Hector Puts the Ben Nevis Run on Hold
Author : Rob Howard
Waiting on the finish line in Fort William at the moment the wind is gusting and increasing, there is sporadic rain and no sign of Ben Nevis in the heavy cloud and mist. We know Storm Hector is on its way ... and if they give a storm a name you know it’s serious.
In fact is so serious the final mountain run is going to be put on hold. Race officials have reviewed the forecast for Ben Nevis and there are predictions of 100 km/hour winds and snow overnight, so they've decided to hold the final runs until 14.00 tomorrow. Once conditions have eased the runners will be set off up the mountain with the same time intervals as their arrival for the race to conclude.
[The weather on Ben Nevis summit is officially a sub-arctic climate, and it is snow-capped year round.]
After an intense day of racing it is disappointing (and it may be unprecedented in the race history), its also ironic given the first three days of the race had virtually no wind!
At the moment the teams are on their way into Fort William and the race leaders, Wild Spirit and Digital Built Consultants have had an epic tussle all day, pulling away from the competition and almost catching the Challenge team Smithers Purslow, who have motored along the way.
As the teams approach the Corran Narrows it is Wild Spirit who have a very slight lead, and they have had the faster runners on the first two peaks, so are in the best postion to take line honours. The Irish team are doing all they can get back in the lead however, and were flying their Spinnaker in 30 knot winds approaching the Corran Narrows to close the gap!
Whichever of the two lead teams crosses the line first, they won't necessarily win.
On the first two legs Baloo lead on handicap and though they are now some distance further behind they could still take the race win with their much better handicap. (If anyone less tired than me wants to do some maths the ratings are Baloo – 0.916, Wild Spirit 0.979 & DBC 0.984.)
Baloo are planning to continue to the finish reefed down, so may lose some time on the leaders as a result, but at least now their runners won't be going up Ben Nevis in the storm. (They been told and are delighted!)
Team Ajax is now a bit behind Baloo in the Sound of Jura, and have already put 4 team members on a summit in their bid to retain the Tilman Cup, but so too have Baloo. So these two are racing for that cup, and Baloo could potentially still do the double and take both of the main race trophies.
It's still all to play for - but the final outcome will be decided after Storm Hector has passed.
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