The 2023 Australian 3-day carnival was held from April 7 to 10 in the ACT and NSW, heading from Canberra for the prologue to the Cooma alpine region for the forest events.
The ANU campus on Good Friday provided an excellent backdrop for some fast and furious sprint racing. A mass start for the Elite classes gave our top athletes a chance to race head-to-head. In M21E, Melbourne-based Tassie Forester Brodie Nankervis finished in second place, a mere second behind winner Patrick Jaffe of Victoria. In W21E, the top Forester was Mikayla Cooper in 13th place. In M20E, a very strong showing from youngsters Euan Best and Niko Stoner saw them finish in 6th and 7th place respectively. And in W20E, Liana Stubbs finished strongly in 8th place.
After the prologue, the carnival moved south to the Snowy Mountain region for some technical granite terrain. OT's resident weather god/meteorologist Simon Louis predicted some cold weather, and the Tasmanian contingent weren't disappointed. Or if they were, it was impossible to tell under their beanies and puffer jackets.
Day 1 started with the traditional 'Sledge' mass start, where Tassie was represented by Clare Hawthorne (pictured) and former Tasmanian (and former Sledge bandit/winner) Stuart Lawrie. For the rest of the punters - who actually had to navigate - it was a nominal middle distance event, which didn't necessarily translate into swift times due to the treacherous terrain. Nonetheless, oldies-but-goodies Paul Liggins (pictured) and Chris Brown managed to pull off the win; while in the 'How the hell did they run that fast?' category, Euan Best and Brodie Nankervis also brought home the bacon in M16 and M21E respectively. Anna Dowling, Zali McComb and Nicola Marshall also had solid runs to win their respective categories.
While predictions of a blizzard on Day 2 never quite eventuated, the well-insulated Tasmanian contingent again proved their mettle in the testing conditions. Wearier legs (on the ground) were confronted by longer legs (on the map), with some predictably comical Livelox results. But among the blue fingers and the delirious wanderings, some performances stood out: yet another dominating win by Euan Best, another unfathomable first place by Paul 'I've done my back' Liggins, and a 'daylight second' victory by David Marshall. Meanwhile, the Dowling-McComb-Brown-Marshall victory party continued, this time joined at the keg by Eddie Stoner in Open Hard and Sussan Best in W35AS.
After an overnight thawing - aided in many cases by a surfeit of Easter Eggs and/or beer at the Banjo Patterson Inn - the carnival headed to some open rocky farmland near Berridale, just south of Cooma. When the sun finally emerged from behind Mt Kosciuszko, there was a chill wind in the air and once again the Tassie contingent contemplated their superior cold-weather compass skills. Despite (or perhaps because of) their overconfidence, many came to grief - with wrong-control-descriptions, ridiculous-pink-boxer-shorts-that-wouldn't-stay-up and oops-should-have-checked-my-last-control-code moments the order of the day. Fortunately, some of our level-headed team still managed to snatch victory - or almost victory - from the jaws of defeat. Special mention goes to Simon Louis, whose 8-minute victory on Day 3 catapulted him to 1st place overall, and Cathy McComb, whose Day 3 win was almost - but not quite - enough to launch her to the top of the pile. (While her second place by 26 seconds after 3 days of racing might seem close, in fact it was only the 4th lowest margin of the carnival - the lowest being 3 seconds! Nonetheless, she now regrets helping her decrepit brother Paul over a fence on the way to the 1st control. Especially as he ended up winning M55A by over 40 minutes.)
So that's it for another year! And just remember, if you found competing far too stressful and would prefer an easier way to enjoy your Easter, please contact Christine Brown and throw your hat in the ring for the highly coveted job of Carnival Director, Easter 2026.
Top Tassie orienteers at Easter 2023:
Sophie Best - W18A
Val Brammall - W80A
Euan Best - M16A
Simon Louis - M40A
Paul Liggins - M55A
David Marshall - M70A
Nicola Marshall - W21AS
Anna Dowling - W21 Sport
Christine Brown - W55AS
Zali McComb - W20 Sport
Brodie Nankervis - M21E
Cathy McComb - W50A
John McComb - M45A
Eddie Stoner - Open Hard
Eleanor McClean - W21 Sport
Sussan Best - W35AS
Beatrix Louis - W12A
Sue Hancock - W55A
Anthony Stoner - M21 Sport
1st Place in a Made Up Category (and winner of the coveted pink boxer shorts)
Clare Hawthorne - Sister Sledge (1st woman in Sledge aka M21AS)
(Thanks, Clare, for this report)