The following is an excerpt from Kenora Daily Miner and News Online
Wehner races to four podium finishes
Tim Wehner finished on the podium four times at the 2014 Canadian Biathlon Championships March 11-16, 2014. FILE PHOTO/Daily Miner and News
Kenora’s Tim Wehner raced his way to the podium four times at the 2014 Canadian Biathlon Championships in Charlo, NB from March 11-16.
Wehner’s first race of the competition was the Master Men’s 35 and over 6-kilometre Sprint and he finished first overall with a final time of 0:23:54.0. The time was 3:59.5 faster than second place finisher James Currie.
“I finished in first in the sprint race, so that set me up going first out of the starting gates for the pursuit on Friday, March 14,” Wehner said, noting that the weather conditions were very challenging and caused some delays throughout the week. “We had a blizzard on Thursday, so everything was postponed for a day.”
Wehner said the 7.5-km pursuit was “the most exciting race of my life.” Although he finished third overall with a time of 0:47:42.3, it was how he got there that is jaw-dropping.
“During my third episode of shooting, the trigger fell off my rife which made it impossible for me to fire my fifth shot,” he said. “I had a brief conversation with my coach on the range and decided that I would go ski my five penalty loops and he’d figure out a solution by the time I came back. He then met me at the end of the range with his tool kit and figured out how to reattach my trigger.”
With his rifle fixed, the next challenge was to make up ground on the ski portion of the race.
“I came out of the loops a loop-and-a-half behind the leader of the race, so I skied very, very hard and beat him by six seconds. I’ve never had to bust a gut like that to get there before,” Wehner said. “Unfortunately, because I didn’t fire my fifth round when my trigger fell off, I was assigned a two-minute penalty and finished third overall in the race. It was very memorable.”
In the relay race, he teamed up with two racers from Newfoundland and Southern Ontario to form the trio known as ‘Newfoundmantario.’ The group finished in second place in the event.
The last race of the national competition was the 10-km individual on Sunday, March 16. Wehner continued his dominance, finishing in top spot with a final time of 0:48:42.8, which was over five-and-a-half minutes quicker than second overall.
“The racing was fabulous and it was a beautiful venue,” Wehner said of the competition. “There were a lot of adverse weather conditions to deal with and that made the shooting hard and the skiing challenging, but everybody had to ski the same course and shoot in the same wind, so that was great.”
He also noted the nationals was a good chance to see how he ranks with some of Canada’s best biathletes in his age category.
“It’s nice to be in a place where there’s other people in my age category that I can race against,” Wehner said. “It was great competition.”
With four top three finishes during the week, he said it was the perfect way to cap off an extremely successful season.
“I’m a fairly strong skier and that part sticks with me from season-to-season, but this year I’ve really focused on my shooting,” Wehner noted. “With the help of my shooting coach, I’ve been able to get myself on the podium a number of days rather than just one.”
“I said my goal at the beginning of the year was to go to nationals and do well, so I met my goal.”