Anna Graham and AH Loop the Loop win the CTR Open class. Photo:Country Road Photography

By Daryl Owen

This year’s Nationals was run by Canterbury Endurance and Trail Riding Club in Springfield.  This club has done much in the past couple of years to grow the participation in the sport, especially among the shorter distance Competitive Trail riders.  It has been a strong season of CTR in both North and South Islands, and it was pleasing to see CTR riders travelling from as far away as Wairarapa to compete at this event. 

The weather leading up to the event looked good, with near perfect conditions on Friday. Overnight the wind approached gale force and continued throughout the day on Saturday, through the CTR competition.  Two contested the 64km Open CTR, with Anna Graham and AH Loop the Loop taking the win.  The shorter distance CTR events had by far the most entries. Paula Kerr and Shardan Shelby won the Intermediate 40km with Debbie Worsfold and Oscar second by 15 points.  Anna Hynes and Lightning finished in third place close behind.  In the Junior 40km CTR it was Emma Watson and Little Victory claiming the title.

Nicki Sonne and Jet Setter were the winners in the 21km Novice CTR.  In the case of equal points in CTR the placings are then calculated on those finishing closest to the optimum time.  On this occasion that rule was used to separate the next three placings.    Julie-Anne Sime and Vogue were awarded second place, third was Marga Marshall and BG Iman and fourth to Jenny Rouse on Marguerite.

Young riders have been a real theme of rides across the country this season.  The 21km Junior CTR was won by Abigail Enstrom on Fernglen Basheera.  Lily Ellis finished in second place on Taurimu Belle View, with Adam Enstrom in third place on Okabella Silver Angel. Nicki Balemia won the 10km class on Gypsy Girl, with Robyn Lewis in second on Rato and Jill Stephenson on Dunelm Magic Tiger in third.  Emma Stephenson won the Junior 10km on Burnside Bracken

Nationals is always a time to showcase the sport.  This year it was particularly evident, with the positive atmosphere of cooperation and goodwill evident to all.  The inclusiveness and family oriented nature of the sport was highlighted with rider ages ranging from 75 to preschool age.  Whole families turned out to compete in CTR, teenage sisters enjoyed time together on track.  Individual competition was strong, but always in the presence of great sportsmanship.  With only a few rides left for the current season all competitors will be looking forward to the release of next season’s calendar so they can get planning the next one.