That winning feeling

Three events in eight days – it was a busy week!

Having navigated for Mike on a Scatter and had Matt navigate for me on a 12 Car, it was my turn to navigate for Matt on a 12 Car.

It was one of those weeks that had been extremely busy and I wasn’t truly feeling competing on the Friday evening. I’ve had it before, and they’ve ended up being the best nights and this one proved to be no exception!

It was our first SOCC event and having signed on, we were ready to go. The first lot of navigation just clicked, as did the next section, and the next section. Nights where everything clicks feel rare! It was all going well, until a particular lay-by where I just couldn’t get the next section to work. I tried, and tried, but was convinced I had been too slow and had cost us a good night. I got it down eventually, but it had cost us many minutes.

We got back to the pub where the club had put a buffet on, and it was results time. We were first! A real relief having thought I’d been too slow at plotting, and a great team effort. Matt commented on how well it had gone, my confidence and my improvement in map calling. I’ve always been able to do it, but the more events, the more knowledge and experience grows and maybe, just maybe, it’s starting to show. It was one of my most enjoyable events on the maps in a long time, especially having been disappointed with some minor mistakes costing the win the week before with Mike on the Scatter.

I really enjoyed the 12 Car, and with the benefit of hindsight I’m so glad we did three events in eight days with three different crew combinations, because little did we know how much things would change with lockdown and competing again is currently an unknown prospect.


Two nights out in a row

Following navigating for Mike the night before on a Scatter, it was Matt’s turn to navigate for me on a local 12 Car. It was an event and start venue we had been to before, and I knew there was a tricky lay-by slot that the organisers could use early on. Instead, however, they took us in the opposite direction – where there was another tricky slot that saw us drop some time and caused a little confusion and debate on the correct route.

I had the benefit of having navigated the night before and being “match fresh,” but it was nice to drive too; that’s the challenge of having two drivers in the house. We soon righted ourselves, and like the night before, the lanes were really flooded. Some of them were like nothing I’d driven through before, but we got round.

The organisers did a good job in challenging conditions with reroutes etc required, and it was good to be out driving with Matt alongside again. We finished second in class which was a pleasing result.

The event went through lanes in an area where I used to live (and which formed part of my old commute), so it was good to drive some familiar areas and again, know some of the trickier junctions and tricks the organisers could play!

Clueless in Kent

With Matt due to be away with work (his trip ended up being cancelled due to Covid-19), I agreed to navigate for Mike Thomas on a 7oaks Scatter in Kent.

It had been pouring all week and we expected to find the lanes flooded, and they sure were! I was wearing almost knee high waterproof boots and at one particularly large puddle offered to wade through to see if it was passable – it was, but it was at that moment I discovered a hole in my boots…

Mike and I hadn’t competed together before, and one of the things I can find hardest on a scatter is cryptic clues and, of course, planning a good route. The clue planning had shown my lack of knowledge of roman numerals (swiftly resolved the following week with the addition of a new crib sheet for my nav bag!) but with Mike’s help, we’d got everything plotted.

It felt like we were having a good night, but unfortunately there were a couple of locations we got to and we couldn’t find the clues. We knew we had answered 24 questions which was the maximum score for the night, but it was all going to come down to whether we’d got the answers right.

The long and short of it was we got two wrong when we had been at the right locations – one was a maths error on my part. The clue was “add up the mileage on the signpost” and I had 31.5 when it should have been 32 – frustrating when you know you have been in the right place! I’d just miscalculated all the different distances to the local villages, there had been more than 12 and I’d miscalculated when doing it on paper (I felt a calculator wasn’t in the spirit of things!).

The second question we got wrong was “what is the make and type of padlock?” We got the make correct, but not the type and so whilst we’d been to both locations, we got 0 points for those answers.

With Matt’s work trip cancelled, he had entered with Kevin Ablitt on the maps. They beat us by one correct question – two wrong answers and two clues we couldn’t find cost us the win. I like to learn from events, but that was a rather frustrating result.

Second is good but it could, and should, have been better!