Bethan and Danny Fitzgerald – back on the winning track!

Danny and Charlie Oct 2017

Bethan is a full time Veterinary Surgeon and Daniel is a full time Joiner
who both successfully race their Scandinavian sled dogs in their spare time. They have fed CSJ food, salmon oil and herbs for the last 5 years and have excelled in the
sport…

Bethan won the Silver medal at the Dryland World Championships with her 4 dog team and the Gold medal on the scooter at the European Championships.

Daniel has amazingly held the title of 4 dog Scottish champion and British champion for many years and has come close to podium finishes at European and World Championships over the last 5 years.

In July 2016 CSJ received the sad news that Danny and Beth would no longer be racing due to an old knee injury but with the usual determination, they were not quitting the sport which was what they thought was their only choice, but had just changed the discipline.

Sadly racing the big dog teams (4 dog/6 dog) would be no more due to injury but as Danny’s knee benefits from cycling he would be concentrating on the one dog bike-jor from now on. Bethan would also continue to compete in the mono-discipline, the one dog scooter.

In early 2017 Beth said, “The old dogs are retired and are enjoying their walks in the forest and on the beach and the odd Canicross club run.

This year we have had a litter of 10 beautiful puppies due to popular demand. Our first litter has been showing great potential so it was silly to not produce another British litter and I love to watch them all grow and excel in what they do.”

Then in October 2017 CSJ had this fabulous news from Beth ….

“Most people have complained about the lack of warm weather this year but we have been using the cold nights to our advantage as we have managed to start training early. All the dogs have been eating our favourite kibble – CP30 splashed with some Salmon Oil and they are looking amazing as usual – even the oldies!

This year Danny has been working hard losing 5 stone and concentrating on Bike-Jor as this is the only thing his bad knee can tolerate. Charlie is now 6 years old and is looking fit and healthy and very eager to run!

The first race was at the very popular Cani-fit Experience race at Boswell Coach House. The first race is always the big test if your training and care for your dog has been good enough and Danny passed with flying colours, he flew through to first place both Saturday and Sunday!

The Boswell race by Glasgow was en route to the European Championships in Italy. Charlie and Danny shared the long ride with a friend, Vickie Pullin and her dogs and both joined 100’s of people, all wondering how they’d fare against the whole of Europe. The trail was tough and the downhill was fast, Charlie ran his heart out and Danny peddled hard which placed them high up at 16th out of 45.

Charlie is 6 years old now and still runs like a 2 year old. He looks nice and lean and bulging with muscle bulk and a shiny coat.”

The next race is in a few weeks’ time, another long journey, this time to Poland for the World Championships. Hard training for both dog and human continues!”

Here’s the full story of Bethan and Danny’s journey with their dogs…

How it all started

Bethan and Danny spent most of their lives growing up in Wales and have lived and travelled all over the World but in 2005 they both decided to settle down and get a dog and this is when their lives took a big turn in a direction that was never predicted!

Danny decided to get a Malamute puppy and Bethan got a German Wire-haired Pointer puppy.  At puppy class they started talking to sled dog people and they become more and more interested in the sport, the Malamute was a natural but it took a while to get the pointer running!

In 2006 they moved to Edinburgh so that Bethan could follow her dream to become a vet. They wanted to continue with the sport so joined the Sled Dog Association of Scotland who accepts any capable breed, they were welcomed with open arms and learned so much from people like Keith Johnston, Steven Lyndsay and Shane Murray, who encouraged them to be the best and have a lot of fun doing it!

3 years later they had gained another German wire-haired pointer to make a 2 dog team for Beth and 4 Scandanavian Hounds to make a 4 dog team for Danny and by 2015 the pack had increased to 12, aged between 10 months to 11 years, all playing a very important role in the sport and the family.

From 2014 until injury stopped play in 2016:

Danny’s truly remarkable 2014-2015 season:

4 dog SDAS Champion

3 dog SDAS Champion

4 dog National Champion

Bike-jor National Champion

Silver 3 dog scooter National Championships

4th at the IFSS European Championships, Paris 6 dog class (fastest in the World) out of 35 competitors.

8th at the European Bike-jor Championships, South France out of 40 competitors

THEN … Bethan got Gold in the European Cani-cross Championships 2015

 

Here’s what Bethan told CSJ about the Championships…….

“The European Cani-cross championships in Scotland finally arrived, the dogs looking lean, shiny coated and full of muscle.

Danny entered the bike-jor and Bethan the scooter but which dog would they choose!

The trail was hilly and thanks to a few days of rain, had some good muddy areas, this was a test of strength and fitness for both dog and athlete!

Looking around in the start shoot, I couldn’t help but look at how athletic the other dogs were and how long legged the human athletes were! But not to worry, our dogs were looking just as good, they have been eating CP30, go-on herbs and storm canis.  The trail was hard with steep hills but our superstar, Charlie pulled like a train, he is known as the mud monster so I had to just let go of the brakes and go for it!!!!”

The whole weekend was “awesome” as we all put it! The British pulled together to put on a fabulous event and a huge big thanks to CSJ too for the sponsorship.

Charlie and I managed to storm way ahead of the competition and brought home Gold!!!! Danny chose our “big” Harry as his bike dog and managed a fantastic 7th place, the bike men’s class is the most popular and competitive of all.”

AND then… Fitzgeralds’ team effort gains Silver in World Championships 2015!!

Here’s what Bethan and Danny told CSJ:

“Team effort from the Fitzgerald family wins a Silver in the World Championships!!

Danny and Beth recently embarked on a mammoth trip, flying their dogs to Canada to compete at the dry-land World Championships. Alongside four other Team mates, they all managed to work together to complete the almost impossible task of getting dogs and equipment from A to B and keep them well hydrated, fed and supple!

The dogs took everything thing in their stride, after a few days of jet-lag and TLC, they performed better than they ever have done. Beth said “I had tears of pride for my dogs in my eyes for most of the time!!!”

They stayed on the same feeding regime and they kept their weights and condition well. One of the dogs ran 2 days with Danny on the bike and then in Beth’s 4 dog team with no sign of tiredness. Supplements like Storm Canis have a huge role in keeping the muscles fresh and go on herbs gets the maximum energy out of them.

Results:

Bethan won silver, the title of “second fastest 4 dog team in the World!” She says “I’m so proud of my dogs, I had two 7 year olds and two 5 year olds, one of which had already ran the previous two days, they averaged over 21mph, words can not describe the feeling of pride for my dogs”.

Daniel took 8th place on the bike, this was an fantastic result as this class had some amazing biking athletes and dogs who have the advantage of training full time.

Beth says “it’s all about what you do with your dogs months before the race, the right food, supplements and of course training. There is no other dog sport that asks a dog to work as hard as he/she can for just the fun of it”.

At home, Bethan and Danny’s two 10 week old puppies are looking amazing with their shiny coats, producing perfect poops and are very big and chunky! They were fed CP27 and then changed onto CP30. Danny says “They prefer it dry and finish the bowl every time. We are very excited to see how they turn out for our future races – next year, the European Championships will be held in England”.

Thanks to CSJ and Storm Canis for their support, without them, silver may have not been achievable.”

Finishing 2015 on a high!!

In their last race of 2015 in December Bethan and Danny both finished on a high!

  • Danny took home Gold with his 4 dog team, achieving the fastest time of the whole rally!
  • Beth also won Gold with her two dogs too, Bryn and Gimli!

Beth told CSJ, “The trails were muddy, hilly and fun. Half the trail was fast but the other half was a slow incline with so much mud so it was hard for the musher to get grip. It all came down to the dogs’ strength and fitness to get the Gold and they did us proud one more time.

Now it’s time for a little rest and back to full training for next month. The dogs are doing fantastic, getting CP30, Go On herbs, Storm and salmon oil. Salmon oil is great in the winter to keep their coats and skin in top condition for fending off the mud and keeping them warm.”

2016 starts with 5 races in 5 weeks……….

Bethan’s two dog team and Danny’s four dog team achieved:

Silver at the World Championships

Gold in the European Championships

Gold in the National Championships

2 Golds in the Scottish Championships

Danny won every one of his races and Bethan’s two dog team won every race except one due to an injury!

Then in July 2016 CSJ received that awful news that Danny and Beth would no longer be racing.

Now at October 2017 they’re back on track in Bike-Jor with the great news at the beginning of this tale

CSJ is delighted for them and wishing them both well for the trip to Poland for the World Championships – watch this space, their story continues…

Contact details: rafiki_beth@yahoo.co.uk

 

Not even a tree can get in the way of Team Spalding’s success

By Colin Spalding

Colin Spalding1

We attended our Final race of the season at Bowlands Trails near Blairgowrie at the weekend and on a very technical, wet, muddy trail.

I was out first on the bike with Dexter and in very difficult conditions for the bike. I had a high speed crash which resulted in me having a head on collision with a tree which resulted in my helmet being cracked all the way through and me with heavy bruising to the left hand side of my body. I managed to complete the trail and lie in 3rd place.

Colin Spalding2

After medical attention, I decided to continue with the rest of my races that day and finished day 1 with a 2nd in the 2 dog nordic scooter and 1st in the 1 dog open scooter.

On day 2 although i was still very sore we had 3 good runs and we moved up to 2nd on the bike and first in the 2 dog nordic scooter and 1st in the 1 dog open scooter. Once again we are so proud of our dogs and what they have achieved this season they have exceeded all our expectations.

Colin Spalding3

We would like to thank CSJ Canine Specialist Foods for their support and products that have kept the dogs in peak condition throughout the season.

Main achievements for season 2017

3 teams selected to represent team GB in the European Championships. Dexter in the 1 dog Bikejor, cupar in the 1 dog scooter and Diamond and Granite in the 2 dog scooter

Diamond and Granite – Winners of 2 dog Aviemore 2017

British championship overall race series

  • Dexter getting a bronze medal in the bikejor
  • Cupar a silver in the 1 dog scooter
  • Diamond and Granite silver in the 2 dog nordic scooter

We also placed in the top 3 in every race we entered throughout the season.

For more information visit our website

Big comeback for Beth and Danny

Fitzgeralds
Wonderful news from Beth and Danny Fitzgerald
By Bethan Fitzgerald
“Danny’s knee is so far better than ever and he’s out on his bike a lot strengthening it up.
 
We’ve been keeping busy with a litter of 10 puppies.They are three weeks old now and doing fine, mum is great but I’m sure she will be walking away in the next week leaving me with all the hard work!!!!
All the dogs are on CP30 and salmon oil at the moment and looking fab.We have been given our best dog, Charlie back from Keith Johnson so Danny is over the moon as he has been able to continue to compete. So far since Danny’s op in December,he has won the two BSSF races which makes him the British Champion in the Elite bike class.
 
The plan next season for me will be getting back on the scooter with Pepsi and Danny will be racing Charlie on the bike. As Danny is ranked number one in the U.K. he has qualified for the World Championships in Poland this November which he will be attending.
 
Out of the litter, we will be picking one boy to race in the future which means I get Charlie and Pepsi for a two dog team – so it looks like we are back in the sport!!!
 
We are planning to race at the British championships next year where I will also continue to be the Team Vet.”
Welcome back to the sport and to the CSJ team, Bethan and Danny.

Three Golds in the crown of Team Spalding

By Suzanne Moore

This weekend was our local Sled Dog Association of Scotland rally at Ford Estates part of the season long championships. Due to heavy rain on Friday the 2.8 mile course was a very technical, very wet and muddy trail.

We were running in the 2 dog nordic scooter with Diamond and Granite who won Gold and they recorded the fastest times on both days for all 2 dog teams.

Dexter ran in the 1 dog open bikejor and had 2 great runs and running 30 secs quicker on day 2 to take the Gold medal.

Cupar at age 9 ran 2 great races and was amazingly consistent to record 2 run times within 2 tenths of a second of each other to win the Gold medal.

We are so proud of our teams with the consistency they are showing over a long season and would like to thank CSJ Specialist Canine Foods for providing the food to keep the dogs in top condition.

Our next race is the SDAS rally at Bowlands trail near Blairgowrie which is the final race in the championship and our final race of the season.

“The dogs are going really well, we’re so proud of them” Suzanne Moore

Team Spalding Silver & Bronze Successes at Thetford

Report by Suzanne Moore

Team Spalding travelled the 600 mile round trip to Thetford at the weekend for races 5 & 6 in the BSSF British Championship & world cup qualifiers. We raced over a 3.1 mile course which was flat, dry and very fast and had 6 great runs from the dogs gaining:

  • Silver medal with Dexter in the Elite Men’s Bikejor
  • Silver with Cupar in the 1 dog open scooter
  • Bronze in the 2 dog nordic scooter with Diamond and Granite

These results were added to the previous 4 races to determine the final positions in the British Championships and we gained:

  • Silver medal with Cupar in the 1 dog open scooter
  • Silver with Diamond and Granite in the 2 dog nordic scooter
  • Bronze with Dexter in the elite mens bikejor

We are so proud of what our dogs have achieved and would like to thank our sponsors CSJ specialist canine foods for their excellent products

BSSF British National Championships Race results from Colin Spalding

By Suzanne Moore

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We attended races 3 & 4 of the BSSF British National Championships at Newborough Forest Angelsey North Wales at the weekend. The course was 3.2 miles long with the first mile on soft sand which made it all very challenging.

Results

In the 2 dog scooter Diamond and Granite ran well over the 2 days to come away with the silver medal. In the elite open bikejor Dexter ran well on the Saturday on his first race on sand and ran 46 seconds quicker on the Sunday to come away with a great 4th place. Cupar running in the open scooter had 2 great runs to come away with a 4th position. He continues to put in amazing performances for a dog approaching 9 years old. The level of competition was extremely high with some great times being recorded.

We would like to thank our sponsors CSJ Specialist Canine Feeds for their continued support.

Our next race is the SDAS championship race at Rothes near Elgin on 21st & 22nd Jan with the SHCGB race at Aviemore the following weekend 28th & 29th Jan.

 

Race report and pics from the Sled Dog Association of Scotland race at Darnaway Forest

By Colin Spalding and Suzanne Moore

This weekend we were racing at the Sled Dog Association of Scotland race at Darnaway Forest near Forres. We travelled up on the Friday and raced in 3 categories, bikejor (Dexter) 1 dog scooter (Cupar) and 2 dog scooter (Diamond and Granite). The course was a mix of grassy trails, hardpack trails, and mud with lots of steep hills and the infamous leafy heights which is a trail along a cliff top covered in leaves.

On day 1, Dexter ran well but unfortunately a crash on rocks covered by leaves dropped us into 2nd place and a fast clean run on the Sunday clawed back some time but not enough to get into gold medal position but we were really pleased with silver. In the 2 dog scooter Diamond and Granite had a great first run and were in 2nd place but on such a physical course couldnt repeat this on the 2nd run and dropped to 3rd which was still a great result in a very tough competition. Cupar in the 1 dog scooter had 2 great runs with the physical course really suiting him and he stormed to gold which is amazing for a dog nearly 9 years old.

It was another great race weekend in amazing surroundings.

A big thank you to our sponsors CSJ for their continued support.

Our next race is the BSSF British Championships race 2 at Newborough forest North Wales on 7th to 9th January.

Colin And Suzanne