Super Seven Star in Stirling Sprint

by Steven Scott — 10th March 2018.

Chris Smithard at British Mixed Sprint Relay Chris Smithard at British Mixed Sprint Relay

FVO athletes seized the opportunity of home-field advantage by claiming a maginificent seven titles in the Scottish Sprint Championships at Stirling University.

Last used at national level for the 2009 British Sprint Championships, Stirling University proved an excellent tester of the sprinters' ability to work round an enclosed space, and planner Ross McLennan's courses were widely praised by competitors.

James Hammond started the ball rolling for the FVo victory parade, with sub-ten minute rounds on both prologue (6.38) and final (9.01) to take the spoils in the M12 class, as well as the associated points for the Scottish Urban League. Pre-event favourite Kris Jones was a non-starter in the M21 race, ending the prospect of a head-to-head with GB colleague Chris Smithard, and it was Chris who was able to dominate the class, with victories in both legs (11.37 and 13.59) for a 90 second winning margin, and his first Scottish mens title.

Lewis Taylor took the silver medal in the M21 competition, with a fine second stage (15.28) pushing him past Clyde's Tam Wilson, and the M35 title went to Will Hensman, by nearly 4 1/2 minutes from Paul Clatworthy (ESOC). Peter Molloy was 2nd in the M16 prologue (10.41), but then withdrew from the final, leaving the way open for Pierre Lardet to run on for the silver medal in the class, in a combined time of 30.03.

The Veteran Mens race featured a strong FVO presence, and there were gold medals for Jason Inman (M45) and Ben Stansfield (M50), behind M40 winner Ray Ward (INT). Paul Hammond was steady across both legs of the competition for silver in M40, and Jon Cross won the M50 bronze medal. In M60, Martin Dean was edged out of the gold medal by a single second on the run-in, by Donald Petrie (Clyde), while lower down the age profile, Matthew Inman took his first-ever national championship medal, with the bronze in M10.

With Fanni Gyurko a non-starter in the womens race, amd defending champion Jess Tullie not entered this time, there was an opportunity for a new name to go on the championship trophy, but instead it was a familiar face who topped the podium. Interlopers Claire Ward rolled back the years with an inspired performance to take the W21 crown, capped off by a 14.39 dash in the final. Grace Molloy was 2nd overall, but had the consolation of the W18 title for the 2nd consecutive year as she fought off the challenge of Eilidh Campbell (MAROC) by almost two minutes.

Amongst the juniors, Lizzie Stansfield was the silver medallist on W16, seven seconds off the top step, which went to Alice Wilson (Clyde), Rebecca Hammond took silver in W10 thanks in no part to a strong 12.44 second run, and Kirsty Flint had the bronze in W12.

There was a big early shock in W55 as multiple-time champion Hazel Dean mispunched on the 13th control of the prologue to end her hopes of another title, but she was able to gather herself to post the quickest time of the final (14.22) albeit for nothing more than personal pride. A 19.09 second leg for Cathy Tilbrook was the key to her winning the honours in W50, while there were silver medals for Beccy Osborn (W45) and Jenny Hammond (W40). Finally Lindsey Hensman held her composure to overcome ESOC's Anne Stevenson in the W70 final and claim the bronze medal.

The newly reconstituted Stirling University Orienteering Club had its first outing, on what was familiar terrain, and enjoyed its first success too, with a trio of medals going to Laura Hindle (2nd in W20), Douglas Lee (2nd in M20) and Keiran Watts (3rd in M20).

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