It was excellent weather for the annual trip to Malham, cool, dry, and not too windy.† As usual the map covered a large area from Ribblesdale in the West to Wharfedale in the East.† There was sure to be some steep climbing for competitors wanting to visit controls on the extremities of the map, while for others it was a decision of East or West.† I was pleased to see control 8 on the tarmac route to Littondale as this really opens up the area for the slower riders.
I really enjoyed my ride, on good bridleways and minor roads.† Some of the controls were a bit difficult to spot, but all the ones I visited were correctly located and described.† But I was surprised to find four of them not working.†
There was a queue at download, and obviously the number of non-functioning boxes was causing problems.† Results were not going to appear quickly, so I helped myself to some excellent cake and decided to go back to the Youth Hostel for the luxury of a shower, change of clothes and lunch.† As a result, I missed a lot of the post event chatter.† Back at the showfield, the horse box was shut and I could hear serious number crunching, so I went for a look round the show.† Even without the livestock, there was still plenty to see, and thereís always a friendly atmosphere.†
After a lot of extra work, results were ready in time for the prize-giving, but only a few riders had waited to see the top prize of a new trophy presented to Neil Atkinson by the manager of Malham Youth Hostel. Without split times, I canít tell you how Neil managed to collect 657 points to be clear winner of the menís class for the second year running.† Bryan Singleton was 2nd overall, and first vet with an impressive 649.† It was a closer race for the super vets with only 24 points between Iain Wilson (447), Steve Willis (430) and Henry Syska (423). John Tiffany was not far behind, winning the grand masters with 420 points.
In the womenís classes, Emily Brookes got the highest score of 460, with Jane Butterworth (340) winning the vets class, Sue Edlington (330) the supervets, and Karen Blackburn (427) the grand masters.
Andrew and Tim Crozier tied with John and Ben Johnson for first place in the Generation team class (430).† The same score saw Richard Scarborough and Outi Kamarainen win the mixed team class from Jon and Amanda Meeks (395).† But Denis Jaques and Sheila Pierce scored 470 to win† the vets mixed team from Duncan Mellor and Trish Griffin (445).
The two hour event was won by Warren Mason (317) from Stuart Pitchers (155).† Niall Bourke and Bridget Slater went on to compete in the fell race, and were 1st and 2nd in the combined class for the Malhamdale Biathlon.
Like last year, the majority of riders were late back, either weighing up the value of getting just one more control against the time penalties, or committed to a route that took a few minutes longer than planned.†
The problems with the Sport Ident system were unfortunate.† Personally, it did not affect my enjoyment of the race, as the size of the problem only became apparent after finishing.† Mistakes can happen, and I was rather impressed that results were actually available on the day.† It would be helpful if there was a larger number of riders prepared to learn to operate the system - volunteer to any committee member!
I see that the TCA has a training weekend (and AGM?) at Malham Youth Hostel in the winter, so if, like me, you are still wondering if you should have riden your route anticlockwise instead of clockwise, you might get a chance to find out.† And itís an excellent Youth Hostel.
Many thanks to the planners, organisers and helpers at Malham for putting on another very enjoyable event - see you next year!