FVO Flyers claimed a battling bronze medal in the final major championship race of the year to wrap up the overall Men's British Relay League title for 2023.
The team was defending its British Mixed Sprint Relay title from last year, but Scarlett Kelly was the only one of last year's winning quartet in action this year, and she kept tight to the action at the front of the race, handing over in 5th place (15.30), 2.50 off the pace.
Graham Gristwood returned to sprint action for the first time in several years on the second leg, and his experience was vital in bringing FVO back into contention. Gristwood was at one time Britain's top sprint orienteer, with World Cup medals on his record, but limits his involvement now to forest racing, due to persistent calf problems.
He went off like a train in pursuit of early leaders Octavian Droobers, and soon had FVO back in the thick of the action, as he posted the 2nd quickest split on the leg, to come back in provisional bronze medal place (12.29 for the leg, 35 seconds down).
An ankle injury sustained by Peter Molloy in last week's Finnish Relay championship meant his involvement was in doubt right up to race, time, but he strapped up his wounds and raced like a man possessed to keep the team right in contention, as he gained 18 seconds to the lead, returning in 12 minutes exactly to bring FVO to within 17 seconds of the front in 2nd place.
14 year old Rebecca Hammond was handed her top team debut, and had the daunting task of chasing down SYO's New Zealand international Laura Robertson, who has five world championship appearances on her dance-card. Robertson was quickly out of sight, but Rebecca dug in hard to her task and maintained the gap over Octavian Droobers. GB number one Cecilie Andersen got through into silver medal position for BOK late in the race, but Rebecca was able to keep the team on the podium with a leg split of 16.30, posting a composite time of 56.29.
After the four rounds of the relay league, FVO finished on 35 points in the mens competition, having medalled in each round. The FVO women, despite not racing two of the rounds, still ended up in a tie for 3rd place with ESOC.
- West is the Best
- Big success in WEE races
- Juniors retain Jamie Stevenson Trophy
- Major award for FVO stalwart
- Seven Up at the Relays
Filed under: Success