Morrison and Simpson win Silva National Orienteering series.

Tuesday 26 October 2010, 1:08AM

By Orienteering New Zealand


A battle of youth versus experience - the 2010 Silva Superseries - culminated with overall victory for youngsters Ross Morrison and Angela Simpson over defending champions Darren Ashmore and Lizzie Ingham at the Wellington Regional Championships.

National middle distance champion Ross Morrison needed just one win from the three races of the final round to clinch the series; a "best 11 from 20 race" format.

With the right mix of speed and navigation, the 25 year old Hawkes Bay orienteer got his win first up in the first race of the three in forested sanddunes south of Wanganui, besting Ashmore by 70 seconds over 12.6 kilometres.

"That's great!" said Morrison after learning of his first Silva Superseries title. "The prizemoney will come in very useful at Uni this year."

Threats to Morrison's tilt at the series title came from both the older orienteers such as Ashmore and former Danish star Carsten Joergensen, and the talented Auckland training group of juniors Matt Ogden, Gene Beveridge and Toby Scott.

Matt Ogden, New Zealand representative at the Junior World Champs in 2010, was in blistering form over the second middle distance 8.8 km race and finished at the top of the leaderboard with just one runner left to finish with any chance of besting his time - former World Champion Joergensen.

It was the closest race of the weekend, and it took the electronic timing to confirm it, but the grimace on Joergensen's face told the tale while the results were being printed.

"It was the second last control," he recounted. "I overshot it and lost 20 seconds."

Ogden won by just 15 seconds, his first big win at elite level, with Morrison another minute back in third.

And what do you do when you are narrowly beaten in your favourite terrain by someone more than half your age?

For Joergensen, who turned 40 on the day of the third race of the round, the answer was simple.

"I just gritted my teeth and went for it" he said, and "this time there were no mistakes."

It took him just 67 minutes 15 seconds to locate the 30 controls on the 11km course in the Wanganui sandhills terrain, with Aucklander James Bradshaw a minute and a half behind in 68:43.

And while Morrison had sewn up the overall Silva Superseries victory, the storming run from Joergensen in the last of the 20 races almost propelled him into second place ahead of defending champion Ashmore.

"It's tempting to finish on a high note" Joergensen replied, when asked if he planned to stop racing in the elite division and run his ageclass. "But then again, maybe not..." he added.

Consistent as always, Ashmore's second placing ahead of Joergensen in race 1 was just enough to hold second place by three points over the series, with Carsten third.

The age-spread in the elite womens Superseries was not as pronounced, with the two main contenders being 22 year old defending champion Lizzie Ingham and 19 year old Angela Simpson.

With 4 and 5 wins apiece, Ingham had the series won again if she could pick up another win and a solid placing, but work commitments servicing seismometers in Christchurch, along with a slow recovery from a fractured ankle, put a stop to her raceplans.

But Simpson wouldn't be able wrest the title from Ingham without at least one victory at the Regional Champs round, as well as a fourth place or better.

Sixth place in the first race for Ingham, and suddenly Simpson was feeling the pressure of racing at elite level.

So she responded in style, winning the next two races by large margins of two and four minutes - and so took out the 2010 Silva Superseries as the first New Zealand junior to do so.

Simpson was "excited" to win the SuperSeries. "I'm now looking ahead to the Sprint the Bay series this summer," she said, "and going to the Junior World Championships in Poland, where I hope to improve on my efforts this year" (she placed 17th).

The Macnut Northerners won the overall team competition from the early leaders Central Scorchers, with Bivouac Southerly Storm in third.

Results - 2010 Silva Superseries Orienteering
Elite men.
Ross Morrison (Central) 143 points 1,

Darren Ashmore (Northerners) 125 points 2,

Carsten Joergensen (Southerners) 122 points 3.

Elite women.

Angela Simpson (Northerners) 144 points 1,

Lizzie Ingham (Central) 138 points 2,

Rebecca Smith (Northerners) 103 points 3.