2015 GO-4-12 Schools Adventure Racing champs



The GO-4-12 Youth Adventure Race was held on Saturday the 11th April at Kurikapango in the Kaweka Range with 24 Teams from around New Zealand lined up for this the 10 running of the event.  New Plymouth Boys High School stood clearly as the race favourites and set on winning their tenth event making it 10 out of 10. A record 10 teams from Taradale High School entered the 2015 event, but disappointingly they were the only entries from Hawkes Bay.  Taradale were the favourites to win the Mixed for the third time.  The women’s event is too close to call but Taradale has created a lot of depth in its Adventure Racing teams so were looking as contenders for this title too.

It needs to be said that race predictions are anything but scientific, as there are so many factors that can change the fortune of a team during a race. The 2015 GO-4-12 race is always going to test but also reward teams as they are faced with some tough terrain including high peaks and wilderness locations giving great vistas and revealing to the adventurous some hidden gems.  The event is very special and has been described as more than just an event and lifetime lessons and memories are gained. 

As teams lined up at the start line In light rain the teams readied themselves for the day’s activities and by 6am the first light from a subdued sun hinted its arrival and the teams were off on leg one. Possibly to be immortalised in stories for years to come the Stream Scramble section became an epic, with some teams taking 5 Hours to complete.  The issue for many teams was the assumption that the cascading 2m waterfall was the waterfall that the checkpoint was at, but most teams will admit that it didn’t match the map to the land.  But the desire for this location to be the right location outweighed the facts for many teams and the sheep like following mentality took over and many teams returned to the road empty handed.

There may have been in the midfield mess and mayhem, but the leaders were having no such issues and predictably New Plymouth Boys High School were orchestrating a faultless race and easily navigated to the control and back to the TA to start building  their tyre tube rafts for the next section.  Once the rafts were built the teams had to get their rafts checked by the team from the NZ Defence Force and head off on the Oxbow rafting section. Again the top teams flew down the river enjoying the white water, but when the less experienced teams arrived many found it hard going and a few teams withdrew from the race. But most teams persevered and made it to the TA to head into the first Trek.

Teams were faced with a 700m climb to the Summit of Mt Kurikapango before a decent to the Kaweka Lakes. New Plymouth really showed their speed on the descent and looked comfortable and confident. The Next Trek was a change of scenery with native forests and the distinctive grass and clay pan areas that are classically Kaweka.  New Plymouth Boys High indicated that they were not content to just win, but were aiming to collect all controls and points as a result they were racing hard and were leaving it on the course. But the leg was tough and before teams could get to TA2 they faced the ‘Tutaekuri climb’ where over a distance of just 344m the track climbs 212m vertically. “It was the most stuffed that I have ever seen the NBHS A team, by the time they arrived at TA2 they were in need of food, water and rest. But I thought at the time that now they had a good lead, they could get the most of optional check points and do the problem solving and head home with time to spare.” Race Director David Tait said.  Only 5 teams chose to Follow the New Plymouth Boys High School A team (racing under the name Team Clarence) example and completed the two treks. Garin Boys Kia Kaha, HBHS Bogans, St Peters, Taradale Boys and Taradale High School Girls.

The future of multisport and adventure Racing looks bright in New Zealand with so many great athletes coming through with the likes of people like Sam Manson, who at only 23 years of age has not only made an impression of the multisport elite field, but is giving back to his sport. Sam was the guest speaker, safety boater, tail end Charlie and general ‘good guy’.  It is fair to say that Manson was impressed at calibre of the young Adventure Racers cutting their teeth at this event. On the subject of future talent one cannot help but to notice the amazing performance of the Taradale High School Girls Team who finished in 6th place overall and 1800 points ahead of the next girls team. “As I looked around at the teams I could see so much talent and incredibly positive young people who will have a great chance of not only succeeding in their sport, but also in their lives” Mr Tat said.

As teams came off the treks they had the chance to rest the legs and do some problem solving, there was 6 challenge Stations and New Plymouth were the first to complete them all before heading into the Mountain Bike Rogaine. The Problems were Cups (where teams had to make tinfoil cups), The Fill (where teams transported water to a drink bottle from a water reservoir), The Puzzle, the Caterpillar (where teams linked all of their legs and ‘skied’ to a location), The Army Observation and the Army Code Breaker. Many teams after leaving the stations found the Mountain Bike  Rogaine hard as they had not realised that the supplementary map in with their race notes contained the extra forestry roads not shown on the Topographical map. The top teams had no trouble with the navigation and were collecting points at a great rate of knots.

The last mountain Bike Ride was an interesting one that started with a great single track section (cut by the supportive team at Panpac Forestry) that was a hit with the competitors. The ride was mainly downhill which was appreciated by all teams as they headed for the finish after 11 Hours of hard racing.  The navigation was easy and the ‘trail’ was a private forestry road, but one girls team obviously feeling the strain on their brains lost their way.  The girls on realising that they had strayed from the track stopped and set off their Spot Unit and the Race Officials could lead their support crew to them. “When we found the girls, they were in great spirits and warm rapt in silver blankets playing tunes on their cellophane.” Mr Tait said. “I am so grateful that we have the support of Spotnz.com for this event as finding the girls without the Spot Unit would have been very difficult before morning, but with the Spot unit, we were with them within 55minutes of the activation of the unit.” Mr Tait said. 

The GO-4-12 is the National Secondary Schools Adventure Racing Championships and the 2015 event was a test of the best teams in the country and it is obvious that there are some hotbeds of AR (Adventure Racing) with New Plymouth Boys High School and Taradale High School simply ‘smoking’ at the moment.  Taradale High School won the Mixed section and even managed to stop and assist another team, which as an example of the level of sportsmanship and comradery that is alive and well within the sport. It is worth mentioning that team Beauties and the Beast a mixed team made up from students from New Plymouth Boys and New Plymouth Girls would have won the event, but under the NZSSSC one school rule for national events they were unofficial. The Girls division was easily won by Taradale’s THS Girls 1 and Taradale High School also had the most teams in the event with 10 Teams showing the depth of the sport in the school.

The 2015 event had a high level of adventure and a few teams raced hard but were unable to finish the event but learning and the experience outweighs the short term disappointment of not finishing.  One team that were everything but disappointed was The New Plymouth Boys High schools NPHS Team Clarence as they have now won 10 of 10, which as a record that will most likely never be repeated especially when you consider that Hydration is Key their junior team (yr9 and yr10) were 7th overall.  St Peters Owls in the mixed and Taradale Junior Girls were the other two winners in the junior division.   

The GO-4-12 Youth Adventure Race is coordinated by the Kiwi Adventure rust a not for profit organisation dedicated to growing people through challenge and adventure. For more information about the trust visit the Kiwi Adventure Trust website www.kiwi-adventure.co.nz. For more information about Race and to see the full results go to www.go412.co.nz