Event: GF Point 2012
Event type: Foot orienteering
Date: January 14th, 2012
Place: Sobótka, Sleza Massif, Lower Silesian Voivodship
Organizer: Gunfire.pl shopCost: 20 zł ( about 5 Euro )
Event’s website: http://gfpoint.pl
”It’s January, the thermometer shows – 15 degrees Celsius. You have got a map in your hands, your replica on your back and in front of you – the Sleza Massif with 20 kilometers and 10 checkpoints to pass.”
These were the words with which Gunfire encouraged people to take part in GF Point 2012 - the third edition of the airsoft foot orienteering event. This was written in November and looking at the autumn scenery back then, nobody even suspected to see the same scenery on the day of the event. Although there is no “winter” term in the name of the event, everyone associates GF Point with snow and cold temperatures thanks to the first edition of the event where the temperature lowered to – 20 degrees Celsius. However, I do not think that anyone would risk the claim that it was easier in 2012 than it had been in 2010.There were a lot of changes in comparison to the previous years. First of all, the location was different – the Sleza Massif ( previously it used to be the forests surrounding the GFC headquarters in Kryniczno ).
The Sleza Mountain is the highest peak of the Sudetes tectonic foreground and it is a part of the Poland’s Mountain Crown ( it is a total of 28 highest peaks in Poland ) with its height of 718 meters above sea level. I may not seem much, but the terrains surrounding it reach the maximum of 200 meters above sea level so the relative altitude is quite large. From the event headquarters in Sobótka you cannot even see the peak because of some smaller hills just in front of the town and that is why some of the participants underestimated the difficulty level of the approach what lead to some unpleasant effects en route.
The Sleza Landscape Park – most of the event’s route went through it. Besides the different location of the event, the length of the routes was also varied – accordingly 15 and 20 kilometers in the shortest possible option for the Basic and Professional categories ( the categories will be described later on ). A bigger than usual number of contestants met at the start ( 115 people ) and a bigger amount of tasks awaited them at the route. The planning and organization of such a large-scale project was possible thanks to the cooperation with the Selenge company, which has experience in organizing foot orienteering events ( Selenge is the co-organizer of the “Tropiciel” [ “Trailer” ] Adventure Orienteering Rally ). A 20 zł fee was also a novelty. The fee included a hot meal, hot beverages during the route, maps, an insurance and a starter pack which included a kilogram of bb pellets, a memorial participant patch, a Gunfire leash and hat.Rally headquarters –a Junior High School in Sobótka- at dawn:
The general event rules changed significantly in comparison to the previous editions. You were able to chose from two categories – Basic and Professional. The first one required only the possession of a basic uniform set ( no obligatory military footwear ), the route was shorter, less demanding and required the fulfillment of a smaller amount of tasks. The professional category required from the competitors a full uniform set, a replica with a minimum weight of 2,5 kilograms, a vest with a minimum weight of 2 kilograms and a backpack with a minimum weight of minimum 10 kilograms. The route was longer and involved a greater number of tasks. I will not describe other rules while you can familiarize yourself with them on the event’s website ( the link is available at the top/bottom ).
The registration of the participants:
The only thing that the people responsible for the organization of the event could count on, just the day before the event, was rain and puddles. I guess everyone accepted the fact that this will be the first GF Point in mud and below 0 Celsius. However, during the night, Sobótka was visited by a blizzard consisting of snow, hail and other stuff like that. This lead to a pleasant white view outside the window and if those were the conditions down here, you could be almost certain that the peak had a winter in its fullest.
The registration process continued from 0700 hours to 0830 hours, the briefing started at 0840 hours in front of the Junior High School in Sobótka ( the Rally Headquarters ). It was just then, when the competitors received the maps with marked points. At 0900 hours sharp the GF Point’s Main Referee announced the start of the 55 participants who took part in the Professional Category, 15 minutes later the 60 participants of the Basic Category started their journey. The WMASG crew also started their adventure after a moment.
The route was constructed as follows: first of all, it was required to pass 5 points in the town of Sobótka. Those were points which required nothing more than confirmation. Further on, you went to point number one, which was a permit to the rest of the route. The next points ( 2 to 7 in the Basic Category, 2 to 10 in the Professional Category ) were to be passed in any order the participant wanted. All you needed to do was meet the finish line no later than 1500 hours. Moreover, in the Professional Category, the point number 10 was not on the map and the only way to know its location was a positive accomplishment of the ninth point, which will be described later on. So even if someone followed the competitors to the hidden point, you could not attempt to make the task number 10 without a clearance from point number 9. It was required to adapt a proper tactic if you wanted to manage through the whole route.
Not only the number of tasks was bigger, the location itself increased the attractiveness of the event. The contestants needed to prove themselves with both, physical and psychical strength. General military knowledge was also significant. En route, the participants were to disassemble and assemble a AKMS assault rifle, moreover, everyone needed to answer on 10 basic knowledge questions. Some questions related to airsoft, like the built of a replica, the operation of the hop-up system, other questions regarded the knowledge about some polish special forces or weapons. Two of the tasks were typical physical challenges: walking through a minefield and a fitness course. A shooting range was an element that could not be missed. Only the professional category had to climb on the peak of the Sleza where a first aid challenged awaited them. ( The whole route was secured by two medical patrols ).
The two aforementioned points 9 and 10 deserve special attention . The first one, which I said gave the pass to the next point, was situated above a abounded and flooded quarry. A rope bridge was set there and the competitors had three minutes to reach a laminated map ( hanging at half of the bridge’s length ). The map marked the 10th point. Point number 9 – the rope bridge over the quarry:
The hidden point was located at an old, 19th century brewery. The mighty building made an impression and, for the needs of the event, a part of it was adapted into a killing house. The participants received only brief information about the task, they could also see the rules regarding the point, but it was not a subject for interpretation for the rally staff. Making the long story short, you had to think in order to pass the task properly. How did it look in reality? The competitor knew only the entry point, he had no information about the route/way, which he was about to go through. Inside, there were two types of target – friendly and foe. It was required to eliminated all foe targets. As there was no set course or way, the contestant needed to fully clear all of the available rooms. The participants had two minutes to finish the task and to do so they needed to exfiltrate the building before the time runs out. So, even if someone took out all of the targets, but was too long inside the task was not passed. Point number ten ( hidden ) – killing house located in an old brewery:
The first person from the Basic Category set foot on the finish line after 2 hours 25 minutes, the Professional Category contestant reached the finish line after 3 hours and 9 minutes. There were some attractions prepared in the rally headquarters for those who awaited the results announcements which were supposed to take place at 1540 hours. A hot split pea soup was what interested people the most. As in previous years, one could eat as much as he would like to ( still, there was some left ). Besides the hot meal, you could rest in a media corner where war movies, films and photos from the previous GF Point editions were displayed. There were also photos of the recent GF point edition. There was also a typical airsoft corner where one could find a few dozens of replicas – the prizes and a few novelties. Everyone could come and take a look. Point number three, physical challenge – minefield:
So, 1540 hours came on the clock and the final ceremony started with no delays. Like every year, replicas were the prizes – for the Basic Category those from the economical sector, for the Professional Category – quality brand models and cups. Moreover, the City Council of Sobótka prepared some additional gifts. The time spread in the Basic Category was not big. It was 7 minutes between the first and second place, but after adding some penalties it was only one minute between the second and third place. In the Professional Category the podium was dominated by “Formacja Śląsk” , the representatives of this formation took two out of three spots. It seems to be a tradition for them in GF Point – a great respect for those gentlemen :-).
Point number 2 – the shooting range:
Not only those who stood on the podium deserve regards, but all of those who reached the finish line, no matter if before or after its closure. Probably, the prizes were a secondary goal and most of the people came to prove themselves, make it through the route and fight with their weaknesses. Everyone who did that, can be proud because most of the friends I talked to said and underlined the fact about the difficulty of the route. They all emphasized the mountain character of the terrain. Ultimately, at the closure of the finish line, 54 out of 60 people arrived with all points passed. In the Profession Category only 17 people arrived with all the points checked, 8 more came with not all of the points and the rest of the competitors arrived after the 1500 hours. Participants returning from the route:
After having awarded the winners, a surprise prize draw took place. G&G replicas and prizes sponsored by the event’s co-organizer – Selenge.
How can this year’s edition of GF Point be evaluated? The event evolved for sure if it comes to the difficulty level and the scale of the organization. Most of the people that I walked to said that the rote was not an easy one ( just as I have aforementioned ) and that the points included interesting and varied tasks. This event in a unique one and that is why next to the airsoft players, active duty soldiers, willing to prove themselves, take part in it. The GF Point is an orienteering event which has additional elements regarding physical fitness, your shooting skills and things like your knowledge and cleverness. The process of the route planning was demanding itself: you needed to evaluate on which points there might be jams and to which points head in such situations, the analysis of levels and defining the height differences which one needed to come by or just determining on which parts of the route you can run and on which parts one will lose some time on walking through a demanding terrain.
Of course, the event had some minor deficiencies which were pointed out by the participants. Generally, all of them regarded some formal issues. Actually , it regarded some issues that came out from the formal ones, not the organization itself. Resting after returning from the route:
The most common remark regarded the fact that the rules were changed at the beginning of the event. The statement was posted in few places in the rally headquarters, it was also read and interpreted on the briefing. The change regarded the classification rules which stated that you were required to cross the finish line with all of the check points passed before the closure of the finish line. In the final version, a lack of any of the check point did not disqualify from the event, but those who had passed all of the check points
had a priority. Those who arrived at the finish line after its closure were not qualified at all. Despite the fact that the change of the rules in the forms of a communicate and posted statements was valid, seemed to be problematical for the participants due to the
fact that the changes were introduced on the day of the event and with no clear reason. Moreover, the contestants had other things on their minds than familiarizing with the changes in the rules.
The replica corner ( including prizes and novelties):
The second remark considered the lack of a rule regarding the use of means of transport other than your own feet. It was mentioned on the briefing that travelling on foot is the only fair behavior. Unfortunately, there were information about some people who thanks to the kindness of the locals hitch-hike. There was even an incident when one of the contestants pulled over a car belonging to… the organizers… After the event, only one man –Grey – had the courage to admit that he had used such help and he had admitted to it in the rally headquarters, on the same day. Hopefully, the rest understood their mistake. Moreover, the participants declared that this point should be placed in the regulations next year.
Cups for the winners:
The winners of the Basic Category:
The winners of the Professional Category:
Now, all there is to do is wait for the next year’s GF Point. Everything seems to point out that there will be a next edition of this event. There is also gossip that the event will move even more to the South in the mountain range where the probability of winter is higher. Theoretically, locating the event in the South-West part of Poland may be a problem for those from the other parts of the country, nevertheless, it is typical for GF Point that most of the participants come from other Voivodships than the Lower Silesian one, and not necessarily the neighboring ones. Thinking about moving the event, the organizers are considering about securing a sleep over for such contestants. So, there is nothing more to do than congratulate those who reached the GF Point 2012 finish line and say see you next year!
Pictures take by: Piotr Łopaciński, Konrad Pochodaj