First Summer Off Road Race, Aconbury, 5/6/13

Normal service resumed as Eliot returns to winning ways after Crocodile hiccup

There’s nothing like the Summer Series for drawing out of their lairs, ancient [and not so ancient] Couriers who had gone to ground after the exertions of the winter campaign. We mustered 12 runners though sadly the women [woman] were outnumbered 11 to 1.

On a delightfully gilded evening, with the may and bluebells vibrant in the westering sun, red vests were quickly to the fore on this tough but unusually dry 4.9 mile course prepared by Wye Valley’s Merv Thomas and Bousty Bouston. A previous day’s warm-up of a 90 mile spin on the bike set Eliot up for a decisive victory over half a minute clear of his pursuers, his Crocodile tears now brushed aside. In a field of 122, we managed 7 in the top 20, an indication of our persisting quality in the male division. It was great to see Matt back, loping along as of old and finishing an encouraging 5th on only a modicum of training. One place behind came Luke who has been out of action with illness and injury yet still turned in a fine performance. Despite using valuable energy before the race bemoaning the hills that reared before him, Russell mastered them with all the ease of an old champion and held off Richie for 12th spot. This is likely to prove Richie’s last league race for some time and he gave it his all. We will miss his quality and great enthusiasm. Mike Link started somewhat leisurely and looked as though he were searching for the mud which is his natural habitat. Even so, he was well up in 18th, two places in front of evergreen Dave Williams who took the V50 category win without trouble.

Behind the quick boys, there was a sulphurous battle between Kay and Kipper for the V60 crown, Fishface leading for the first 4 miles before the taller man, lurking at his shoulder, unleashed his trademark devastating kick on the forestry track, leaving the Herring even more smoked than usual and coming home 29th to the latter’s 33rd. Chris Cleary, another youngster we will be really sorry to lose as his career takes him out of town, was next in in 47th. Kev rounded off the men’s team in 81st after going walkabout in the woods. Onlookers at the finish did not know whether to be more outraged by his post race expletives or the three words emblazoned on his tee shirt…..KILL SHEEP SCRAM. No wonder members of the farming community were eyeballing him so beadily. Not far off Kev in 84th came our first and only woman, Ali, a supreme competitor for Couriers over the years and here taking the first V50 spot despite persistent injury problems.

Through her efforts we were able to finish a team and lie 3rd overall with 3 races to make up some ground on Valley and Croft. Come on you women, give Ali a hand at Kinnersley in two weeks!


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