DOWNTON MOOT SAVES THE MOONRAKER RELAY
The late loss of access to the Bulford Ridges area nearly caused this year’s Moonraker Relay to be cancelled. Thanks to a bit of creative thinking and a determination not to be beaten the bright idea came up of using the Moot at Downton saved this popular event from disappearing from the 2016 calendar. Readers of this website will be familiar with Sarum Orienteers’ habit of using this small area for courses with a difference – rather like creating cocktails.
After a series of meetings over coffee and cake Liz and Charlotte came up with a format that built on, and ultimately distorted the course that Peter devised for the Club evening event back in May. Using Peter’s course as a starting point, Liz and Charlotte planned four courses which each had to be run twice, with three people in a team.
The courses were: Map memory, Micro butterfly course, Snail course and Odds/evens score. Teams had a handicap depending on the ages of team members and there were penalties for missed or wrong controls – 5 minutes added for every error.
On the day no less than fourteen teams from seven different clubs took part in the relay and for their troubles were blessed with good orienteering weather – dry and sunny but also fresh and breezy. The small area at the entrance to The Moot was used for assembly, briefing and download; the frontage of Moot House provided an imposing backdrop.
Runners found the complexities of The Moot contours and the different courses challenging but everyone enjoyed themselves. The winning team was Bad News from BADO, with Sarum Scarum second and Wimborne Second Best in third place. The Wessex Wannabees warrant a special mention as they were the only team that managed to avoid all the potential errors and managed to complete all the courses with no errors and therefore no penalties; an impressive achievement.
For this year, at least, perhaps the event should be renamed The Mootraker Relay.
Results can be found here.
Thanks to Shane Wilkinson for the photos more of which can be found here.