This year the “Frazzle Rock”, Easter 3-day competition was contested at York, Western Australia, and while the number of Newcastle club members in attendance was lower than that expected at any east coast location our results were quite impressive.

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Our success in the male elite divisions was remarkable. Rob Preston, who just seems to get better and tougher with age, clocked up third placing in the Men’s Elite and has earned himself another representative team selection, this time making the Australian Bushrangers team set to tackle the New Zealand Pine Stars. Steven Todkill also had a solid result placing eighth. That’s two Novocastrians in the top 10 of the highest men’s division in the country.

Josh Blatchford was attempting to make a third JWOC team and did so successfully by winning the Junior Elites albeit by a very narrow margin. He better make sure his passport is up to date. As well as JWOC in Poland, this win sees him selected along side club mate Rob Preston in the Bushrangers team travelling to the Woodhill Forests north of Auckland in June. Congratulations Josh, it must have been tough mentally knowing the stakes that rested on this result.

In the non-elite ranks Russel Blatchford took out 3rd in M50A while daughter Nicola Blatchford beat all in W16A. Karen Blatchford just missed out placing 4th in W45A. A couple of others went close as well.

While all this was happening in the west a few other Newcastle club members, looking toward the strength of the Australian dollar and the quicker flying times, opted to attend the National champs in Hawkes Bay area of New Zealand.

Margaret Peel was the only one to pick up a placing with a second in W21AS in the Long event, but overall Geoff Todkill was probably the best performed. Never the less they all enjoyed the “undulating to hilly” maps, the multiple fence crossings and the challenge of avoiding the “Onga Onga” shrubs, a particularly nasty local native plant that can give a sting severe enough to cause hospitalisation and even death. Personally I was under the impression there was nothing dangerous in the NZ bush (apart from cliffs and exploding volcanoes) and was really terrified of running into the stuff. I’d rather the small possibility of meeting a snake than having this plant around.

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Geoff Todkill running on virtually flat terrain in NZ

The sprint and relay maps in particular were “sweet az” and perfect for their event type. Check out the video of the sprint and middle distance events here of via the link below. Some nice footage!

Note: the area used for the Middle, Long and Relays was devestated by flood the day after the carnival. If this had been prior to or even worse during then it would have been called off. Check out photos of the surrounding area (we were travelling daily on Maraetotara Rd). (Editor: photos have since been removed)

For those interested, the 2013 Oceania carnival will be based around the lower to eastern side of New Zealand’s north island and may be worth a trip over the ditch. Put it on your calendar now and start doing those hill climb training activities.

WA: results | routegadget | photos1 | photos2 (Editor: the 2011 Easter website has now been taken down)
NZ: results | photos1 | photos2 | photos3 | photos4 | photos5 | video