Everything came together for Forth Valley Orienteers as they claimed three gold medals at the British Mixed Sprint Relays in Morpeth to move top of the British Relay League.
FVO had two teams entered in the Elite Sprint as they sought to win their third successive title in the event, but it was a much-changed team from 2017, with only Chris Smithard remaining from the 2017 champion lineup. Main challengers Nottingham were dealt a blow pre-race as GB star Peter Hodkinson had to withdraw with a troublesome knee injury, ending the prospect of a head to head race with Smithard.
Carolyn Hindle kept things tight on the first leg, and handed over in 2nd place, three minutes down on Jesus OK's Kirstin Maxwell. Peter Molloy raced hard on leg 2, and although he handed over in 3rd place, the gap had been reduced to 90 seconds as Chris Smithard went out on the 3rd stage.
Smithard attacked the front of the race, and a 12.57 leg turned the 90 second deficit into a two minute lead, which Grace Molloy was able to extend by a further minute on the anchor leg to ensure that FVO retained the title once again.
The 'B' team of Laura Hindle, Paul Hammond, Jon Cross and Marie-Clare Shankland was third past the post, but was promoted to silver medal position as it emerged that Nottingham's third runner had mispunched.
The Veteran squad of Ben Stansfield, Josie Stansfield and Roger Goddard was prominent at the front of its race, with Ben and Roger each having the fastest time on their individual leg, and they took the gold medal in an aggregate time of 51.40. over a minute up on Yorkshire side CLARO.
The perfect day for the local club was made complete as the junior team, comprising of Jamie Goddard, Rebecca Hammond and James Hammond beat the North-East Junior team to annex the under 16 crown, the highlight of which was a 15.42 opening leg from Jamie, establishing a five minute gap which was never headed.
With only the season-closing Harvester Relay in Crawley to come, FVO now leads the British Mens Relay Leqgue by one point from Edinburgh University, while the women are 2nd, again by a single point to Edinburgh University.
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