Concorde Chase (Cold Ash) 25-Jan-15

Concorde Chase (Cold Ash) 25-Jan-15 - Results


 Concorde Chase Results

RouteGadget - Add your route to RouteGaadget and compare with fellow competitors.


Photos of the event are available Here.

Planner's Comments

Having volunteered to plan the Concorde Chase 2015, I made the first site visits back in March 2014.  Back in Spring the forest was looking in good shape and I was looking forward to setting some challenging and interesting courses.

Planning started in earnest in late October 2014, and Alain (the Organiser) and myself had meetings with the Eling Estate’s Forester and Gamekeeper to ascertain their plans over the next few months.  The forest trimming and harvesting activities became a significant issue and over the next two months created ever increasing constraints, which resulted in several course modifications to try to reduce the impact of these operations.  Whilst my discussions with the forest trimming and harvesting crew indicated that they were confident in getting things done quickly and efficiently, equipment failures resulted in them spending more time than expected in the northern parts of the map.  This exacerbated the muddy conditions of the rides and the western restricted byway, through increased heavy vehicle movements. 

The southern part of the map, known as Fence Wood, remained clear of forestry operations for most of this time, that was until the Forester contacted me on the Wednesday prior to the event that unbeknownst to him, harvesting activities had started in the southwest part of the map and would be occurring for three days in the run up to our event.  Fortunately this only impacted for the Brown and Black courses near to controls #209 and #210 and hopefully did not affect route choice too much.

On the day, the run in to the Finish along the restricted byway was clearly very muddy, and so the decision was taken to move the Finish and tape from the final control to the Finish through the forest.  Additionally, the route from the Finish to the Assembly field was also taped through the forest.  All competitors would thus have passed very close to the String course and had a great view of the champions of tomorrow racing through a dry and open forest on a full emit control, start and finish course (I think that this may have been the first time BKO has had a fully electronic String Course).

In terms of the courses, it was gratifying to see that the Black course was won in 68:10, which is close to the expected 67 minutes winning time for an elite competitor, as given in the British Orienteering rules.

A big thank you to the Controller (Roger Thetford) for his helpful suggestions and guidance throughout, to the Organiser (Alain) for our positive team playing and coordination in the run up to and on the day of the event, and to my Assistant Planner (Andy Parry) for his help and assistance throughout the run in to the event and particularly during the event putting out the last controls, sorting out the tapes around the finish and organising the control collection at the end.

Also a big thank you to John Walmsley and Chris Speed for helping me to get most of the controls out on the Saturday before the event.  On the day it was great to see so many BKO members and associated helpers working on their allotted tasks (and additional ones as they cropped up) in positive and cheery manners and their much appreciated efforts really helped to create a well-run and organised event.

Finally, thank you to all the competitors – We have already received several positive comments back and I hope you all enjoyed your Cold Ash experience!

Dave Rogers


Organiser's Comments

At the time it seemed so obvious – I had been the Assistant Organiser for the JK at Cold Ash in 2013, so why not Organiser for the club’s event in 2015? Simples.

And in many ways it was helpful already knowing the area, the personnel and the challenges we had faced, particularly with parking. In the event the farmer was happy for us to use the most weather sure of his five fields – both in terms of surface and access point. He was even more accommodating in cutting an opening in the fence in one corner nearest to the wood and then allowing us to open up a fence the opposite side that had clearly been cut previously and rewired. So we now had separate access points to the start and back from the finish, with cars nowhere in sight.

But there was still the entry/exit to the field and the potential for cars to get stuck – especially on exit as it was slightly uphill. JK to the rescue again. A trip to the New Forest resulted in two lengths of the matting very successfully used at the JK. And lo and behold, no problems – just a rather back breaking morning pulling up the huge pins that held them down and cleaning off all the mud.  

As with the farmer, so with the Head Forester and Head Gamekeeper. Both were remarkably accommodating as Dave, the planner, will testify. And so it continued with regular communication between organiser and planners agreeing minor but significant changes.

As the date loomed, I thought I should let the police know that we were holding an event in their area but reassure them that there would be no problems. They in turn forwarded the email to the West Berkshire Council which resulted in an email from the Head of Highways. He reminded me that legally we were not allowed to put up signs without their permission and wanted to know the sizes and location of signs, the number of competitors and cars expected, the exact location of the parking field and reminded me that it would be illegal for any of our volunteers to direct or hold up traffic. A very full explanation was given to all his questions and in fairness, he emailed back to say he had no concerns and wished us well with the event.

Courses, car park, toilets, first aid, caterers, traders and signage all sorted meant that our ski trip to France two weeks should be fairly relaxed. The hotel had WiFi so we could keep up with emails and answer any minor queries – that was until the first aid provider emailed to say that they could no longer provide the manpower promised. An urgent email to another provider that had been previously contacted resulted in them confirming they could. Sigh of relief. And then, ironically, the original provider emailed to say panic over they had found new volunteers. And so an email explaining that we had found a replacement.

The day before the event saw a small force of cadets helping to rid the field of branches that had fallen in the assembly area and then clearing the route to the finish, getting rid of trip hazards and small branches that might hit you in the face. There was even a short amount of time available to put some pine brashings across the huge and muddy ruts close to the start.

The day of the event itself seemed to pass off well with only a relatively minor number of problems, thanks to the superb efforts of the BKO volunteers – to them my sincere thanks. We did had a minor panic when 9am arrived but the toilets hadn’t. Some fifteen minutes later they were there. They had been delayed because the electronic gate in the yard they rented had frozen! The muddy nature of the wood due to forestry activities has been mentioned elsewhere so I’ll only comment to say that when I went to see if all was well at the finish I noticed that the adults stepped tentatively across the really muddy ride en route to the finish, while the kids seemed to want to find the deepest and gloopiest bits they could find. But everyone seemed to have enjoyed the whole experience.

Alain Wilkes


Controller's Comments

After some heavy hints to Dave that the older competitors wouldn’t relish having most of their courses in the uninteresting and heavily-brashed north-east of the area, I was relieved that he abandoned this 'fresh’ area for all the technical courses (Very Short Green upwards). Instead all the courses focused on the nicer and more challenging main body of Cold Ash.

The principal talking-point at the finish seemed to be the effects of the forestry work. Should we have followed the lead of Happy Herts and cancelled the event? The white and yellow courses had the worst of it, and indeed passed an abandoned 4x4 (nothing to do with us!) that had become stuck in the mud sometime on Saturday. But the worrying wails that I heard from a school group approaching the last control through the mud turned out to be shrieks of delight, and download reported children bearing large quantities of mud but also beaming smiles. Whether the parents were quite so delighted is another matter.

A number of experienced orienteers were confused by the large new extraction lanes on the approach to the finish, but all those I spoke to had remembered that they had not been mapped, and completed the course without complaint. One lady had to be helped to the finish to retire — thanks to Liz Cross for giving up her run to accompany her.

Without prompting, nobody commented on the last-minute decision to move the finish so that the run-in was 100m taped through the forest rather than 200m untaped, straight through the heart of the quagmire. Given this concession, and even with the very recent unplanned thinning around 209 and 210, I don’t regret that the event went ahead. Thank you for all your positive comments.

Roger Thetford