• Blowing Hot And Cold (Drax B/H Weekend)

    Saturday Teams : 2 Weather : Dry Crowns : 5 Tiaras : 1

    Sunday Teams : 1 Weather : Stupidly Hot Crowns : 1 Tiaras : 1

    Monday Teams : 2 Weather : Stupidly Wet Crowns : 3 Tiaras : 3

    Multi-breed weekends are always interesting and exhausting in equal measures. With dogs racing on all three days and a bypass closure which meant the journey to Drax takes 40 instead of 20 minutes it's also quite tiring. It is however always enjoyable and Rotherham, as always, always put on a fantastic and well organised show. The PA system was, I'm pretty sure, borrowed from AC/DC and meant that even in the farthest corner of the site you could still hear what was being announced.

    Saturday was DogStar Dark Knights and our starter team DogStar Delinquents day to shine, and the weather was mild which was quite nice. Cloud cover stopped it getting too hot. Dark Knights were in first with their team - Sparky, Melora, Arthur, Bedevere and Fidgit. This was Meloras first race back since injury and she started a little hesitantly at first but soon warmed up again and slipped right back in.

    The Dark Knights won the first three races of the morning with Louise putting in some crowns as an added bonus. The team alternated last dog with Fidgit in Red and Bedevere in Blue. As the afternoon session started we were in against Aces, who we obviously don't race under normal circumstances due to their location. We lost the race against them. By race 5 Melora had decided she had had enough and was rested. Despite that we won the race.

    Dark Knights ended the day with a 2nd place.

    The Delinquents team also ran on Saturday with Alva, Jenna, Fern, Lamorak with Neam and Peppa standing in as fifth and sixth dogs. All of the dogs ran beutifully and it was lovely to see Neam and Peppa looking so happy as they ran back with their balls. Alva, Jenna, Fern and Lamorak have all improved and are looking like a great team, all using the box and all returning with their balls in reasonable times. Jenna only hesitated on her way back once which is a major improvement on Scarborough and Fern is looking every bit the open dog. Lamorak was his usual speedy self and Alva was coming straight out of the lane to Julia in nearly every race.

    Peppa and Neam, you're welcome in our starter team any time and you did yourselves proud! Despite putting in a valiant effort the Delinquents came away with a 5th but showed a great deal of promise.

    So Saturday ended and moved into Sunday. Due to the bypass being closed everyone had a longer journey that normal, but that didn't matter, this is flyball after all and we're used to periodic delays. The only team we had running today was Devils - Domino, Seve, Angel, Nahohke, Fizz and Penny so we were looking forward to a relatively relaxed day. Well, as relaxed as you can get at Flyball anyway.

    Devils ran their morning races in the blistering heat, to the extent that Domino was running the last race in his cool coat. There were some excellent, close crosses all day within the Devils team and the racing was close with all teams. We eventually ended the day with a 1st place, a fitting reward for all the teams works, and quite a few sub 22 second times to boot which was superb. Penny, our little just-in-open dog also ran well.

    And so we move onto Multibreed. Always an interesting day as the dogs don't necessarily train together in those teams that often and in the case of Synergy it was slightly more tricky due to Melora's injury. What added to the mix was the weather which was absolutely heaving down. To Rotherhams credit they decided that racing should be limited to 3 legs which was a good call - the lanes were getting churned up at a rate of knots.

    The Synergy team comprising Sparky, Domino, Melora, Nahokhe, Bedevere and Fidgit were first up. It took a few runs for everyone to get into their stride, and with Domino used to running as start dog in Devils, standing aside for Sparky it was nice to see the crossovers being so tight. Since Domino hadn't run with Sparky in competition since May and being a dog that takes a few runs to get used to changes in the running order, both Louise and Teresa were very happy when they got an early crossover since both dogs would have been occupying the start gate at the same time and just got on with it.

    At one point Teresa did run the wrong way while coming out, but that was okay as Keith was practicing his shop front manequin impression and hadn't released Bedevere. 15 love then.

    Fidgit, as all the dogs did had a minor hiccup and wanted more goes. Nahokhe - well, he did what he always does, running up the lane, fetching a ball and running back with no fuss and racing the dog in the other lane. Sometimes it's the consistent, quiet ones that don't get noticed as much but are a key part of the team.

    Melora, bless her, resplendent in her pyjamas performed admirably, despite not having raced until Saturday for a couple of weeks and did her usual Melora speedy thing. To the point that even the box judge mentioned that she was by far the fastest whippet of the day, pyjamas or otherwise.

    Despite our best efforts we only managed a 6th place (in a 7 team div) but did beat both the teams seeded 1 and 2 which was our consolation prize!

    DogStar Selection (or given the mixed team perhaps this should be Dog-Dos or CommStars), Arthur, Angel, Fizz, Merlin and ably assisted by Nellie from Commandos and Arthur being run by Andrew also had to run in the rain. We were originally scheduled for both teams to be in Division 2, but Synergy was moved last minute to Div 1, so clashes were thakfully avoided since without a bit of genetic cloning I'm not sure how we would have coped.

    All the dogs in the team ran well, with Andrew running impecably as start - especially since he does't do start dog in Commandos (seriously - 2 crows and 2 tiaras and you don't 'do' start dog?) and the other dogs running brilliantly. Angel ran well as usual, Merlin was in his element given the weather and little Fizz ran her heart out. Nellie was consistent as usual. Some brilliant racing ensued, sadly they would only finish 4th in their division, but the racing was good.

    Multibreed remind me a bit of the racing at champs. Generally speaking because the divisions are close, so are the races with several going to 4 or 5 legs which is good (unless it's blisteringly hot in which case not so much for the dogs). It was also nice to see some of the Scottish and southern teams that had stayed over on their way back from champs to race with us at Drax. Mixes things up nicely. Don't get me wrong, it's great seeing the same teams when we compete throughout the rest of the year, you get to know people, but it's also nice to have the variety of different teams periodically.

    And with that the last multibreed of the year came to a close (boxing day anyone?). The whole weekend was great and RFT once again put on a brilliant show. We may even camp next year, although given some of the photos from the disco..... yeah, what the hell. Some DogStar team members are on a mission to match us up with the perfect caravan now our tent has been returned, so we'll see what happens.

    Again, thanks to Julie and Keith who kept us company all weekend, even though they weren't actually running a dog on Sunday! Julie, I wouldn;t want your job for all the ice cream at flyball.

    So, onto my awards for the weekend :

    Most humourous photos of the day is a tie with Teresa and Andrew (I looooove start dog photos)

    Most likely to have a box malfunction next time Julia sees him (that post on facebook) goes to Keith

    Most pleasure at getting an early crossover goes to Louise and Teresa (yes really, they were so happy!)

    Most likely to get slapped due to some hilarious photos goes to Paul & Alex

    Most likely to annoy judges and organisers goes to any team that collected their rossies and left

    Many thanks to Rotherham for hosting another excellent tournament, well organised and always a pleasure. Thanks guys.


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