st-HelensOver 100 orienteers flocked to St Helens for the March long weekend for what has become the traditional season opener. 

Day 1 saw orienteers return to part of the Argonaut map for Chiron Chaos - revisiting courses set by Jeff Dunn for...well who really knows why. As we have now blanked most of last year from our minds, it was simply a pleasure to return to the East Coast and brush aside the mental and physical cobwebs of 2020. 

Sadly, this was easier said than done, and a number of orienteers came unstuck in the arduous, mentally challenging terrain. But as always, the cream rose to the top and standout performances by Joe Dickinson, Sue Hancock and Michael Dowling on the Long, Medium and Short courses respectively demonstrate just what can be achieved with a little less talking, and a lot more action. 

Day 2 gave us the opportunity to return to Roger Harlow's backyard - and wonderful map - the Siamese Race for the first OST of the season. With challenging courses by Chris 'the Principal' Brown, the race was well and truly on by the third control, where an abundance of head scratching and colourful language saw the lead change several times in most classes. While most people found their way to the finish in one piece - in some cases, via the start after following the wrong tapes - several evergreen competitors negotiated the tricky terrain better than others - notably Jon McComb on Course 1, Anthony Stoner and Mikayla Cooper on Course 2, Cathy McComb and Bernard 'Big B' Walker on Course 3, David Marshall and Clare Hawthorne on Course 4, and Bec Butler and John Brock on Course 5. In the junior classes, Will Whittington, Riley Kerr, Euan Best, Zali McComb and Callum Degenaar also impressed with solid performances. 

Day 3 involved a sense of déjà vu for many orienteers, not least the course planner and controller, Mike Dowling and Jeff Dunn. After the disappointment of having to postpone (and reinvent) the Tasmanian Middle Distance championships in 2020, Mike and Jeff were thankfully able to wile and beguile us almost six months later with courses that seemed to have increased in complexity over time.  Standout performances included another win on Course 1 by Jon McComb, a nice steal by Sebastian 'the bandit' Burgess on Course 2M, closely followed by Mikayla 'the merciless' Cooper on course 2W; a McComb double on Course 3 with Cathy and Jett taking out the W and M classes respectively, a mere minute apart; another double by Clare Hawthorne and David Marshall on Course 4; and a nice steal by Jo Mitchell and Wayne Griggs on Course 5 W and M respectively. In the junior classes, Eddie Stoner  narrowly missed out on a win on Course 6 and Will Enkelaar comfortably nudged out Callum Degenaar on Course 7.

Thanks to everyone involved for putting on such a great weekend and giving us the opportunity once more to enjoy the beautiful East Coast of Tasmania and all it has to offer.