Questars Summer Series Race 4 - Mendips

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Hills, Wind and Close Finishes at Questars in the Mendip Hills

Press Release / 10.07.2024See All Event Posts Follow Event
Questars racing in the Mendip Hills for the first time
Questars racing in the Mendip Hills for the first time / © Daniel Seago

The fourth event of the Questars 2024 Summer Series took place from Cheddar in the Mendips and what a day it was!

Conditions the night before and in the morning did not look promising, but after a cold, blustery start, blue sky and sunshine graced us with their presence for the rest of the day (along with a hardy breeze which made for a rather interesting kayak leg).

Race HQ was the unusual but perfectly located Mendips Raceway…a haven for thrill seekers and basic amenities - we felt right at home. The views as the cloud lifted were spectacular and those heading along the ridge to Cheddar Gorge were in for a treat as the panoramic views from up top were amazing.

The course was a hilly and challenging one and the strong winds ensured that racers would not even have the respite of a flat paddle as the reservoir was whipped into a fury!

This was the first time in twenty years that Questars have used this part of the country for a race and, with so much beautiful terrain about, it was difficult to choose which to use and which to leave out, which resulted in an impossibly big course! The hilltop location also meant that a lot of racers were ‘treated’ to an uphill finish and we could hear the cursing from race HQ as racers made their way up the final 200m climb from the reservoir on bike and foot.

The run course had some slightly flatter terrain near the race HQ before the hills really kicked in and with a total course elevation of nearly 900m it was never going to be clearable, although some teams gave it a really good go. Blagdon Running Group (Tristan Rhodes, Jim Hardcastle, Neil Hatherall) were true to their name by committing to the run and picking up all but two checkpoints in a time of 3:39 for the best run score of the day with 375 points out of a total 400 on offer.

There was also nearly 1,000m of total elevation climb on the bike as well showcasing what a hilly part of the country this is. Once again, no teams were able to collect all checkpoints but Team Escaped Fathers (Adam Jackson, Alex Smith) came closest by picking up all but one checkpoint in a time of 3:54 for a total of 415 points out of 425.

When planning the course, we had expected the toughness on the run and bike legs to be made up for by a nice, calm pootle on the kayaks around the reservoir with views of Cheddar Gorge and Glastonbury Tor. Alas, the weather conspired for a wholly different affair with strong winds creating waves and incredibly tough paddle conditions, especially on the latter part of the course. It was no surprise then that only three teams were able to clear the kayak course with The Mendippers (David Clare, David Day, Eric Hathway, Calum Mitchell) fastest in 54:30 followed by Team Gill (Emma Gill, Richard Gill) in 55:55 and Atlas Fitness Southampton (Stephen Cox, Jenny Symons) in 57:22.

Despite the tough conditions, the kayak leg was still the most profitable with teams able to pick up on average 2.8 points per minute compared to 1.5 points per minute on the bike and 1.4 points per minute on the run.

Overall though it was not minutes but seconds that separated the top scorers of the day. Daniel Thorby, Robin Fieldhouse and Carl Silver all finished on 800 points and were separated by finishing time with Robin four seconds away from top spot and Carl only three seconds away. An incredibly rare finish after six hours of racing!

There was a great showing of new adventure racers with the majority of them jumping into our five-hour Novice event. We had solo racers, couples, friends, parents and children, the lot! There were also lots of new faces on the podium mixing in with familiar faces from past events.

All in all, it was another amazing day of racing, with the adventure racing mantra ringing in our heads all day, ‘expect the unexpected’. We certainly did, and were very pleased when the rental marquee didn’t fly off into the blue!

Thank you to everyone who came out and made our return to the Mendips so memorable and we look forward to seeing you back in September for the culmination of our Summer Series. With one race to go, the Series Championship and annual National Championship are really taking shape.

Run-only (2 hours)

In the run-only category,it was a close battle between David Roy and Oscar Sly with Oscar picking up more checkpoints but David picking up more valuable checkpoints to win overall with a score of 261 versus 227.

Duo (Run & Bike 5 hours)

In the Duo category, Tea & Torq (Stuart Colvin) won the day with 568 points ahead of Team Thackiyama (Tasha Thackrah, Iain Thackrah) on 470 points with Caroline Brooks taking the last spot on the podium with 301 points.

Trio Novice (Run, Bike & Kayak 5 hours)

In the Female category, Karen Griffiths topped the podium with 315 points ahead of Team Twisters (Lucilla Ashton, Sarah Mills) on 150 points.

In the Mixed Team category, returning racers Faster than Badger (Will Garrett, Sophie Garrett) continued their excellent form from our winter series, where they won two races. to finish first ahead of another family team, the Foolish Muppets (Graham Smith, Marielle Saillet, Jack Saillet-Smith, Louis Saillet-Smith) who included 12-year-old Jack and 9-year-old Louis on 435 points who were just four points ahead of the Exeter Twins (Arron Carpenter, Susie Howells) on 431 points.

It was an incredibly tight finish in the Open Teams category with only seven points separating the podium. Fusion Adventure Racing Team (Graeme Williams, Aidan Williams) have come second in their last two races and went one better this time around to top the podium with 482 points just ahead of Team Burning Sensation (Stefan Douglas, Nick Hopewell) on 476 points with The Fulton Boys (Luke Fulton, Erik Fulton) just one point behind on 475 points.

In the Open Solo category, Graeme Blair continued his impressive form from the New Forest race to win with a score of 502 points ahead of Nick Stafford on 446 points and Chris Collett on 358 points.

Trio Masters (Run, Bike & Kayak 6 hours)

In the Mixed Teams category, Team Gill (Richard Gill, Emma Gill) had a brilliant race to win with a score of 750 and break the winning streak of Team Mongaru (Nick Gracie, Katherina Pedersen) who finished in second place with 700 points ahead of Atlas Fitness Southampton (Stephen Cox, Jenny Symons) who mirrored their result from the New Forest to complete the podium and finish in third place on 602 points.

In the Female Teams category, Two Women Attempting Triathlon Slowly (Karen Abell, Catherine Holt) made a mockery of their team name to win the day with 500 points just eight points ahead of the Mad Old Tarts who finished in second place on 492 points with Wally’s and Proud (Caroline Howe, Jodie Brinson) in third place on 315 points.

In the Open Teams category, Team 62(Mark Lowden, Jonathan Coleman) won with an impressive score of 754 points on their first outing in the Masters category having cracked the Novice category! They beat the Escaped Fathers (Adam Jackson, Alex Smith) who finished in second place on 665 points ahead of Blagdon Running Group (Tristan Rhodes, Jim Hardcastle, Neil Hatherall) who finished on 630 points.

In the Open Solo category, it was the tightest finish we have ever seen with all three podium finishers ending on 800 points and the result being decided by finishing time. Daniel Thorby won the day ahead of Rodin Fieldhouse in second place and Carl Silver in third place.

In the Female Solo category, Bonnie Van Wilgenburg continued her great form from our New Forest race to finish on top of the podium with 662 points ahead of Helen Chapman on 625 points and Julia Kingsbury on 602 in an exact mirror of the New Forest podium.

In the Vets Open category, Phil Haycock won with an adjusted score of 803 points (the best of the day) ahead of Rob Smart on 792 points and Richard Gill on 761 points.

In the Vets Female category, Ella Pyman won with an adjusted score of 641 points ahead of Liz Jones and Maggie Salter on 595 points and Sarah Russell on 530 points.

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