Adventure Racing World Series - spectacular start at Godzone NZ
The race attracted one of the biggest fields in the AR World Series with 55 teams entered and 11 nations represented. The big showdown however was between the current World Champions, Seagate (New Zealand) and the current No. 1 team in the ARWS rankings, Columbia Vidaraid (Spain).
Neither team took a top position for granted as the standard of competition was exceptional, including many strong New Zealand teams taking part. The final result ran to the home team who were in top form with Seagate finishing ahead of the Columbia Vidaraid to maintain their unbeaten record at the 4th Godzone Adventure race.
Photo Credit - Ale Socci Green Pixel
This year's venue was Wanaka in the Southern Alps and this helped attract the record field to race in the surrounding mountains, lakes and rivers. (The venue had previously been used by Eco-Challenge and New Zealand is regarded as the historic home of AR after the first ever expedition race was held there.)
Race patron Steve Gurney, whose team won that first Raid Gauloises said before the start; "I'm pleased to say that the Godzone team made a vow 4 years ago to be true to the sport and they are delivering on it. You'll have special times out there and get to places you never would otherwise. Make sure you finish as mates - that's important. Have a great time!"
The 7 day, non-stop race proved tougher than expected due to bad weather on a course which was often at high altitudes and on fast flowing water. After a first day of non-stop rain, which caused the cancellation of the opening glacier trekking stage, teams had to cope with further rain, high winds and cold conditions for the summer event.
The course took them high into the Southern Alps on foot and on their mountain bikes, on canoe descents of the Makarora and Matukituki Rivers, paddling on lakes Wakatipu and Wanaka, and included a coasteering section and a challenging open water swim, plus a very technical orienteering stage. "I think it's one of the most varied courses we've ever had," said Race Director Warren Bates. "The landscape will keep changing but will always be challenging and will hopefully test the teams and push them out of their comfort zone."
It certainly did. Race winners Seagate took 4 days 8 hours and 28 minutes to complete the course. This was 12 hours longer than expected, and the final results show 14 teams completed the full course, with 10 retiring and the rest either taking a short course route or unranked.
At the finish Nathan Fa'avae, captain of Team Seagate said, "That was the toughest Godzone for sure!" Speaking on the finish line Marco Anselem of Columbia Vidaraid added, "It was such a hard race. There was so much rough country then last night the wind was so strong on the paddle which is why we stopped for a bit. But that is good, it's what we like - a real adventure!"
Columbia Vidaraid and Seagate will not race against each other again until the World Champs in Brazil in November, but they will both race in new AR World Series events later in the year. Columbia Vidaraid are travelling to Expedition Alaska, while Seagate will race in Europe at the Raid Gallaecia in Spain.
The next race in the AR World Series is Tierra Viva, which takes place in Chile between April 11th-20th.