I went for a walk around the lake yesterday afternoon as it was so nice that the sun had come out, as it seems to about 4pm.
Last night was the 2nd lot of presentations, including the team results for both ARDF competitions, and the Sprint presentations. Now if you’ve ever been to a World Championship of some sort you’ll know what to expect here. We stood for the Russian, Ukranian and Czech Republic national anthems rather too many times. It’s a relief to occasionally get a look in from Germany, Hungary, Slovakia or Sweden. And yes, there was a pretty big team from Ukraine after all. Often they shared the podium with a Russian.
The only Region 3 team to make the podium was a Korean Bronze team result in one of the older men’s categories.
This morning it was up at the normal time for the trip to the Fox-or. This didn’t go quite as planned. We drove and drove through the national park. I even spotted some potential tape in the forest at one point, but no, driving and driving on. We ended up in open plains. This just doesn’t look right, I thought, as the line of buses eventually pulls to a halt. My guess turned out to be right as the first bus then completed a U-turn and the rest followed suit. Driving, driving, back the way we’d come, turn off, driving, finally another stop. Our bus driver gets out for a smoke !? People drift off the bus to have a pee break; after all we’ve been traveling for an hour or so. The Czech team leader wonders if perhaps the real organiser of these Kazakh championships is Sacha Baron Cohen…. We jerk into action again for yet another U-turn, and retrace our steps to yet another new junction. Bit like a 6m foxhunt really.
Eventually we stop at a group of tents, only to find that’s the finish location, and off we go again to the start. Luckily, all this scenic detouring only delayed the FoxOr start by 15 minutes.
Overall we had a pretty good competition day today. FoxOring is a more simplified version of Radio Orienteering. The circle, just like an orienteering control circle, denotes a spot where you can (hopefully) hear a nearby very weak transmitter, which you then run towards and punch the SI control (no flag).
Greg wisely dropped off a couple of his more remote controls, and managed to stay in contact with the map. Greg declares he’ll need a bit (a lot?) of training if he is going to go to Japan Region 3 championships next year. Ewen found all of his allocated controls in time (very estatic Ewen), as did I. It didn’t start well for me, with a long run to the very remote L3 (see map), not yielding any discernable FoxOr signal. After some time faffing around I decided I must be in the wrong spot somehow and had to just get on with it. I then ran to all my other FoxOrs in turn. Some of them I heard, others I had to see what other competitors nearby were doing to get a hint. My 80m sniffer simply isn’t adequate for this event it seems, despite some improvements made since the last time. When I got to my final F4 control (which was faulty and only emitting a continuous carrier tone), I saw I had about 50mins before my time limit was up. I estimated the distance back to the other end of the map and L3 about 5km, and decided to give it another bash. After a long run down the main road (again), I carefully navigated into the control circle. Yep, I recognised some features from last time. Still no signal, and noone in sight, as before. Using Dennis Mews ever increasing circles technique I eventually spotted the transmitter bag on the ground. Then I heard it ….. Now the long haul back to the finish beacon, the tone of which was wandering all over the place. I estimate my long detour took 22 minutes all up, but at least I had the satisfaction of finding them all. The team (and that horn) welcomed me back.
Jack had a bit of a wander around the course today, finding a few transmitters here and there. Jack admits navigation is not his strength, but Jenelle was determined to do better than in Serbia, and did very creditably in her very competitive class. She says her first control choice was L5 (see map; I didn’t have to get that one hence the cross through it) involved an obscene quantity of contours to attain. Frustrated she didn’t get F4 due to it’s defective state, but happy otherwise.
The power went off in our hotel shortly after our return, a trip that took considerably less time than the morning’s journey. No power also meant no water for showers. Eeek ! Luckily some of us managed to get one in before the crunch.
The presentations for the FoxOr (in the building conveniently next door) were running late again, so competitors started to avail themselves of the nearby banquet, and of course the free grog. This continued through the presentations. Women’s classses subjected us to way too many Russian national anthems, but a Norwegian win in W60 broke the monotony. The men’s were a little bit more diverse, but you find yourself cheering a bit more when someone new gains a place.
Many were asking us about 2018. Will Australia be running the World ARDF champs then ? The situation is this. It has been decided that a country in Region 3 can run the 2018 championship (the next in 2016 is in Bulgaria). Japan is running Region 3 championships next year, but may have also put in a bid for the world champs. Korea has put in a tentative bid, but they ran a world champs fairly recently. China has also expressed interest, but they need to gain permission from their organisation & government as yet. China ran a world champs in 2000, the first ever held in Region 3. Both China and Korea have shown they are able to run a good championships. So that leaves Australia, who have now also expressed interest, albeit only even hearing about all this when we had already left the country. Australia has run 3 Region 3 championships, but never a world champs !
Much more to be heard & discussed on this topic.
All in all a solid performance from the small Australian team at these championships. No disasters, no overtimes and a very credible performance from our two championships newbies, Greg & Jenelle (though Jenelle did have a prior try at the Serbian FoxOr). To do better we’d need much more training in classic ARDF, significantly more in ARDF sprints, and simply more competitors to make up teams. For FoxOr events ? Probably just better 80m sniffers would go a long way.