Recipe for a good weekend; Get a bunch of people on skis on great snow conditions, and have them fire plenty of shots with rifles and lasers. Add some fun and interesting short events that are not important. Throw in a few hot dogs and soft drinks and give all athletes and the race helpers a prize at the end. These were the ingredients that created a great atmosphere during the Paul race weekend on July 5 & 6.
There was a good blend of first time biathletes with some of the stalwarts & experienced, including a couple of biathletes from the very early days of the sport in Australia.
The first race was the pony express two person relay, which was exciting to watch, with the lead changing a least half a dozen times amongst the 6 adult teams. Girl power prevailed with Lyn and Rachel McKay taking the honours.
The coach/inexperienced combined race went well, with plenty of good instruction and advice provided during the race.
The individual handicap race was another close encounter with the lead changing several times before being won by super veteran Bob Cranage.
The main event was the team patrol, which involved teams of 3 people working together to overcome a variety of silly tasks, problems and activities punctuated by 4 visits to the range. The spectators got the biggest prize, but the first team across the line was team Nicoladia, consisting of Nicolas Wilkinson, Frank and Luke Hart.
The all important ‘Alice Paul best helper’ award went to Jeff Harmer on Saturday, and Toscha Stopar on the Sunday. (the Harmers drove up from Wodonga to specifically help – a great effort).
For Saturday, the ‘Colin Paul top shot’ award went to Bob Cranage, with some good performances on the range. For Sunday, it was close, with some good shooting performances from Rachel McKay, Smiley Hope and Luke Hart, however new biathlete Michael Wilkinson took out the prize, being the most consistent throughout the 4 range visits.
Rachel took out the best dressed award with a lovely pink ballerina skirt.
This was the 5th year in a row that the ‘Paul Family Race Weekend’ has occurred. They have consistently been a relaxed weekend of races that have been good training for the serious end of the season. They have been enjoyed by newcomers and experienced biathletes alike.
Keep an eye on the Australian Biathlon website and expect to see the same weekend advertised for about same time next year.
See you there and then!