The second leg started with a climb up to the fenceline and then a quick run down to the bush and along the track through it. Often the paddocks on Hamlins Hill can be extremely difficult to run through as the cattle have made the underfoot conditions uneven but that wasn't the case tonight. Well, most of the time anyway. The hillside around the third control and the leg to the fourth were typical cow paddock, slow and uneven but the run back down the hill towards the fifth control was faster. I could see Jonty disappearing into the bush ahead and again glanced at my watch. He had regained the time he had lost on the first leg and was now back up to a minute ahead of me.
I took advantage of the track through the bush for as long as I could on my way to Control 6 and then sidled around the hill, avoiding the out of bounds area on my way back to the event centre and the roads for the next section of the race. As I came around the hill I could see Jonty on the track opposite. I arrived at the same point one minute forty seconds later. At least one Elite was spotted crossing the out of bounds but, in his defence, if you look at the second map (below) as he probably was, the out of bounds is not marked on that map.
My route to Control 10 dropped me back down the eastern escarpment and I then had to climb back up to the control itself. It seemed to be higher than I was expecting. My route from 10 to 11 was back down the hill and along the road before climbing back up once more. Guy was in the vicinity of this control getting some action photos. I hammed it up a bit for the camera and luckily these shots don't appear to have seen the light of day. From Control 11 it was back down the steep slope and across the track to Control 12 on the opposite hillside.
I chose to run the track from Control 12 to the vicinity of, and above, Control 13. This turned out to be a bit of a mistake as ignoring the track and running straight would have cut out a lot of climbing and, more importantly, descending at the end of the leg. The slope in the vicinity of the control was truly brutal, so steep that the control itself wasn't visible until I was right on top of it. I was extremely slow both descending to the control and then descending further to the road after punching.
Another long road run followed, taking us back to Hamlins Hill. Control 15 was well placed to give us the option of entering the park from the main road or using the industrial estate on the side of the hill instead. I took the latter option, crossing the fence into the paddock within sight of the control. On the leg to Control 16 I thought I was being clever by re-crossing the boundary fence and running along until I saw the narrow open area leading all the way to the control. In fact, this ended up with a lot of unnecessary climb that could have been avoided by just going straight along the ridge. However, this option was not wasn't without its drawbacks with Jonty displaying an impressive range of scratches from pushing through the small band of vegetation to reach the open ride.
One last run through the bush tracks was followed by the last control, Control 18. A similarly placed control on last year's event had caused no end of trouble after it was incorrectly positioned so I approached the area with some trepidation however this year it was much more straightforward and the control was visible from some distance. Gergo was leaving the control as I was approaching it so I put on an extra burst of speed on my way down the tracks to the finish, hoping to catch him. He had too much of a lead for this to happen. Jonty had pulled away over the second half of the race and had nearly six minutes on me while Dwayne was starting to show the results of an impressive training regime for January and was only a couple of minutes down on me.