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GODZone 2017: the year of the underdogs?

Saturday 25th February 2017

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Only a few hours into the race, and it’s clear this year has some unsung contenders.

True to their name, the Sneaky Weasel Gang (34) has stormed ahead into the top four leading teams, ahead of last year’s champions; the Yealands Family Wines. They are just behind Torpedo 7 (21), Swordfox (17) and the leaders Tiki Tour (13).

Now their second GODZone event, the New Zealand team’s newest member Isla Smith (pictured) might just be their secret weapon. Isla is an experienced adventure racer, having recently completed an international race with New Zealand multi-sport champion Nathan Fa’aeve.

Whilst it’s still early days, the team looked strong as they pedalled, pushed and carried their mountain bikes up Queenstown Hill. Race Director Warren Bates and Course Adviser Ian Edmond named their top five to win as Yealands Family Wines (31), Torpedo 7 (21), Swordfox (17), Tiki Tour (13) and Adventure Medical Kits (09), but they warn nothing is certain in this race.

“Whilst there are clearly some very strong teams, it’s anyone’s race.” Ian says, “A bike can break, there could be an injury, it can all change in a moment.”

Another one to watch is Mrs Forne’s Boys (09), who are currently in fifth position on the Kawarau River. The team includes 22-year-old Nick Hann, a World Class Orinteer, and adventure race veteran Emily Forne, the wife of Chris Forne, also competing. Whilst Chris might be a World Rogaine Champion whose team won last year, Mrs Forne’s Boys are currently miles ahead.

Who will be 2017’s underdogs? Only time will tell, but in a race like GODZone, it could be anyone…

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