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October 15 - No Spring in 2005
February 16 - Melvey Medals At Masters
March 23 - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Wombat

Autumn News 2006

2005 /2006 Team Reports



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Summer 2005 Updates

March 23 - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Wombat

Way back in February Andrew Circosta and Andrew Mock sauntered over to Japan for the Sapporo Ski Marathon. They didn't fare too badly, finishing 17th and 19th in the 50km freestyle event and were also the first two non-japanese athletes. Against our better judgement Andrew Mock's report from the Sapporo Ski Marathon has now been posted in the reports section of the website.

February 16 - Melvey Medals At Masters

Warren Feakes reports on the Masters World Cup in Brusson:

Monday 6 February 2006, Australia won its first Gold Medal for many years in broadbased international competition, courtesy of Camille Melvey. Camille not only took GOLD in the 15 km womens Freestyle at the Masters World Cup in Brusson, Italy, but blitzed all age groups, a total of 96 skiers, with the fastest overall time for the event of 41'56.7. Camille took the lead with her trademark furious double pole from the start in her field of 17 skiers and kept ahead of her main rivals, Nancy Burden of Canada and Valentina Ryabova a nd Marina Smirnova of Russia for the entire race. Camille's finish was spectacular, clearly winning by 34.1 seconds after shaking of close tailing skiers with her strong uphill technique and determination to push hard on the flats while the others tucked and ran.

This was no fluke, these skiers knew Camille from Lillehammer and were determined not to let her hold a lead - Camille's excellent training program prior to competition in Les Saisies in France at 1800 metres, proved itsworth and she outpowered the field.

All other Aussie skiers were pleased with their results today, most achieving results within 25% of their age group winners. The men's team were, Robert Dunn, Zac Zaharias, Peter Cunningham, Warren Feakes (all 30 km Freestyle), Stan MacDonald (15 km Freestyle), Bill Hamilton and Len Harrison (10 km Freestyle). Adrian Blake had a respectable result yesterday in the 30 km Classic. The ladies, Irene Dunn and Debbie Feakes both had good runs in their 15 km free event. These races are quite serious stuff with a broad representation of ex Olympic and World Cup skiers in all age groups. The Russian team are mostly fully sponsored professionals. There is one skier from Canada who was born in 1915 - you do the math.

World masters this year has over 1,100 competitors from 28 countries. Russia alone has over 300 competitors. Conditions in Brusson are mild with mornings of minus 8 to minus 10, sunshine and no wind. Unfortunately, the area has suffered the same fate as the rest of Northwestern Italy with little natural snow and the tracks are mostly manmade stuff, complicating the waxing equations and sugaring the hills. As well, some of the track remains in shade all day.

SILVER to back up - Camille does it tough in 10 km Classic.

Tuesday 7th Feb in Brusson and Camille had an early race for her 10 km Classic. Bob Cranage arrived late last night and Camille was given a choice of two 'Wodonga Bob' prepped skis. In a hot field of 14, including Marina Smirnova and Marina Aleshechkina from Russia, Ragnhild Bolstad from Norway and Kerstin Drexler from Germany, Camille was a slow fifth out of the stadium. When we next caught sight of the pack, after the tough first hilly 5 km, Camille had brushed off the Russians and the Norweigan and was pushing Drexler who was about 15 metres in front. Camille took a scant lead for a couple of km but Drexler overtook her on the last real rise before entering the stadium. Both ladies had nothing left in the tank when Drexler crossed the line 1.3 seconds ahead of Camille in 29'33.1. The Norweigan, Bolstad, was over a minute behind in third place, followed by four Russians. The Russian coach wanted someones guts for garters so we told him a spurious wax story and he shook his head and walked off. Kerstin Drexler is staying in our hotel and has become a chatty friend. She was brought up in the "East" and has two gold medals from previous World Masters. Given slightly faster glide wax (unfortunately my department), I reckon Camille might just have pipped her.

The rest of us were up for 10 km Free Technique and all age divisions were contested at a fast and furious pace. Irene Dunn (Female 03 category) had the best % behind at 21.38% in 31'56.2, whilst Debbie Feakes (Female 04 category) skied her fastest 10 km yet at 32'36.8 with a 23.97% behind and was a respectable 17th out of 23.

The men all had reasonable runs with Adrian Blake, (male 05 category) skiing a 29'03.2, Peter Cunningham (M05) - 30'46.3, Zac Zaharias (M04) - 29'07.6 and Warren Feakes (M06) - 30'16.7. Bob Cranage (M07), Stan MacDonald (M08), Bill Hamilton (M10) and Len Harrison (M11) all had satisfying races. Full results, all races are posted on the website, WWW.MWC2006.com <http://www.mwc2006.com/> .

Next up are relays but we could only manage one team under the restrictive age rules so Blake and Cranage (classic), Feakes and Cunningham (free) will be seen finishing at dusk tomorrow after giving it a go in the 4x5km. Bob Cranage skis 45 km Classic on Friday and the remainder of us have our long distance events on Saturday. Stand by for more bulletins.

Another SILVER at the Masters for Camille Melvey - 30 km Freestyle

Saturday 11th Feb in Brusson and Camille Melvey worked hard against a strong field to take the Silver medal in the womens 30 km Freestyle. Camille went into this event ranked 5th behind Royabova of Russia, Hawkins of Canada, Korhonen of Finland and Haesch of Germany. From the outset, Barbara Haesch was the competition. Camille lost contact with her in the third kilometer and did not regain throughout the race. The following pack was very strong with Camille swapping lead with the next ranked Canadian, Nancy Burden at least half a dozen times throughout the race, the other ranked skiers maintaining threatening positions as well. Burden had stronger downhill skills where Camille's strength and endurance on the slight uphills and climbs was evident. There was nothing in the skis or wax, just technique and grunt. Haesch took the gold a minute and a quarter in front of Camille and Nancy Burden was 8 seconds behind at the line.

Earlier in the week, Wednesday, the fantastic 4 x 5 km relay team of Adrian Blake, Bob Cranage (skiing two age divisions down) - Warren Feakes (skiing one division down) and Peter Cunningham. Took an early final position in the Mens 05 division and maintained their strong final spot until the finish. Congratulations should go to the old farts for holding up their ends of the deal.


The World Masters Championships concluded with a gala diner for the 1100 competitors on Saturday evening in typical Italian regional style. Next years event will be held in the first week of March in Rovaniemi, Finland, inside the Arctic Circle and the home of Santa Claus. Contact Warren Feakes (wfeakes@netspeed.com.au) for more details.

October 15 - No Spring in 2005

That's right folks, it is official - there will be no Spring News this year. Because of the early start to the season in Europe, we are going straight from Winter News to Summer News. Nothing much usually happens in spring anyway. For many athletes on the Australian Team there will be no summer either. Already most of the World Cup Team is in Europe, preparing for the Olympic qualifying races. The first race is only one week away, on man-made snow in Dusseldorf in Germany. Details of the season ahead and news from the team will be posted in the 2005/2006 Team Reports section. Expectations of the team are high, with the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino the main goal for those in the Shadow Olympic Team. Many other Australian skiers will also be in Europe and North America, training for different events and building up experience for the future. Good luck to everyone with their goals,

As for the last few years, very little news will be reported on this site apart from the Australian Team Reports mentioned above. For other news from around the world please look to the links on the upper left-hand side of this page. If any budding young journalists have any news on Australian skiers travelling and competing around the world, please feel free to send in to marslandf @compuserve.com