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September 3, 2009
By Barry Rollings
AS SCENIC as the Tour de France and
the greatest challenge yet set for con-
testants. That's the tag attributed to this
year's testing venue for the Australian
Defence Cycling Club's (ADCC)
national road championships.
The venue for the event, from
September 24-26, is the Royal National
Park south of Sydney and, much like
the Tour de France, the course will pass
through some spectacular scenery over
But the riders involved won't have
time to stop and take pictures as they
tackle the tough 62km course.
One of the organisers, FLTLT
Matthew Pinkstone, said the rolling
course featured windswept ocean views
in addition to three major climbs and a
hilltop finish, a major departure from
previous ADCC courses that were far less
"Although scenic, the course will pro-
vide the greatest challenge to Defence
riders ever seen at a national champion-
ship," he said.
"It is likely that the differing terrain of
the road races will crown new champions
for both men's and women's categories."
In addition to the elite races, there
will also be a tamer course for the non-
elite road race competitors.
With national champions' jerseys on
the line in each discipline, it is likely that
competition will be even tougher than
in previous years. The winner of each
discipline (men and women) will earn the
right to wear the ADCC national champi-
on's jersey in all events in their discipline
for a year (until the next champion is
For further information on the 2009 titles visit
NAVY women have brought
home the silverware following the
National inter-Service cross coun-
try skiing and biathlon champion-
ships contested at Mt Hotham from
For the second year running the
Navy women's team was victorious
in a tightly-contested competition.
Women's team captain LCDR
Wendy Hughes said it was very close
between all three teams.
"Navy was coming a close second
to Army as we started the ski relay
race, a series of 1km sprints, with a
standard changeover box similar to a
running relay event," she said.
"When the starter's gun fired
the Navy team was led out by AB
Jennifer North of HMAS Cairns.
Considering AB North is new to
cross country skiing, she surprised
all spectators by winning the first leg
of the relay against more seasoned
campaigners. Her determined efforts
placed Navy in a commanding posi-
fast and on my feet to win."
AB North's gutsy efforts in the
relay were backed up the following
day in a 7.5km classic race, ensuring
the Navy women team were winners
"It was hard for me to keep my
cool with everyone cheering me on,"
"My improvement over the past
week intimidated the opposition
and I managed to keep on my feet.
LCDR Hughes was a great team
captain and is certainly someone I
aspire to be like."
Navy women also won the wom-
en's military biathlon trophy, a race
designed to test military skills in the
snow, including navigation, observa-
tion, shooting and general military
knowledge and agility.
"The military patrol event is a
particular favourite of mine," LCDR
"The race is about thinking on
your feet and utilising a range of
The men's championship trophy
was hotly contested, with the Navy
men's team welcoming its first APS
team member, David Drohan, who
proved capable in both marksman-
ship and skiing.
Novice skier LEUT Lachlan
Blyth continued his good form by
regularly placing among the compe-
tition's top finishers, and the men's
team was spearheaded by strong and
consistent performances by CDRE
Mark Purcell, LCDR Garry Lewis,
Women's Nordic team wins again
CMDR Martin Linsley, PO Peter
Sutton and CAPT David Michael.
Senior rifle coach MAJ Daryl
Johnson was particularly happy with
the high standard of marksmanship.
"The Navy team worked very
hard both on the range and during
dry firing, to bring their shooting up
to speed," he said.
"These efforts paid off, with a
number of team members shooting
very well while under the pressure of
"It's not easy skiing into a shoot-
ing range and settling down to hit
targets when you are out of breath.
Following this year's good per-
formances, the Navy team is well
positioned to do well in the future
-- I was particularly impressed with
the efforts of CDRE Mark Purcell,
LCDR Garry Lewis and PO Peter
Sutton who all shot well during the
LEUT Chris Cole showed the
benefits of his overseas competition
period during the European winter
by producing very fast ski times.
"Chris' strong skiing times, com-
bined with his solid shooting per-
formances, mean he is an emerging
strength in both cross country skiing
and biathlon for Defence," LCDR
"Chris also had the added respon-
sibility of being the entire exercise
doctor -- which kept him very busy
Despite the very strong perform-
ance from the Navy women, it was
not enough to pull Navy through for
an overall win. Army was the overall
The team, ably lead and managed
by WO Ian Waller, saw a number of
Navy championship winners.
CDRE Mark Purcell was award-
ed the Navy champion shot trophy;
LCDR Garry Lewis was the Navy
champion male; LCDR Wendy
Hughes was awarded both Navy
champion female and the Brian Read
Coaches' award; and AB Jennifer
North was awarded the most promis-
ing novice trophy.
"I thouroughly enjoyed the com-
petition and will do backflips to
continue participating for years to
come," AB North said.
"I not only made a great group of
friends, I developed leadership skills,
confidence and renewed motivation."
WO Waller said the team had
developed remarkably over the past
"I believe that next year the team
has the capability to win," he said.
"I am very proud of the team's
achievements and believe that we
are on the cusp of regaining the ADF
Anyone interested in more information
should contact WO Ian Waller on (02)
5359 4404 or visit www.skinavy.com Tour de Sydney
SHARP SHOOTER: CDRE Mark Purcell works towards his cham-
pion shot trophy (above). ABMT Jen North helps secure the women's
championship (right), while CMDR Gary Lewis won the men's Navy
champion trophy (below right).
Photos: WO Ian Waller
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