City Safari - NZ's Biggest Rogaine

Upset Win on the Buses

In a brilliant display of speed and strategy, Yvette Baker and Bill Edwards have won the 2010 City Safari. Their margin was 180 points, and that was over NZ rogaining champions Jamie Stewart and Greig Hamilton!

Last year, Edwards was beaten by three minutes. Not a lateness penalty, but with Tim Wilson they equalled the winning score, only to miss out on the tie-breaker of finish time. The winners then were Jamie Stewart and Australian David Rowlands.

This year Edwards fielded a new team. The Irish orienteering rep and world age-group champion joined up with UK's first orienteering gold medallist. Yvette Baker capped a long elite career with a world championship win in 1999, but after marrying a kiwi and moving to New Zealand has only orienteered occasionally. However the pair have entered the World Rogaining Championship, a 24-hour event in the South Island in November. They needed to get in some mileage together.

Their race didn't start well. In the prologue, the men scored 115 by concentrating on the north end of the waterfront, while the mixed team ran all the way to Te Papa but only made 105. Plus they were a minute late.

However, they made their winning move in the first hour of the main event. The pair climbed through Kelburn before catching the Mairangi bus. This took them round the back of Tinakori Hill, just below the hidden quarry of control 81. And from there it was an easy over the top to the cave at 51 and down to Thorndon. And the bus to Newlands. This set them up to zig-zag back through Johnsonville, over Kaukau, and the western suburbs as far as Brooklyn.

The men started through Kelburn too, but without the quarry. They used the train to Johnsonville, and again part-way back; often crossing paths with the winners. But they had yet to climb to #81 (without benefit of bus), and with finish time looming caught a Karori bus downtown. Two-time winner Andy Foster with Ramash Swamy had yet another idea. Instead of heading north, they came back almost through the start to catch the ferry to Seatoun. They finished third. Whereas the original winners from 2004 Al Cross and Nigel Corry got to Seatoun the hard way over Mt Victoria, but picking up scores on the way. They were 4th.

But not everyone was serious. The League of Absolutely Ordinary Gentlemen (aka Batman, Robin, Superman and Optimus Prime) were out to do a few rescues and clean up Wellington's streets. Team Ridiculous aimed to raise the standard of dress on the buses. And the PC (P'ram College) Ninjas had only got one control by the time they bumped into Radio NZ reporter Clint Owens an hour into the event.

Meanwhile Wellington's mayor was sending 400 people off on the 3-hour adventure. They were more likely to be "for-fun" than serious teams; and nearly half were families! Lots of of wheels were in evidence - prams and scooters. Winners Florence and the Machine bussed straight to Kingston, heading for the highest-value point - a trig at Preston's Gully. And returned along the Mt Albert-Victoria ridge for more biggies.

The ferry which left just after the start was a popular choice - so popular that some missed out! Simon Kennett whose day job includes the regional council's online journey planner was one of the lucky ones. With three-year-old Miro in a backpack, "Team Miro" got 9 out of the 10 points in the Seatoun/Miramar cluster, before bussing back to the old museum and 5 more downtown points. They were right in the middle of the results.

And talking of ferries, a team from the Aratere (Interislander) had an interesting voyage: train to Ngaio; train again to Johnsonville; missed the train back but got a Newlands bus instead; which was faster giving enough time for a cablecar trip to the gardens; and finished with 2min to spare.

Back at Queens Wharf, over pizza and sausages, most people were interested in "where did you go?" rather than "what was your score?" The city is full of gems; the quarry on Tinakori Hill; the Alice Krebs cottage at South Head; Preston's Gully; the Patent Slip; the Truby King house. And I bet you didn't know how many eyelashes a kiwi has...

Afterwards, when the aching muscles had recovered, lots of teams sent in their thoughts. "The organisation and course was excellent." "We had a ball." "Great day out with my daughter, and will almost certainly be back next year." (This from Christchurch!) "Such an awesome event." (From the Aratere crew.) "Great event. The Eastbourne scouts will be back in numbers next year."

That's great to hear. Our new rogaine record of 565 says it too. Roll on 2011!

Click on the photos at left for larger versions. Thanks to Metlink.

  1. The Victors, Yvette Baker and Bill Edwards.
  2. And the Vanquished. Greig Hamilton and Jamie Stewart.
  3. The Ridiculous. Edel Power and Edward Abrahamson
  4. The City Saviours. Batman, Superman, Optimus Prime, and Robin.
  5. Jackie O'Hagan and Tara Donnelly sort out a canny route.
  6. While Hannah Barnes and Lauren Turner are in a quandary.
  7. The field heads past the restored wharf sheds on the prologue.
  8. And races to catch the train to Johnsonville.
  9. Or the cablecar
  10. Wheels were necessary for some.
  11. Others had speedy legs
  12. The lucky ones were able to get a ferry ride
  13. Some were able to get a lift
  14. Refuelling back at Queens Wharf
  15. And the winners could take away the bus...

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