mikko Ruokolainen2:24:27
33Cairn Coghill2:25:19
34Bradley Ivory2:29:12
35Gergo Verhas2:29:29

Women's Elite (37)
1Rachel Effeney1:32:56
2Lizzie Ingham1:34:11
3Kate Morrison1:38:04
4Georgia Whitla1:38:26
5Laura Robertson1:40:06
6Hanny Allston1:41:34
7Aislinn Prendergast1:42:58
8Tessa Ramsden1:48:23
9Lisa Grant1:50:28
10Mace Neve1:50:43
11Cosette Saville1:52:19
12Belinda Lawford1:54:11
12Selena Metherell1:54:11
14Ilka Barr1:58:29
15Shannon Jones2:00:27
16Katelyn Effeney2:00:30
17Anna Gray2:02:15
18Renee Beveridge2:03:00
19Sara Bailey2:03:49
20Jula McMillan2:04:31
21Karin Geissbuehler2:05:21
22Heather Muir2:06:42
23Emily Cantwell2:11:05
24Katie Bolt2:11:31
25Sarah Gray2:13:11
26Miina Ruokolainen2:15:12
27Emily Dinsdale2:20:04
28Sarah Davidson2:31:40
29Katalla Kramer2:55:28

Thanks to Sprint the Bay organisers for the photos, and Matt Parton for words of wisdom