Seagate off to AR Worlds
The all Kiwi team Seagate are off to defend their Adventure Racing World title next month. With a large slice of the race in the dark Seagate have the best help you can get.
Photo Credit - Honza Zak
High performance lighting company Gemini Lights has partnered with the world’s number one Adventure Racing Team in a bid to win their third consecutive Adventure Racing World Championship Title.
The elite New Zealand Adventure Racing squad Seagate are favourites to win the 2016 Championships as the countdown to the race begins, with 100 teams gathering in Australia in early next month for the contest, scheduled from the 8-18 November. Teams representing 30 countries will be challenged on a 600km journey through the Shoalhaven region of New South Wales (NSW).
The race will be non-stop mountain biking, hiking, kayaking and navigating with the winning team expected to take 4-5 days to reach the finish line. With teams racing through 10 hours of complete darkness each night, reliable and superior lighting is essential for teams to succeed, Seagate, known for their diligent preparation, will be on the start line with the ultimate lighting systems.
Seagate have dominated the world adventure racing scene in the past 5 years having won 3 of the past 4 World Championships (France 2012, Ecuador 2014, Brazil 2015) and a host of Adventure Racing World Series events. They enter this year’s title race with maximum World Ranking points, the first team in the 25 years of Adventure Racing history to gain the maximum 700 points, which is only achievable by winning consecutive World Championships. It is also noteworthy that team member Stuart Lynch was in the winning World Championship team in Costa Rica in 2013.
The Kiwis have had a quiet year, opting to only compete in one World Series event in 2016, chasing the final round in France. Their absence from the series hasn’t gone unnoticed and all eyes were on the team when they competed in France in early September, and they delivered what has become their trademark, a flawless performance beating a high quality field of French teams to claim victory. Perhaps more significantly though was that they raced without Seagate core team member Sophie Hart, arguably the best female adventure racer the sport has been graced with, who is currently pregnant with her first child.
New Zealand adventure racing prodigy Isla Smith stepped up into team Seagate for the European races (the team also raced the Yeti Adventure Challenge in Denmark) and in doing so she earned her first World Series victory, and at 21-years old, is the youngest person ever to win a World Series Race. But for the World Championships, Seagate has enlisted the racing prowess of the more experienced and accomplished athlete Joanna Williams. Fa’avae reported “Isla is an ultra talented athlete and has a huge career ahead of her, but we felt racing a World Champs in the highest profile team could be a level of pressure she doesn’t need so early in her career. Joanna being older and having done significantly more races was a sensible option and will blend easily into our team”.
The squad for the World Championships will be Fa’avae, Williams, Lynch and navigation ace Chris Forne. There is an additional motivation for the male athletes in the team, they all share the record of World Championship titles with 4 each, and are all keen to make that 5. If the team can win it will be William’s first World Title. As the race draws closer, Fa’avae is confident his team will be ready for action “I think confidence comes with preparation, we know how to prepare for these races and everything has gone well, we’ve been putting in the long hours and key training sessions, we want to have a good race and perform to our best”.
Multi talented Jo Williams
Fa’avae knows more than anyone that Adventure Racing is an endurance sport where there can be many variables and challenges. The last time the team raced the World Championships in Australia, 2011 (Tasmania), Fa’avae misplaced their GPS tracking device for one short stage and the team incurred a 4-hour time penalty, relegating them from first place to third place, a bitter end to a race they had dominated. “There are a multitude of things that can go wrong in an expedition race, it’s the teams that can adjust and adapt the fastest that do well. We’re expecting a tough contest, there are some strong teams competing and the terrain will be testing, with climate and topography” Fa’avae says.
The exact course is not announced until the day of the competition and Fa’avae explains that until they know the course they can’t seriously set a goal and expect an outcome “Because we don’t know yet if the course will suit our style and strengths it’s hard to make a specific goal. We’re fit and ready to race but some courses suit some teams better than others. We’ll be competitive but how competitive will depend on a number of things, difficulty of navigation, how technical the route is, things like that”.
One thing for certain is that the team will not be slowing down when the sun has set. They are well equipped with various Gemini Lights to suit their specific needs. “We require robust lights that can handle all conditions as we can be kayaking at night and racing through torrential rain, whatever the conditions the race goes on. Bright lights are vital for night navigation and also play an important role in managing sleep deprivation. If we’re only getting 3-4 hours sleep per night it can be painful trying to stay awake during darkness hours, but with strong lights that helps. Battery life is an equally important factor, we need to weigh up battery longevity and lighting quality” Fa’avae said.
Spokesperson for Gemini Lights Bonnie Lai says “we’re thrilled to be partnering with team Seagate in this grueling and testing sporting event. Our lighting systems are being used by adventurers worldwide and the fact that Seagate can perform consistently in the harshest of environments is a sound endorsement for our products, everyone at the company is excited about the World Champs and we’ll be tuned in on the action”.