Rachel Brown finishes in the World Cup Sprint Relay in Česká Lípa, photo: Rob Lines
The second race of World Cup Round 2 was an exciting Sprint Relay with 59 teams taking part. Nations could enter up to four teams with the highest placed counting for the World Cup and podium. Team GB1 mispunched on leg 1, and it was left to team GB2 to secure 17th nation place. At the front it was expected to be a close race between the Swedish and Swiss first teams, with an intriguing contest for third and the other podium places. It went like that for a time as Sarah Hagstrom and Simona Aebersold built a sizeable lead on leg 1, and at the end of the second leg Sweden 1 and Switzerland 1 were just two seconds apart..And over a minute ahead of a group of chasing teams. But then Matthias Kyburz pulled away on leg 3 and gave Elena Roos a good margin for the final leg. So Switzerland won. Sweden 1 were overtaken right at the end by the Czechia 1 team to the delight of the home crowd.
There were a number of non-starters, notably Tove Alexandersson down to run last leg for Sweden1 was replaced by Emma Bjesmo, and Inka Nurminen down to run leg 1 for Finland 1 was replaced by Venla Harju.
The winning team was Simona Aebersold, Joey Hadorn, Matthias Kyburz and Elena Roos.
GB1 was Grace Molloy, Ralph Street, Jonathan Crickmore and Cecilie Andersen. Grace was running well but unfortunately missed control 10, her orienteering getting one step ahead . It did not save her much time, and she finished in third place. Obviously that was a big disappointment, but the team were allowed to continue running, and Ralph and Jonny put Cecilie out with other strong runners. Cecilie did well, keeping company with the others. She finished just ahead of Ana Isabel Toledo of Spain (who were fifth nation) and Andrea Svensson of the third Swedish team (teams 1 and 2 were third and fourth.).
GB2 was Laura King, Chris Smithard, Nathan Lawson and Rachel Brown. They were 30th, which meant GB were 17th nation. Laura was one of the many runners drawn to an inferior route to her control 4 (see the World of O analysis, link below) and lost maybe a minute on the last loop; the others all ran good races. On the last leg Rachel picked up 10 places and at the finish she outran the Norwegian 4th team by 1 second, Germany 1 by 8 seconds, and Germany 2 by 13 seconds..
GB3 was Chloe Potter, Peter Molloy, Freddie Carcas and Jo Shepherd. They were 36th with generally steady runs. Jo had the highest leg placing on the team, picking up 7 places.
There was 4-way gaffling used for the first two controls, a section of course that was repeated at the start of the final loop after the arena run-through, so each athlete ran two of the four gaffles.
Relay start, photo: Rob Lines
Relay Flower Ceremony, photo: Rob Lines
Chris Smithard, leg 2 of the counting team GB2, photo: Rob Lines
Rachel Brown finishes strongly for the counting team GB2, photo: Rob Lines
Peter Molloy, leg 2 for GB3, photo: Rob Lines
Ralph Street gets to the handover at the end of leg 2 as Peter Molloy begins the final loop, photo: Rob Lines
Jonathan Crickmore in company with Kasper Fosser, photo: Rob Lines
Cecilie Andersen had a good run on the final leg for GB2, although the team was already disqualified, photo: Rob Lines