In a little less than 4 days the first round of the 2008 Superseries will kick off as part of the Waitangi Summer Carnival and will be a chance to see who’s on the best form as we enter the new season.
In the women’s competition it’s expected to be a contest between youth and experience with juniors Lizzie Ingham and Greta Knarston taking on the experience of Rachel Smith and Penny Kane. Over the four races at Labour weekend last year, Lizzie took out the win in two and Rachel in the other two so the stage is set for an interesting battle. Penny was never far off in any of the Labour Weekend races and is known to have the head for big competitions so will no doubt take out at least one of the upcoming races. Greta had an outstanding year last year with a couple of top 20 JWOC places and at the Oceania sprint a couple of months after JWOC showed she can mix it with the best seniors as well. Greta missed the Labour Weekend races but at the Waitangi carnival is expected to show everyone why she’s seen as one of NZ’s big hopes for the future. Other names to watch for podium places are Piret Klade and Kate Rea.
The men’s competition is expected to be a show down between NZ’s two standout male competitors at last year’s World Championships, Ross Morrison and Chris Forne. While Ross was the clear leader at last year’s Labour Weekend events, Chris hasn’t competed in a major competition in NZ for over a year due to study and travel commitments. Prior to that Chris was the usual winner so all will be watching to see if he’s can regain his position at the top of NZ orienteering. Chris and Ross won’t have it all their own way either. Last year’s Superseries winner, Carsten Jørgensen won the most events last year and with the most international experience of any contestant, including WOC medals it’s never safe to write him off. Another of the older brigade who’ll be challenging for the top placings is Darren Ashmore, whose smooth orienteering will mean everyone else will have to be on top of their game if they want the win. The four mentioned above will most likely top the leader board after all four events of the first round but it’s also expected that Jamie Stewart and Karl Dravitski will be to the fore in the shorter races and Neil Kerrison and James Bradshaw in the longer races. The junior men haven’t quite reached the equality with their senior counterparts that the women have but Thomas Reynolds is expected to show that it won’t be long before that’s the case.
This year most of the Junior Superseries events will be run on the same course as the Senior Superseries. Only in the long races will there be different course. The junior competitors can compete and score in both series regardless of which grade they are actually entered in. The women’s junior grade will surely be a battle between Lizzie Ingham and Greta Knarston with many names that could be taking the minor placings – just take the look at the entry list, almost every name there could take out a placing. Thomas Reynolds is the men’s junior grade favourite but he’ll have to work hard to hold off the likes of Jack Vincent and Simon Jager.
Exciting News on how it all went will be posted here on infonews.co.nz , maptalk.co.nz and www.madeventz.co.nz/waitangi/