JK'24 Day 4 - Rally for the Relay!

by Steven Scott — 1st April 2024.

Some of the FVO relay medallists from JK'24 Some of the FVO relay medallists from JK'24

The 2024 Jan Kjellström International Festival of Orienteering in the Midlands is at an end, and FVO finished off the festival in some style, with five medals in the relay event.

The very first trophy of the day has blue and gold ribbons on it, as Esme Finch Matthew Owen and Hannah Inman added the Mini Relay title to the Scottish championship one they won 10 months ago. Although none of the three posted the quickest split for their leg, they were consistently excellent at the front of the race when others were finding it tough, and came home in 37.12 for a 90 second winning margin over SYO.

We (briefly) had to relinquish the Senior Mens trophy we won last year. our only win of 2023, but it was only on the table for a little over 100 minutes before it was back in our hands.

The versatility of our Senior Men was demonstrated, with none of last year's winning team in the lineup this time, but it made no difference to the final outcome, as Steve Feltbower was 58 seconds (36.23) back in 2nd on the opening leg, handing over to Jason Inman, who kept the team within touching distance on the middle lap (34.02), with another 2nd-best split. Any doubts about the final result were well and truly despached by M50 invividual champion Dave Godfree, who came out of the blocks like a whippet, and turned a two minute deficit into a four minute winning margin (38.19 for the leg, and 108.44 composite).

It's been five years since FVO Flyers topped the JK Trophy podium, and there was some tough opposition on show, from further east in particular. There were some raised eyebrows when opening leg runner Chris Smithard returned to the arena in 5th (32.56), behind the B team's opener, that maybe this wasn't the year after all.

Cue Hammond Minor, and another Hammond-like performance on the middle leg, which was the quickest (25.11) of the day, and set up Peter Molloy to have a chase at the flag. Peter bided his time, but kept the team in contention, then pounced in the closing stretch to overtake Sprint champion Peter Hodkinson by 12 seconds (31.13) and deny Interlopers back to back titles.

There was more success in the Veteran Womens class, as Natasha Conway (31.43), Josie Stansfield (34.31) and Heather Fellbaum (34.22) all turned in fast splits ofntheir leg to improve the bronze we won here last year into a Silver this time.

The UltraVet class rules give women a 10 year advantage when calculating eligibility, and we've taken full advantage of this to showcase our W60s. The silver medal team from last year of Hazel Dean, Vicky Thornton and Alison Cunningham was reassembled for another tilt at the title, and they didn't disappoint, coming back with the bronze medal this time, in 99.10.

There were some close-run contests which challenged the podium but came up just short, as the 2nd Senior Mens team (Jamie Goddard, Paul Hammond and Ben Stansfield), the Senior Women (Rachel Kirkland, Beccy Osborn and Janine Inman) and the Intermediate Women (Rebecca Hammond, Esme Kelly and Scarlett Kelly) were all 4th in their class.

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