The Rivette QUESTars Adventure Race Series

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The 2011 Questars Adventure Race Series - Event 3


Full race results are available to download and view above. The 2011 Questars Adventure Race Series Leaderboard has been updated with the scores from this race and can be downloaded here.


Photos taken during the event by professional photographer Rob Howard are available to view on the RandR Photos website here, in an album called Questars Adventure Race - Brecon Beacons.

These photos are available for 90 days after the event so do have a look through the album's folders and purchase copies of yourself in action before they disappear. Alternatively, enter your team number in the search box at the top of the page and you'll quickly find any photos of your team if your race number was clearly visible.

Race Report:

The Brecon Beacons event always promised a big challenge. The hilly terrain is probably one of the toughest areas visited by Questars. At the pre event Briefing participants were advised that this big country with big hills and big descents provided a big potential course and the biggest available haul of points available in a Questars to date.

Feedback from teams afterwards confirmed the scale of the challenge described as ‘absolutely brilliant’ and ‘the best one yet’. Another team said it was ‘tough’ and that they had ‘really enjoyed it’. The next Questars on 16 July in the Wiltshire Downs and 3 September in the Cotswold Hills whilst quite hilly are not as tough as the Brecon Beacons.

The village hall at Llangynidr makes for an ideal base from which to explore the surrounding countryside. The transition between the bike and trail run stages was in the adjacent car parking field. From here the highest checkpoint atop Tor y Foel at 551m was clearly visible. Teams filled up with pre event food and drinks and collected a welcome MuleBar gel or bar to help sustain them around the hills.

After the starts teams split fairly evenly between those that decided to bike first compared to those that embarked upon their trail run stage first. Others headed straight to the nearby kayaking transition point on the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal. This made for a great kayaking stage with checkpoints suspended from trees on the south side of the canal. To match the scale of the rest of the course this was a big kayaking stage with 65 minutes available to teams to visit upto six checkpoints whilst paddling the colourful sit on top double kayaks. 

There were key strategic decisions to take too. Whether to go west to collect the single checkpoint in that direction or head east and aim to collect all five checkpoints that way? Most chose to do the latter but some teams were caught out by the time limit and picked up a time penalty for being on the water for more than or beyond their allocated time. But judging by the smiles on most kayaker's faces this stage was one of the highlights of the day.

The bike checkpoints were widely spread over the hills, off road trails and narrow lanes. The course map was cunningly designed to ensure that to gain high points involved climbing high. It was also important to read the map carefully to ensure the variety of allowable public rights of way were followed closely and a useful key to these were included and reiterated at the event briefing. Many teams having made the ascent to the wonderfully scenic ridgeway to the east of Talybont Reservoir had then to decide whether the descent to CPs 25 and 26 below was going to be worth their 75 points.

The biggest views had been promised from far away CP35 which was the goal for many teams. This was set on the edge of some quarries used for filming Dr Who. Teams had been advised to keep alert for daleks and other extra-terrestrials. This checkpoint's location had to be changed from the planned finger post as it had been earlier 'exterminated' and replaced by a big boulder!

Seven teams visited all 15 of the available mountain bike checkpoints. In doing so they covered more than 41 kms of varied trails and routes with significant climb and descent. Tom Davies, the event's overall winner, managed this feat in less than three hours - a remarkable achievement. 

On the trail run stage there were also many different options and potential circuits to choose. Some teams concentrated on the flatter terrain with several checkpoints along the canal tow path and the rocky riverside path adjacent to the majestic River Usk. Others headed out to the higher value CPs atop the nearby mountains to gain some wonderful views. Bluebells were out in profusion and provided a carpet of colour. The high tops of the main Brecon Beacons were clearly visible from much of the course and a few teams stayed over on Sunday to explore them further.

As teams completed their race under the big yellow Finish arch the smell of hot chilli and sausage baps enticed many straight into the Quest Kitchen in the village hall. There were also welcome hot showers to help in the post event recovery. There was a real buzz in the hall in readiness for the prize giving as teams congregated and swapped stories of their routes, the nettles, the hills and the views. Congratulations were issued to all participants upon completing their own personal challenge. Prize certificates were presented to the winners in eleven different classes. These incorporate a cash voucher for any items available on the adventure racing internet retailer

All the Questars Trio places (ie the three stage event including kayaking) sold out well before this Questars' closing date. So if you intend to enter either the Wiltshire Downs Questars or Cotswold Hills Questars it's recommended that you do so quickly online here as available places are being snapped up.


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