The first three riders set off in fine style, re-appearing stage left a few minutes later. To ribald applause they set off a second time, only to disappear into a celestial time-warp, finally re-appearing at the start an hour later without having passed through any of the check-points, a remarkable performance which completely baffled the race organisers.
The rest of the field proceeded in a more conventional manner, 6th Hamble capturing the Team Trophy for the first time since 1976, as well as taking 1st and 3rd prizes and the prize for the fastest rider under 16. Such a performance from such a young team bodes well for next year.
The pair from Central Explorers came in 2nd and 5th; what a pity they lacked team backing. Again, something sensational next year?
Star of the show was Briony aged 10 who took the Ladies Prize, smartly followed by Ros who rode to the start to accompany her son James and ended up riding the Race.
Despite fairly dry conditions, the course record (27 mm 2 sec by R. Line in 1994) was not in danger. Who knows, 2005 perhaps?
As usual, grateful thanks to Rotrax Cycles of Shirley who provided most of the prizes, and have done so ever since 1959. Also to Camping & Outdoor Centre who put up the Ladies' Prize. And of course to our long-suffering time-keepers and marshals. I hope to see you all in 2005.
John Griffin, Organiser.