World Singles Driving Championships
Jarantow, Poland
28 - 31 August2008


 

Team GBR
daily blog
by Amanda Weiss  

 


List of Competitors
Obstacle Photographs

Official Website


INDEX
Travel day 1 - 22 August
Travel day 2 - 23 August
Travel Day 3 - 24 August
Camp day 1 - 25 August
Camp day 2 - 26 August
Camp day 3 - 27 August
Competition Day 1 - Dressage - 28 August
Competition Day 2 - Dressage - 29 August
Competition Day 3 - Marathon - 30 August
Competition Day 4 - Cones - 31 August
Amanda's Team GBR blog has been updated and sorted in chronological order.

You can use the index on the left to jump to any particular day.

 
Travel Day 1 - 22 August

The Singles Driving Team congregated at John Parker International on Thursday 21 Aug and met up with Chef d'Equipe, Jeff Banister and company (willing and competent support team), for our first overnight stop. We woke at 04:30 and were on the road for 05:30. After sorting out paper work and fees we boarded the 06:45 SeaFrance ferry crossing from Dover to Calais. We all had a hearty breakfast on board and were allowed into the ?professional drivers? area to dine. Angela and team had opted for an even earlier start and caught the P&O ferry at 04:00. After a quick fuel stop we set off for our second overnight stop in Hannover racing stables. We had set up our very own horse trailer convoy and were able to keep in contact with each other by radio, kindly supplied by Lincoln Radios. Team Weiss gave themselves radio handles: Crazy Bear, Wild Pussycat and Happy Panda, whom also were porting their Team mascots ?Harry the horse? and ?Barney Bee? who took centre stage of the dash board waving their Union Jack flags. It was a long and tiring day, the road traffic was heavy in places and it rained for a considerable amount of the day. Needless to say drivers, passengers and horses were feeling very tired by then. Social interaction that evening was limited. The horses and keepers were fed, watered and walked around before we all retired to bed, (not all together). We had heavy overnight rain and so it was moist underfoot. For 2 members of Angela?s crew, Claire and Frankie, were spotted floating down the river, their tented accommodation had turned into sinking banana boat and having to bale it out.

Facilities at John Parkers were good for both horses and people. It was clean and tidy. Parking for anymore that 3 ? 4 lorries is tight. Facilities at Hannover race course for the horses were good. However there were no facilities for campers found close to where we camped.

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Travel Day 2 - 23 August

The following morning we were loaded and ready to rock and roll by 08:00, only to be met by a queue of almost stationary traffic on the A2 (E30) caused by an earlier traffic accident. This added at least an hour to the start of our journey. Each team member made various stops as driving hours had to be adhered to and as and when fuel was required. So, contact between us was on and off all day as we caught up with each other at service station stops. Our destination that evening was CWJ Hypodrom Wola on the outskirts of Poznan. After crossing the boarder in to Poland the smooth German Autobahn turned into a single track A road, whose condition deteriorated as we progressed further into the country. We were surprised by the high volume of freight traffic on this road. We thought all the Polish lorries were back in the UK, but it appears not. Then we hit another traffic queue. When we reached the cause of the hold up we discovered that a round about under construction was half closed and so heavy freight traffic were trying to squeeze pass each other in a small amount of space, slowing up everything travelling. This added another 2 hours onto the driving day! As we travelled along there were abundant advertising billboards for night clubs, displaying scantily clad ladies. These then turned into the ladies in question themselves. Live advertising certainly grabs your attention! We joined the new A2 and this was a good road to Poznan. Hipodrom Wola, a riding school, was good but in need of a lick of paint. The whole of the grounds stands on sand and the grass was a bit thin. We set up camp at the back of the indoor school just before dusk. The horses were stabled indoors. Again, we all fed and watered and fell into bed. It had been another long day and we were all glad to stop and get some sleep.

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Travel day 3, rest day - 24 August

Today was a rest day! Hurray! The horses were taken out and given a leg stretch. Some were ridden and went to explore the surrounding area. We had some time to explore Hipodrom Wola grounds and exercise ourselves too. After lunch, an executive decision was made to go for a bike ride. For some members it had been some time since they had climbed onto 2 wheeled man powered transport. However, in good team spirit, help and support was at hand. Paul and Derek were feeling rather adventurous and took a diversion off into the bushes. When they emerged, Derek was looking rather flushed and breathless and Paul was beaming. Derek was asked if he was ok. ?Oh yes? he responded, ?it?s just like I remember it even after all those years, you never forget how to do it!? After all that excitement it was time to take the horses out. Also parked up at Wola was the French Driving team. They kindly invited us around for drinks and nibbles (some good Chablis and BBQ Polish sausage) that evening. We spent a pleasant hour or so with them before retiring back to our own camp for supper and an early bedtime time ready for another early start in the morning to complete the last leg of our journey to the Jarantow show ground.

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Camp Day 1 - 25 August

Arrival at Jarantow show ground and camp set up. We were all keen to get to the show ground early and set up camp. We left Poznan at 05:30 and jumped back onto the A2, after a very small scenic detour. The site would have been tricky to find as it was not well sign posted, but fortunately Angela had competed here the year before and so knew the way. We arrived shortly after 08:00. Getting onto site was quite slow. Only one lorry at a time was allowed up the single track road to the entrance. Then we had to unload the horses one by one and put them into the stabling before driving to our allocated camp site. The vet examined each of the horses? passports. We were one of the first teams to arrive, we even beat the Germans at throwing our towels onto the sun loungers! Each team had an allocated area to park up in. We are sandwiched between the Irish, to our left, and the Germans to our right and opposite the Austrians. After some debate we managed to organise ourselves in an orderly fashion on our pitch. Jeff organised the magnificent erection of the marquee. Paul got quite excited too! We all loaned a helping hand with the last bit of getting it on to its feet. The parking field is a good size, all the teams being parked down each side. We have a decent amount of space. Also in this area we can graze and lunge our horses. We have electrical hook-up, water, showers and toilet block all nearby. In true British tradition we have elaborately decorated our camp with about 50 Union Jacks, so if you come out to visit you can?t miss us. The rest of the day was spent orientating ourselves, Jeff and Derek when on walk about to find out some of the do?s and don?ts, exercising the horses and getting official identification in place. As only 2 passes for the stabling area were allocated per horse, driver and official named groom, Katrina was a wee bit disappointed when we couldn?t get access for Alanna, Ian?s niece. Alanna is here to help with the Bertram camp activities. But it looks like Katrina will now have to do the early morning feed for Lonarch. Oh yes, by the way, could you put the kettle on while you?re up, please Katrina! Amanda, Caroline?s sister has been nominated as the team?s press liaison officer, so I am writing the daily Blog and Team GB?s letter from Poland in an attempt at trying to keep all of you back at home up to date with our news and event timings etc. That evening we all wined and dined together in the marquee. Ian produced a 5L bottle of wine, which kept us all going all evening. The evening weather has been very pleasant to sit out in and hasn?t had the chill factor we have back at home.

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Camp Day 2 - 26 August

We were all woken by the pre crack of dawn morning cockerel, whom happily cock-a doodled his heart out and whom by 06:00 we all had delicious recipes for! He was later joined by his mate, Mr guinea fowl, and they formed a duet and had a backing chorus of several dogs. The weather has held good for us, much to the relief of Claire and Frankie who are still drying out from Hannover. It was business as usual and the camp was humming with several activities being performed including harness cleaning, carriage cleaning, people cleaning and horse bathing and exercising. There were also preparations for Team GB Pimms party. Ice making was a primary objective. Jeff was busying himself inviting all the nations along to join us for 18:00hrs. Drivers and grooms also could go and view the obstacle course for the first time so this kept everyone busy for a few hours in the afternoon. The initial impression of the obstacles was that they are long and technical. But more about them tomorrow. Our vet, Gil Riley, arrived along with our trainer, David Matthews, in time for the party. The Pimms Party was a roaring success. People just kept on pouring in and we kept on pouring out! Caz, Claire and Mandy were making up fresh jugs of Pimms for ever, while many of us helped serve it to our guests and mingled and chatted with them alike. We think we got through about 50L of Pimms! The Austrians provided some musical entertainment in the form of a squeeze box, a home made percussion device which included a bed pan on a stick.


Team GBR at the Opening Ceremony

The draw was taken and announced for the running orders of both the dressage and marathon. Dressage: Thursday 28 Aug (local time Poland) Ian Bertram: 14:40 Angela Flanagan: 16:40 Dressage: Friday 29 Aug Caroline Weiss: 11:10 Paul Chambers: 16:20

Marathon: Saturday 30 Aug Paul Chambers: 10:06 Caroline Weiss: 12:00 Ian Bertram: 14:30 Angela Flanagan: 15:30

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Camp day 3: Wednesday 27 August

Today was vet check and trot up in hand. Team GBR were due on court at 14:35. We had a practice run on the hard cobbled surface on Tuesday with the blessing of the organising committee and the other nations were soon to observe us and were hot on our tails to follow suit. The rendez-vous with our vet, Gil, was at 08:00 for an early pre-vet check. The sequence of events was discussed and the runners wanted to be sure that they understood what they were doing, so tensions were running a little high. Everyone wanted their horses looking spick and span. So much grooming and plaiting was on-going. And it didn?t stop at the horses, all of the team were immaculately turned out in our Team Toggi clothing. We did look rather smart! Grooming of our horses was made more difficult for us since we were told that our horses could not be groomed or plaited up in our camp. They viewed our portable stabling as an unfair advantage over the other teams because it constituted stabling outside the compound and have banned us from using it. Many of the other teams do have canopies hanging from their lorries and were happily tying up their horses under this. However, even if we were to put down the sides of our stabling and have the same set up as the other teams, the jury seemed to be out when the question was officially asked if this option was allowed. So all of our grooming etc now has to be done in the stabling block and most other teams in the camp. Make sense of that if you will!

Trot in hand was running a little early, but we were ready and waiting. Caroline ran Ian?s horse up and Caz looked after Zak. Paul ran Jimmy up, Marcin ran with Charlie and David ran Tilanus. There were passes all round for all the boys and happy smiles on everyone?s faces. A training session was arranged and David and teams members trotted off down to the arenas for some more practice and training sessions. Then it was back to camp for a few beers before heading off to Nations night. We were very distinctive in Team Toggi clothing. The presence of the Union flag reinforced by paper plates also sporting the Union flag. Our presence seemed everywhere as people ate the food provided by other nations from these plates. The French failed to appear and their chef formally apologised to the chef d'Equipes' briefing the following night. The apology was by way of several bottles of St. Emilion. Our chef reminded them that despite the French being our natural enemies on this occasion, he would unconditionally accept their peace offering in the interest of the sport and world peace.

The Polish put on a good spread of Polish food. All the other nations were invited to bring along food typical of their countries. Angela had brought along a whole stilton and Melton Mowbray pork pies. Ian provided whisky and shortcake to balance the British contribution. It looked like most nations were making a bee line for our offerings and the platters soon cleared. They must have liked what we had on offer for nibbles at our Pimms party and wanted more. The evening swung on and again our Austrian friends entertained us with their musical delights. The beer and wine flowed and several members of the camp, who will remain nameless to spare any embarrassment, returned to camp worse for wear. However, in the morning all were bright eyed and bushy tailed. For those of you that may be still wondering about Derrick?s cycling sores, I?d just like to reassure you all that he?s made a full recovery after Gil, donning full length surgical gloves, carefully extracted the bicycle seat from Derrick?s rear. The look of relief on his face said it all and he is walking normally again!

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Competition Day 1 ? Dressage 28 Aug


Ian Bertram in the dressage

Ian and Angela were the first up to represent the Team. Ian was on first at 14:40 and Angela was the last competitor of the day at 16:40. The weather held for us, it wasn?t too hot or too cold and there was a nice breeze. There were various activities to attend during the day, including a drive around course sections A and D for the drivers and an opportunity to weigh your carriage. For the dressage preparation, Ian warmed up for about an hour and half with Lonach in the morning and had about an hour before going into the main competition arena. The series of events for warm up before performing the test was to first go into the general exercise area then into practice Arena B followed by Arena A before being called into the main arena. Both Angela and Ian had time with team trainer David Matthews during the day and before going in. The rest of the team were sitting in the arena ready and waiting to watch and support our competitors. In addition Di Hayes and Sue Mayes had flown out with Debbie Butler and Pippa Jarman to support us too. It was good to see some familiar faces in the crowd and boost the team spirit. Ian was looking pretty chilled and Lonach was going nicely. Both Ian and Catriona looked great and the carriage gleaming. Alanna has gained half an inch in biceps muscle diameter due to all the polishing! Ian entered the arena with presence and did a great test. His score of 55.17 stood him at11th place by the end of the first day. Well done Ian!! We all cheered and waved our flags as Ian and Catriona finished and trotted out of the arena. On speaking with Ian he was really pleased with his dressage and said that Lonach was not being considered being made into quality sausages or sausage meat today.


Angela Flanagan in the dressage

Angela was the last competitor of the day. So she had all day to think about it. I?m not sure if that?s a good thing or not. The carriage looked lovely, everyone in Angela?s camp had had put some elbow grease into the turn out, even if supplying delicious calories, from Claire, to maintain energy levels to put it altogether. Angela looked focused during her warm up. Then she was ready to go in. She did a good and consistent test and gained a score of 62.85. Again the team cheered as she came out. On returning to camp, Angela was smiling. After speaking with her she was happy with her performance and Charlie looked chilled. Team trainer, David, was happy with the day?s performances and said that everyone had worked very hard and driven to the best of their abilities. Coordinating the progress of competitors, vet, trainer and chef d'Equipe through the various stages towards the final arena was made much easier through the sponsorship of team radios by Bates Radio of Lincoln. It was also very easy for the initial scores to be relayed by radio from team members in the grandstands to the competitors on their return to the stable area.


Derrick's broken the bin !

 

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Competition Day 2 ? Dressage 29 Aug

The air temperature chilled and clouds blocked out the blue skies. Had someone rumbled the Gods? The rain started and then stopped and it blew. Then it started up again and then it stopped. It was going to be one of those not so pleasant weather days. The least favourable kind for dressage. But the Brits were not going to be beaten by the conditions. Hell, we have enough weather at home and consider ourselves expert in it. Everyone was well wrapped up and spirits in the camp were buzzing. Final bits of polishing were being done.


Caroline's mascot

Caroline put to shortly before 10:00 and made her way with her Mum secured on the back down to the practice arenas with David. They looked very smart indeed and Zak looked a dream. Caz had made an excellent job of plaiting him up. She needs to teach me how to do that! Zak was warming up nicely and David and Caroline were going through some final polishing steps. Caroline entered the arena with a good pace. She did a lovely dressage, probably one of her best all season. Zak was chilled and did some lovely paces. Unfortunately he just broke his pace in the first canter as he struck off on the wrong leg, but Caroline corrected it as quickly as could. Caroline scored 63.23. She was a little disappointed and felt that if she hadn?t broken pace she would have had a score below 60.00. Caroline and Mum got back to camp, dried off and warmed up and Zak got a nice big juicy carrot for his efforts. He is a horse that is dearly loved and cared for by all of Caroline?s family.

 

Paul was the last on for the dressage in the Brit camp. The weather was not kind for him, Mark and Jimmy. Mark was constantly watering his groin every time he looked down. I?d like to know what he was looking at and why?.! It really was quite miserable, cold and blowing. All the spectators were now being allowed to sit in the covered grand stand, initially reserved for VIPs only. The British supporters were all huddled together waiting for Paul. Paul had to hang around for a little while outside of the arena waiting for the bell to go. Then Paul was in the lime light. He and Mark looked great. Despite the rain he did a good round. Paul?s score was 60.54. Paul was disappointed with his score too, but was philosophical about it, in Paul?s philosophical manner. But when are any of us ever satisfied with our scores?


Team GBR support

A few of us went to pay the beer tent a visit and have a beer or thirty. What an encouragable lot we are. But Jeff and David did start it. So I?ll say no more. It finally stopped raining and we gathered (or stumbled) together in our marquee for dinner. Clare has been doing a sterling job in catering for quite a few people on camp. David has been happy to take up her offerings. However, bringing fresh food away to last the course is tricky and the mince for the lasagne had seen better days. So, the camp has turned vegetarian. David has been tucking into this heartily and is now seriously considering giving up meat and contributing, in a larger capacity, to methane gas production. The evening sky cleared. The stars in the night sky were bright and twinkling away. There?s not so much light pollution out here. Gil enthusiastically pointed out the constellations. It was a pretty sight to see. Tomorrow was a big day, so we all retired. Well we tried to sleep, the Germans had decided to party until the small hours and managed to keep most of us wake. They must have still been annoyed with the fact that we beat them to the sun loungers!

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Competition Day 3 ? Marathon Day 30 August

The promising look to the weather was beginning to draw the crowds in early to the field where all the obstacles were pitched. All Team GBR drivers had risen early to walk them for a final time before the course was closed for walking at 09:50 and as the first competitors approached. It was sunny with a good breeze and not too hot for the horses. We were keeping our fingers crossed that the temperature wouldn?t increase too much throughout the day.

David, Jeff, Mandy, Derrick and Di were all out on the course watching the first few to go through and assessed how well the obstacles were driving. They reported back to camp which routes were looking better for obstacles where the drivers had more than one option to consider. Radio banter was rife from the field. It was ?10:4? this and ?roger? that. Smoky habits die hard, don?t they?

The team had spent time with trainer David discussing options for this section. David was reassuring and encouraging. They had all walked the course together earlier in the week and weighed up the pros and cons of various potential routes. Tactics were discussed. Gil was at the start of Section A to see each competitor off the starting block, making sure everyone was ok and didn?t have any last minute concerns. He also made it to the end of section D and section E for each competitor, so he was kept busy running between these points for most of the day.

Paul was first to go at 10:30. He was looking calm and collected. Mark was smiling and looking forward to the round. Paul had a good solid round. Jimmy worked really hard for him. They came home safe and sound and ended up with 97.02 score and both driver and groom enjoyed their round.

Caroline was next off at 12:00 noon. Both her and Caz were really looking forward to their round. Caroline was confident with her routes and had them deeply embedded in her mind. Zak was looking calm and chilled. He loves the marathon. When he sees the crowds and hears their cries of support he just wants to go! Zak listened intently to his mum?s directions. You could see his ears twitching, listening all the time to Caroline. You can see him asking, ?where next mum?? Caroline decided to go for a tight gap in obstacle 5. It was definitely the least favourite obstacle of everyone. It was tight and very technical. As Caroline squeezed through the gap, there was just sufficient motion to catch the knock- down and it rolled off the top. Oohhh, what a shame. However, she had a good time and was up there with the leaders. She drove Zak around the obstacles brilliantly. Her movements were smooth and Zak responded like a dream. It was a pleasure to watch them.

The team supporters followed each of our competitors from obstacle to obstacle, pouring out their hearts with enthusiastic support. Pretty much everything went to plan and she had a big smiley face at the end. She was met at the finish by a bubbly Diana Brownlie, who was there directing final procedures for the end of the course and checking horse and drivers and asking how they?d got on. Caroline said she?d had a great time and really enjoyed it. This was reflected in her score of 90.34 and placed her 10th in the marathon. Well done Caroline!

Last to go was Ian and Catriona, being the team?s strongest marathon competitors. Ian too was calm and collect and ready and waiting. He?d had a chance to watch a number of other Nations go through the course as he didn?t set off till 14:30. Ian came in strong and Lonach worked his little legs for Ian. Catriona on the back pushing him on too, that little stallion can certainly move! Ian was scoring good times too, up there with the top times.

The team supporters out there in full, again cheering him on. Then he reached obstacle 5. This obstacle was definitely the team?s nemesis! Ian was flying round, he?d decided to take the wider route, but before he knew it he?d broken through gate F backwards. He quickly corrected his course but this cost him. I know no one will be kicking themselves harder than Ian (other than Catriona). But that?s the way it goes sometimes and Ian was not alone in having a missed course. We saw many others do it too and in other obstacles. The other factor that did not bear well for Ian was that by the time he?d set off, the ground had been considerably ploughed up. The ground was very sandy and this of course made it heavy going. On some of the turns the ground looked like a ploughed field.

The grounds men were in and out of the obstacles between competitors filling in the divots and shovelling earth back into the holes made in the ground. This of course made it harder for Lonach and he pulled his little heart out to get round in these heavy conditions. In this instance, we made the wrong decision in sending Ian out last; we should have sent him first. We underestimated the ground conditions and consequently paid the price. But that?s life and we live and learn, so let this be a lesson learnt for future competitions. Ian and Catriona came in safe and sound, even if a little disheartened.

Angela was the last competitor of the day, again. She was the last to go on the first dressage day too, but didn?t seem bothered about it. However, it did allow Angela to go and watch many of the other competitors including the team. She was relaxed and mellow and had even popped down to the shops for bread and milk. Charlie Chase did all he could for Angela, you could see him trying his hardest. The whole team were out following Angela around the course along with all our other team supporters. The Irish were there too. We all cheered and shouted ?come on Charlie? so that that lovely horse could hear us helping to push him on. The ground was really heavy going by now and Charlie pulled and pulled. Angela?s round was determined and accurate. They were home and safe and sound and Angela had enjoyed it.

That evening was presentation evening for the dressage and marathon. Marick, the presenter was quite a character. He?s a cross between Leslie Crowther, who presented The Price is Right and had the catch phrase ? come on down? and someone else, but I?m not quite sure who. Maybe one of the camp could help me out here, please? Anyway the marquee was bursting at the gills. Team GBR planted themselves across two tables and out came the wine. The atmosphere was very party like and all the Nations supported their winners with great enthusiasm, noise (which would have breeched H&S recommended levels) and waving of flags. Patriotism was rife.

All the presented winners had to dance in a circle at the front before returning to their seats. Caroline was up there too to receive a prize for her supa marathon round. Mum was looking on very proudly and tears of joy were in her eyes. All the winners may know how to drive, but when it came to dancing, I?ll say no more. Quite a few people partied on into the night. But for Team GBR drivers, it wasn?t too late a night as tomorrow was the last day of competition. As you all know the cones can make or break you.

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Competition Day 4 - Cones and Closing Ceremony - 31 August

The weather was glorious. By far the sunniest and hottest we?d had since being out there. But that was fine, we wouldn?t have wanted it like this for marathon day, that was for sure. Cones started promptly at 09:00. The course was tight and tricky with 2 box sections and 2 slaloms. There were 20 obstacles altogether. The time allowed was 151 seconds. Again the crowds gathered and all the stands around the arena were filled with spectators and supporters. The atmosphere was buzzing. Team GBR supporters were watching the individual rounds intently and giving feedback to Team trainer, David, about times needed at different sections of the course if we were in with a good chance of getting round in the allocated time.

The turn around of the competitors in and out of the arena was quick and Team GBR had been well briefed by Jeff and Derrick with respect to timings they needed to be there.

Angela was first up. Charlie Chase trotted and cantered around the course and did a good round under Angela?s instruction. She had only 1 cone down and 6.47 time penalties. Angela usually has a good cones round, so for her to go over the time gave the rest of the team a good indication it was a tough course.

Ian was up next. Again, Ian has a good cones and it was his turn to be put to the test. He had a good round with no cones down but with a few time penalties, 6.77. Again this indicated the course was tight for time. Ian was lying 9th in the cones before the break for lunch.

Paul was next up for Team GBR. Today was not Paul?s day for cones. He had 4 down and 8.77 time penalties. I?m sure he?ll sit in the bar and tell you all about it one day.

Caroline was lying in 24th place overnight. She was the last to go for Team GBR. David had briefed her well, explaining at which point and what time she needed to be at if she was going to make the time. He encouraged her to go for it. We know she can do this, so no pressure then. I know that David?s advice and encouragement stood her well. It gave her that extra boost of confidence to go into the arena. Mum was given strict instructions to hang on, whatever! Zak entered the arena with an extended trot. The team supporters sat in the stands, saying ?come on Caroline, you can do this?. All eyes were on Caroline. My stomach was in knots and my hand shaking as I was trying to capture it on video. I was desperate for her to do well.

The bell rang and she circled before going through the start gate. She was off! And off she went. She arrived at cone 8 within the minute as advised. It was looking good. Then she just clipped number 12. We all winced. But she kept on going. She had a storming round! She made the time with a good 3 seconds to spare and just one down. It took her to first place in the cones thus far. We cheered and cheered as she left the arena. We couldn?t have asked for much more and was as chuffed as punch! Caroline finished 8th in the cones. Excellent! That moved her up to a final place of 17th overall in the competition. She was a happy bunny!

It was back to camp for lunch and a breather before heading back down to the arena for the closing ceremony. At this point we bid farewell to David, Gil and Mark who were off to the airport. It was sad to see them go because it was the beginning of the end of our trip. And they were going to miss the closing ceremony.

The closing ceremony started around 16:00 and finished on Monday (well that?s what it seemed like). Marick was up there doing a sterling job of thanking everyone (in the world). Prizes were awarded for the cones. Then the winners of the competition were announced for both teams and individual awards. There were many smiling and happy faces. Team GBR finished in 7th place. Everyone toured around the arena before leaving it. It made me smile as they played ?Congratulations? and ?We are the Champions? pretty much throughout the whole thing. We may not have been on top of the podium this time but British songs filled the air waves all around. (I have video footage should anyone like to see it).

We may have been beaten this time, but rest assured, we?ll be back!! Then it was back to camp again and everything was dismantled and packed away. Many of the teams left that afternoon. The camp was beginning to empty. However, our neighbours, the Germans and their neighbours the French partied on into the night and quite rightly so. It was their turn for victory and glory! We gathered together, the night air was chilly but we sat around laughing and joking (as we did every evening). The Irish joined us too as half their camp had already left. It was our last supper in Jarantow.

We eventually made our way to bed, ready for an early start on Monday and our journey back home to good old Blighty.

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