...but is hasn't been that close the last few years.
Last year in England, there was a 57 point gap between England and Flanders, this year only 7 points separated the two. Maybe next year in Germany, the fifteen year long English hegemony will come to an end. The Walloon region became third, with the newly participating Northern French team fourth, The Netherlands fifth and the German Nordrhein-Westfalen region sixth.
The JWOC '97 relay map of Hechtelse Duinen was used today. This means nice open forest, rather large sand dunes in some areas, but smaller ones in others. Combined with sunny weather, although rather cold (-3°C early on), it was one of the days you know why you like orienteering that much.
Last week, De Laatste Post announced a fight between Graham Gristwood and Fabien Pasquasy in the men's elite class, but they were both absent for various reasons. England still had Matthew Crane in the team, along with Nick Barrable and Duncan Archer. Barrable took the overall victory in the Sylvester 5 days on this map 2 years ago, but he wasn't really in great shape during the last Sylvester, so it was unknown what he was up to.
The German team included Alexander Lubina. He should like these fast runnable terrains. Jonn Are Myhren is back in the Netherlands and present at the competition, however, Dutch rules unfortunately didn't allow him to participate in the competition. Instead Myhren won the regional event ahead of the Frencham Tinchant (results
). This course was the same as the junior course from the Interland.
The Walloon team lacked Fabien, but was still strong, with Michel Bastin and Nicolas Sillien. The Flemish team included the three best Flemish runners of the national event last week, so the expectations were high on the Flemish side.
After the race, it was clear that the usual order had to be respected. A clear victory for Crane, 3 minutes faster than Barrable, and 4 in front of Archer. Next up where the three Flemish runners, followed by the two Walloon ones...
Things were completely different in the women's class. Flanders' Miek Fabré was the clear winner here. She was a few minutes faster than the German Esther Doetsch. Places three and four were Flemish again, with Saartje Sallaerts and Greet Oeyen. The best English women didn't participate, but it wouldn't have been easy for them to beat Fabré's time.
England was the strongest in the D-20 junior class, taking the four best positions there. The same happened in almost all of the younger girls classes. This is what decided England's victory.
H-20 saw Flanders' Yannick Michiels in the top position, 1 minute ahead of Germany's Christoph Prunsche and with a two minute gap to French runner François Joly.
In the overall ranking, England scored 245 points, Flanders 238, Wallonia 167, Nord-Pas De Calais 112, The Netherlands 102 and Nordrhein-Westfalen 94 points.ResultsSplitsTeam ranking
, Junior Cup rankingMap regional event
(same map, different course)