It's going to be an exciting year for UK based adventure racers in 2012 with the formation of a UK AR Club and the launch of a British Championships and National Rankings.
History was made at The Sandford Arms, near Warcop when the UK ARClub was formally established after a race. ‘This was a tremendous level of support, especially considering some had a long way to go home in difficult driving conditions, but the enthusiasm in the room was tremendous', said the newly elected Chairman.
Such enthusiasm is reflected in the aims of the Club; to develop Adventure Racing generally in the UK, and to unite UK racers via the formation of local clubs, facilitating training, individual and team attendance at races. The Club aims to promote excellence as well as social and training sessions, both formal and informal.
British AR Championships and UK AR Rankings
The British Championship comprises a series of races all across the country, from short ‘Sprint' competitions to the longer ‘Expedition' style events, and from many different race providers.
The ranking system is based upon an individual's performance over all AR events in a rolling two year period. Consequently, it offers racers the chance to improve their standing against other races regardless of whether they race in a team or not or actually against each other.
Whilst the idea of British Championship has been muted for some while, it has been two experienced racers Jonathan Mayne and Tom Gibbs that have done a great deal of the hard work in getting the ‘Brits' and Ranking system up and running. Gibbs stated, ‘The goal of both the Championships and Rankings is to promote excellence within the sport and provide teams with additional exposure, helping bring new sponsors into the sport.'
What is Adventure Racing?
Adventure Racing can be a confusing sport, and is often mis-represented in some sectors of the media. ‘AR' is defined as having two or more off-road disciplines (most commonly running and biking) as well as a core navigation element, ie, racers need to navigate around the course, be it a set route or more advanced ‘score orienteering' strategy. Events can last from as little as two hours for a ‘Sprint' up to a week for the longest ‘Expedition' competitions.
Being in its first year, the Championship will evolve particularly through the support of the new UK AR Club. The new Club Committee is chaired by Joe Faulkner, with Tom Gibbs as secretary and Ben Turner as Treasurer, along with an initial committee of three other people. ‘It's a great honour to be the UK AR Clubs first Chair', said Faulkner, ‘but also a challenge and great opportunity'. Plans are in place to appoint further committee posts with an emphasis on regional representation and some other specific roles such as publicity, media, or training.
UK AR Club - Why?
The UK Club will also become the voice of UK racers and offer advice and support to race providers. The Club has taken a leading role in the development of the British Championships and Rankings, and will be taking over the organisation of the annual AR Awards Ceremony for 2013. Previously the annual ‘do' originated from one particular event organiser - Phil Humphries of ACE Races - and was latterly kept alive by a group of volunteers. With the formation of the UK AR Club this is just one example of something that can be planned on a more formal basis, along with other club functions such as regional training meets and social occasions.
Previously the UK has never had any form of AR organisation or club. ‘It's a minority sport with a very strange image! I've been racing for a great many years and had some of my best experiences out there in our great UK countryside but I've also seen races and racers come and go. As a sport we've always shied away too many rules and regulations, but without some form of recognised body we will never develop and move on.' Said Faulkner.
There is a new website under development at www.ukadventureracing.co.uk created by Jonathan Mayne, the website has been created to post races, useful links, facts, adventure racer profiles and results. Mayne is hoping that at some point in the near future the website will be handed over to the UK AR community and help in establishing the wider UK AR scene.
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