I can’t believe it was a full week since we were sat outside at Arbury Hall, sorting out the last minute arrivals and putting up tents. It was a bit weird being there with just Mollie and Dylan; Rio was at home recovering, and we didn’t want to take Kim for her to be sat around all day. She’s a lady of luxury these days!
It rained Thursday night, and we got scattered showers throughout the day on Friday. By the first division it was clear we were going to be running in some serious mud. Mollie’s team got in to the Champs at the last minute due to another team withdrawal, and ran on Friday morning, first thing. They did so well, running their socks off, and came 3rd in their division. There’s a good chance that this is Mollie’s last Championships, and this is the first year she’s not won. She had a blast though, as always!
Dylan’s team also ran on Friday. We did not have such a good day, although we also finished 3rd. Unlike the third team,, I don’t think we ran our best and we lost some legs on silly mistakes that shouldn’t have happened in what is theoretically an experienced team. I have to admit I came away extremely frustrated and very disappointed, but a few hours of reflection and time with the camera gave me some perspective. Dylan ran really well, I am very proud of him. We hopefully have several more years to reverse our bad luck at the Champs, and he was just happy to be there.
Our top team were on Saturday, for the first time. The ground staged some miraculous recovery and the team actually smashed their seed time (which went unrecorded on interference, although all four dogs were able to complete their legs properly). I was on the line for this team and I was so proud of them, they kept cool under pressure and held it together to come 3rd in a very tight Division. They simply weren’t fast enough to beat the Division winners, but this team is still a relatively new lineup (a month old!) so we have high hopes for next year.
Division 1 was amazing to watch, as ever. Very close racing between all the teams! Live Wires took the title again, but it came down to their last race, which went to 5 legs, against Extreme Racers. I was rooting for Extreme to win, along with most of the Northern contingent, since they’ve taken the British Record to new levels this year and were the fastest team in the Division. They have a history of having some bad luck when it comes to the Champs and it struck again, with a light in the final leg. Next year! I’ve also never been as hot in my life as on Sunday, baking sunshine but hot, still air that made us all feel like joining the dogs in the pools. Probably a good job we didn’t!
I always really enjoy the Champs and this year was no different. I do want some major changes within our team however, and without them I don’t know whether I’ll be back for next season. We are due some team talks in the next few weeks and so I will wait and see what the outcome is.