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The Black Hill
Australian Rogaining Championships 2004
SE Flinders Ranges, South Australia

Full results and photos are available on the SARA website "http://sa.rogaine.asn.au/".

An NSWRA Member Reports ....

Dusk on the jagged Black Range. When we reach the highest point, Black Hill, we have the final glimpse of sunset. A pink, orange and blue mackerel sky hangs directly over distant St Mary's Peak, on the main range of the Flinders Ranges. A keen wind penetrates our light clothing.

Much, much later that night finds us in totally different country. Bare rounded hills, bathed in a diffuse grey light. The full moon is obscured by clouds now, leaving a view with no contrast, no shadows, no perspective at all. A distant hill and a nearby knoll appear indistinguishable, as if there are two hills where the map shows only one. We are wearing a few extra layers now against that cold breeze.

Morning sees us jogging again, along gravelly dry creek beds, or stepping through close-packed pines on the creek banks, or crossing broad open hillsides. The cloud has long gone and the sun warms us. The hours become minutes as we endeavour to clock up one more checkpoint before heading home.

Spinifex, or porcupine grass, covered some areas, and left more than just memories. Several days later I was still removing thorns from my hands.

Those were some impressions left after a great rogaine. The Championships were held this year at Holowilena Station, about 450 km north of Adelaide. The course covered 200 sq km, 48 well-spaced checkpoints, on a 1:50 000 map with 10m contour interval. The terrain varied from broad, flat, open country, to steep and jagged mountains.

I was teamed up with David Rowlands from Victoria, past winner of more championships than anyone else in rogaining, and 2nd in the recent world champs. 'If you can't beat them, join them', was my thought. However there seems to be a generation of somewhat younger rogainers, now with a wealth of accumulated experience, and they proved more than a match for us veterans. But I think we kept them honest - it was a very close result for the top places, see table below. The top two teams cleaned up the course. Sadly we had to drop two checkpoints, having lost time on navigational errors. It was a tricky course so I think all teams had some share of problems.

Remarkably, ACT rogainers took out top honours in all three open classes. They won the Interstate Challenge trophy too.

It's a shame that so many of you missed out on this event. I know rogaining is great in NSW but really you must broaden your horizons! Also I need a bit of support if we are ever going to make an impact in the Interstate Challenge. Having half of one team eligible for points is never going to be enough.

The latest news is that the next Australian champs WILL be in NSW. Actually it's being organised by the Queensland Rogaining Association, but I have heard that it will be on our side of the border, in some magnificent granite country, perhaps near Tenterfield. The date is 21-22 May 2005. Put it in your diary now.

Mike Hotchkis

Selected Event Results

The top 5, plus category winners and all NSW entrants are listed here. 

V=veterans (over 40), SV=supervets (over 55)

Overall Class Score Time Team Members
1 1st M 2670 23:27:28 David Baldwin, Adrian Sheppard, Trevor Jacobs (ACT)
2 1st X 2670 23:54:47 Tom Landon-Smith, Alina McMaster (ACT)
3 1st MV 2600 23:51:02 David Rowlands (Vic), Mike Hotchkis (NSW)
4 3rd M 2470 23:57:15 Nigel Aylott, Darren Clarke (Vic)
5 1st W 2380 23:28:59 Julie Quinn, Emma Murray (ACT)
8 1st XV 2130 23:35:36 Richard Robinson (Qld), Vivienne Prince (Tas)
16 1st XSV 1860 23:13:10 Bill Kennedy, Peter Squires, Anne Kennedy (NZ)
17 1st MSV 1800 23:59:38 Jim Langford, Chip Lundstrom (WA)
59 1st WV 1120 23:09:43 Michelle Chamalaun, Robin Uppill (SA)
92 1st Fam 810 23:49:24 John Soden, Zara Soden, Leith Soden (SA)
96 19th XV 770 23:09:23 Richard Sage, Nihal Danis (NSW)
141 1st WSV 140 04:23:12 Jan Hillyard, Ros Schofield, Sue Weckert (SA)
143 1st XJ 110 22:28:52 Liam McComb, Cathy Harris (SA)
144 3rd Fam 100 23:42:55 Alan Mansfield, Sonia Kupina, Louis Mansfield, Sophia Mansfield (NSW)