The Australian relays was blessed with another gorgeous spring day with Wattle blooming and the paddocks a verdant green! The Yarra Valley club had worked with carnival director Warren Key to use a fantastic erosion gulley as a finish chute along with a great spectator run through and some top gold mining terrain. The cream rose to the top today with some of Australia’s best orienteers leading their states to relay wins. For example Greg Barbour, Jock Davis and Steve Craig, all multi time champions combined to win M45, narrowly, from Victoria. Jo Allison, Shannon Jones and Cath Chalmers did the same in W45.
All the elite races had lead changes. NZ led the junior boys until Alvin Craig ran them down and Ewan Shingler secured the win. The women’s junior elite was perhaps the closest race with NZ and NSW neck and neck after two legs but Nea Shindler ran a great anchor for the win. Victoria were having none of that in the open classes. Queensland and Victoria were close on leg 1 with Krystal Neumann and Aislinn Prendergast only a second apart but Natasha Key extended the lead (threatened by ACT who mispunched) and Asha Steer brought them home.
In the men’s ACT seemed like a threat to Victoria with three top ten finishers from the Long. Marty Dent brought ACT back first but James Robertson had kept Victoria in touch and Patrick Jaffe caught Matt Doyle on leg two and gave Aston Key a lead that he extended for a home triumph.
New Zealand cleaned up all the 14 and 16 classes. Victoria had good wins in W35s with Clare Brownridge, Melissa Gangemi and Lillia Gluscenko winning by ten minutes. Perhaps an even more impressive win came in the very competitive M65s where Roch Prendergast, Chris Norwood and Ted van Geldermalsen came over the top of well credentialed ACT and NSW teams.
The crowd broke their ice cream record again and the nine races in nine days came to and end! Well done to all.