Wet, Wet, Wet Ė oh and muddy.
Having been forced by Brian to change from the warmest and sunniest day of the year to the wettest and coldest day on record, this years event did a good impersonation of a mud wrestling contest. The A station was located in what started as a pretty wood near Stisted east of Braintree. 1,000 meters of blue dummy aerial wire was used to complement the colour of the Bluebells still in bloom, carpeting the wood. The beauty reduced by the end of the afternoon to a dirty brown quagmire. Richard Witney also started the day in blue (denim), sadly caked in mud by the dayís end. Touch and go if he was going to be allowed back into the house on his return home.
The B station by Birchanger Green was bounded by two streams that ran shallow and clean in the morning, transformed into dark raging floods after the torrents of the day. The operator rescued by the heroism of Andrew Mead who luckily had a very fancy penknife with an inflatable rescue boat on it.
Good signals heard on both stations at the start tempted 13 teams to don waterproofs and head recklessly west or east (depending on political inclinations) into on-coming storms.
As the rain seeped in, madness ensued, one competitor (Roy) finding the B operatorís car at 1.50, overcome, put great effort into running and driving as far away as possible from the station before the next transmission came up. Luckily Peter Lisle had his family at hand to keep him sane and guide him in and out of the B station, then negotiate the bluebells to find the A station by 15.25, a minute ahead of Roy Emeny who had picked up form after a stern towelling by his navigator Graham. Both qualified for the national douching final later in the year. Peterís patient spectacle windscreen wiper system was judged a legal modification at the protest committee hearing after the event. Geoffrey Foster (Third at 15.26) would have been better placed, but at the last minute tried diving round Ian Butsonís legs, rather than going through them, to get to the B station.
Despite the weather most teams managed to slip and slide into two stations by close of monsoon.
The waters got floodier, but could not reach Saling village hall Ė so everyone sailed there to de-soak outside and sink tea inside.
Philip Cunningham, G0NXH
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