This year sees the 38th time that Victorian orienteers have staged the long-distance (formerly called ‘the classic’) foot orienteering championship. And three weeks later mountain bike orienteering celebrates the 10th long-distance championship at Linton State Forest. It is the first time that the same club – Eureka – has staged both events at the end of the orienteering season. A quick comparison of the maps, clubs and attendances at each event discloses a number of interesting facts:

  • Eureka has staged at least one Victorian championships each decade (so has Bayside Kangaroos)
  • ‘Slaty Creek’ in 1985 was officially the largest for foot orienteers while ‘Sulky Track’ in 2004 was the largest mtb-o championships – both events influenced by the fact they were staged as part of world championships carnivals!
  • All existing Victorian clubs have staged at least one event – with Bayside Kangaroos organising seven foot-o and three mtb-o championships to lead the clubs with Eureka close behind on nine.
  • The wettest event would have to be the 1999 Blowhole event when competitors and the organisers had to use four-wheel drive to haul out the infrastructure out of the farmer’s paddock at Hepburn. But the sun shone on the presentations! The 1999 Mandurang mtb-o event would come a close second!
  • The windiest probably was the 1982 Shepherd’s Flat event when the wind blew down the dunnies, the city band played before the presentations and the pins fell out of some new control punches.
  • The only event where complete paper results were handed out to the crowd before the presentations was at White Swan in 1994.
  • The championship map with fewest contours – only six curve around over the whole map – was Kurucaruc Creek in 1979 at Enfield.

So what can we expect in 2006 to outdo these achievements? With entries starting to come in for both events, the organisers are hoping to top the 250 mark at Mt Beckworth and 100 riders at Linton. Chris Norwood (Event Adviser for 2006 Easter 3-Days at Harcourt) has teamed up with Terry Haebich to set challenging courses in the granite tors and beautiful scenery of Mt Beckworth. We confidently think you will enjoy the day – see at least several orchids (one on badges to be awarded on the day), watch wedge-tailed eagles and falcons making lazy circles in the skies above the event, and marvel at the well-trimmed lolly-pop tree on the summit of Mt Beckworth. If you liked ‘Korong Spur’ rocks, then you’ll adore the new A3 sized 1:10 000 view of Mt Beckworth! With the August 2-day at Kooyoora and final tune up at Mt Tarrengower’s granite and cactus, Beckworth will be less scratchy and ideal for those that crave a navigational challenge – not just a foot race at the end of the season. Coupled with the intricate goldmining terrain on Saturday’s middle-distance championships at Sailor’s Falls, this should be a weekend to remember.

Emily Viner, our silver-medal winner from France in 2002, has set terrific mountain bike courses in the bracken-filled, undulating spur-gully terrain west and north of Linton. Famous for the fires that devastated this little town to the west of Ballarat over the past 7 years, Eureka aim to lift the spirits of the locals by staging an event to celebrate the mixed eucalypt forests that have regenerated since the fires. The highlight of the event should be increased numbers in the junior ranks and the spirited competition in all ten year-age groups. So if you missed the national titles in Western Australia, here is your chance for glory at the end of the successful 2006 season.